This was a fun way to spend several hours, but I actually think I would have liked it better if I had never read Pride and Prejudice. If you’re not aware, Heartstone is debut author Elle Katharine White’s retelling of the Jane Austen classic (a top ten book for me), but with dragons (and such).
I want to be clear that I find nothing wrong with this book at all. It’s a cleverly told story that takes the frame of its source material and transforms it from a romantic comedy of errors with a satirical edge, to a straight fantasy novel with a hate to love romance in the middle. It’s also somewhat of an adventure novel. Some of the adaptations really impressed me, for example (slight spoilers for the beginning of the novel), in the original novel, Caroline Bingley is a reprehensive character who Austen very much meant to represent the shallow aristocracy, but here (since this novel isn’t at all a social commentary), her counterpart (whose name I have now forgotten) is still in love with the Darcy counterpart, but she’s also grieving for the loss of her wyvern, who was killed in battle. That, instead of her hatred of the Bennets (here, the Bentaines), is what drives her behavior.
But overall, it just didn’t have the spark for me. My emotions never really got engaged, and I found myself more and more not focusing on the book itself, but on what was different and missing from the source material. I missed Austen’s clever wit. I missed her way with human emotion. Maybe it was because the setting was so alike, and White kept so close to the plot of the original, but I found myself just wanting to read the original. Even with the dragons! Which: actually. Okay. Maybe I do have a complaint. In my opinion, there needed to be more dragon in this book.
Thanks to Bunnybean for giving this to me in the last CBR book exchange! I’m working hard on reading all my backlog of our exchange books by the end of the year.