by Elle Katharine White
*Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. If you purchase anything through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts and opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.
- Heartstone (Review | Amazon | Goodreads)
- Dragonshadow (Review | Amazon | Goodreads)
- Flamebringer (Goodreads)
Even though I had already read Heartstone, when Dragonshadow was released Phil and I decided to do a buddy read of both Heartstone and Dragonshadow. Phil doesn’t have his own blog so I made him write a review so I could post it here!! If you want to see my review you can find the link above!
Now, without further ado; here is Phil’s review:
The Heartstone series is the first series I picked up after being completely disappointed with the Summoner trilogy. I was weary of getting invested in another fantasy world but luckily the Heartstone series did not disappoint!
While I did like Heartstone, I am not a huge fan of retellings. I am the kind of person who can’t watch the same movie twice no matter how much I love it. I need suspense. Knowing the biggest twists dampen my enjoyment quite a bit. But when I found out the Dragonshadow was an original story I got excited.
Dragonshadow took everything I enjoyed about Heartstone and amplified it. The fantasy world-building really comes to life. The romance that was pivotal to the first book never outstays its welcome. The fights between Aliza and Daired felt natural and purposeful. I was also surprised how the author didn’t shy away from some pretty heavy topics which left me emotional at times.
Similar to Brittany, my biggest complaint is how poorly some of the deep dive mythical creatures are introduced. Sure, there are more well known creatures such as gryphons and centaurs, but some of the lesser known mythical creatures play a pivotal role in the story. Not knowing what these creatures were took the bite out of the end reveal. I would prefer at least an index at the back of the book with descriptions of all the mythical creatures.
There was a large tone shift between Heartstone and Dragonshadow that it felt like this was not originally meant to be a series. The first book was heavily based in romance with a sprinkle of fantasy where as in Dragonshadow it was reversed. It’s a bit of a shame because I could see how a totally different audience would really love the second book, but they may not sit through all the romance of Heartstone. I decided to do some digging and it turned out I was right! In a reddit AMA, author Elle Katherine White stated “Heartstone was originally a standalone, but soon after finishing it I realized Aliza and Alastair’s adventures were far from over. I wanted to explore what happened after “happily ever after.””
Overall Dragon shadow is a really solid story and it has laid an exciting path for the next book. Elle Katherine White was somehow able to create something original even though it started as a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I only hope the author takes the time to really familiarize the reader with the sprawling fantasy world she is trying to create next time around. For me this was definitely a 5 out 5.
I’m so glad Phil liked this book too! Though I didn’t realize he doesn’t like retellings. I am surprised he wanted to buddy read Heartstone with me, but I am so glad he did! Especially because, like he said, Dragonshadow might appeal to a slightly different audience than Heartstone. He is proof of that!