Tag Archives: hel-blar

Book Reviews
December 1, 2012 posted by Kiona

Alyxandra Harvey — Blood Prophecy (The Drake Chronicles #6)

In the thrilling conclusion of the Drake Chronicles, love and loyalties will be tested … and proven once and for all.

Can Solange find her way back home again? And can she do it in time to save everyone she loves from the vampire civil war, hunter attack, and each other?

Because not everyone can survive the prophecy… maybe not even her.

The Drakes (and Lucy, Kieran, Hunter, & Co.) are back in the final installment of The Drake Chronicles. Viola has now fully possessed Solange and is attempting reign as Queen, with Constantine by her side. The real Solange is trapped in Viola’s consciousness, unable to stop Viola from wreaking havoc and causing absolute destruction in the real world. Lucy appears to be the only person aware of Solange’s possession and is desperately trying to save her, while also dealing with a distant Nicholas, who hasn’t quite recovered from being tortured. Meanwhile, a completely separate threat is brewing, one that will pit everyone against each other: vampires, Helios-Ra, Huntsmen, the Hounds, Hel-Blar, and humans. In this explosive end to the series, no one is safe.

Blood Prophecy is long and, as such, it has a lot going on. I love the Drakes and Alyxandra Harvey, but Blood Prophecy is kind of a hot mess. But even so, it still manages to give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. This book focuses heavily on Solange and Lucy. We get a bit of Kieran, Nicholas, and Hunter, but nothing noteworthy, unfortunately. While I miss the guys, I guess I can’t really complain. Solange is smack-dab in the middle of everything, so we need her point of view, and Lucy is just kick-ass and, despite being human, probably the fiercest character in the entire series.

Blood Prophecy is much more plot-heavy than it’s predecessors. This makes sense, as we’ve already gotten to know all the characters, and the plots are original and engaging. Except, perhaps, the ending twist. It feel a little rushed and forced, and the story probably could have done without it, though then we’d left without the epic battle/blood-bath that I suspect Harvey’s been building up to for quite some time. I know I’ve been waiting for this battle since the very beginning; we finally get to see the Drakes’ medieval training put to use. And we get to see Lucy and the rest of the Helios-Ra gang kick some major ass, proving that humans are just as strong as vamps.

The final book in the Drake series has significantly less romance. Not that there isn’t any — there is — and not that I need a ton of romance in a book in order to be happy. I think the problem here is that romance plays such a big part in the first five books that I’ve come to expect it and now that there’s less of it…I’m left wanting. Especially when it comes to Hunter and Quinn. I’m really, really disappointed in how little we see of my favorite couple in Blood Prophecies, especially given that this is the conclusion. But I know this series revolves around Solange and Lucy, so I suppose I don’t really have a right to throw a hissy-fit.

The action in Blood Prophecies is completely nonstop. The chapters are a little too short and jump around a little too much for me this time around, which creates a somewhat jarring effect. But there’s certainly never a dull moment. Unfortunately, Blood Prophecies is probably my least favorite book in the series, if only because I miss getting to know new characters and watching an amazing relationship develop. It’s still a great ending, though, and the last chapter makes me want to hug the book to my chest and never let go. It’s just amazing and a perfect way to wrap things up. Plus, while I think this book focuses a lot less on character development, I’m happy to see that at least Solange significantly grows up and comes into her own. She’s no longer the meek, shy girl we were introduced to in Hearts at Stake. She’s finally the girl Lucy always warned us existed underneath Solange’s quiet exterior. And that’s the sort of growth in a main character that I, as a reader, live for. Also, this book has — hands down — the best cover art of the entire series. If you haven’t already picked up this series, you are wasting your life. This is the best, funniest, and most satisfying vampire series currently in YA.

Review of Out for Blood (Drake Chronicles #3)
Review of Bleeding Hearts (Drake Chronicles #4)
Review of Blood Moon (Drake Chronicles #5)

Pages: 496
Publication Date: January 2013
Publisher: Walker & Company
Source: Provided by Publisher
Rating : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote:
“We could blow up the car,” I suggested. Kieran didn’t even look surprised, though it was his car.

“What is it with you and blowing up shit?” Quinn asked as Magda leaped off the hood, stabbing down with two daggers and catching two Hel-Blar at the same time. She was like a feral cat in a rainstorm, all claws and teeth.

“Hey, I didn’t blow up that ghost town. That was all Hunter.”

Bleeding Hearts (Drake Chronicles #4) — Alyxandra Harvey
Book Reviews
December 10, 2011 posted by Kiona

Bleeding Hearts (Drake Chronicles #4) — Alyxandra Harvey

As vampires from all over the world descend on the Drake farm for the Blood Moon gathering, security is ramped up. Lucy has been temporarily banned, for her own safety—and to allow Solange some time to adjust to her new existence. But their enemies realize how much Lucy means to the family, and plan to abduct her to use her for leverage against the new royal family. Instead, Lucy’s cousin Christabel is kidnapped by mistake—and Connor Drake immediately heads off in pursuit, but isn’t in time to prevent Christabel’s infection by the Hel Blar. He can’t save her human life, but he can still try to save her new vampire life, and is willing to put his own life on the line for the girl he has grown to care so much about. Can he save Christabel, the Blood Moon, and his mother’s newly forged Vampire Alliance?

 

The Drakes are back in the fourth installment of Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake Chronicles and this newest addition to the series is just as amazing as its predecessors. The story is told from the alternating points of view of Lucy, Connor, and Lucy’s cousin, Christabel. Since Solange’s bloodchange, Lucy hasn’t seen much of her best friend. While she feels abandoned by Solange, Lucy manages to fill her time by training with Hunter at Helios-Ra, snuggling up to swoon-worthy boyfriend Nicholas Drake, and hanging out with Christa, who’s come to live with Lucy’s family for a year. Everyone’s telling Lucy that Solange just needs time, but it seems the more time and space Lucy gives her friend, the weirder Sol becomes. Something is definitely wrong with her, but no one knows what.

 

Meanwhile, Christabel is trying to come to grips with moving from the bustling New York City to the farmlands of Violet Hill. She’s suspicious of the curfew her aunt and uncle impose due to a rise in “gang activity.” But she has to admit, something seems off about Violet Hill and Lucy and the Drakes are definitely hiding something. Before she can figure out what’s going on, she’s mistakenly kidnapped by vampires that look and smell kind of like the Hel-Blar, but act kind of…normal. When everyone realizes Christa is missing, Connor Drake takes it upon himself to rescue Lucy’s poetry-reciting, book-loving, bad-ass cousin. But the rescue mission doesn’t go exactly as planned, as Christa’s captors have some surprising advantages, like an army of oddly obedient Hel-Blar at their disposal.

Yes, this book has a lot going on. And it’s wonderful. The main plot revolves around the Hel-Blar — who they’re suddenly afraid of and why certain blue-skinned vampires seem to have more control than others. The twists are surprising and completely unpredictable, which is impressive given that this is the fourth book in the series. Somehow, Harvey is able to pile on twist after innovative twist, ascertaining that Bleeding Hearts is just as fresh and exciting as the first three books in the series.

 

And while I LOVE the world Harvey’s created — Violet Hill, the Helios-Ra, the Hel-Blar — I love her character’s even more. There are so, so many characters, yet Harvey makes sure that each one has a distinctive voice and personality. The Drake brothers are as delicious as ever. Personally, my heart will always belong to Quinn (and Nicholas holds a close second-place), but Connor is absolutely adorable. I love that Christa’s afraid Connor isn’t enough of a bad boy for her and that Connor hates everyone’s preconceived expectations of him as a socially awkward computer/sci-fi nerd. Sure, he’s not as smooth as his twin, but neither is he shy or easily intimidated. Which is good for him, because Christabel can definitely be intimidating. She might come across as a quiet bookworm at first, but she’s certainly formidable when crossed. The way she quotes poetry throughout Bleeding Hearts is a heartwarming quirk that’ll having book-lovers instantly falling in love with her character and relating to her.

 

While Quinn might be my favorite Drake, Lucy is easily my favorite character of the entire series. Bleeding Hearts continues to prove that Lucy can take anything that’s thrown at her with a sarcastic comment and a swift punch to the nose. I give her major props for being able to confront her best friend about how un-best-friend-like she’s acting. Plus, she’s taking major steps to make sure she’s not just the defenseless little human hanging around with the vampires. Give this girl a crossbow and she’s all set. It’s impossible not to love her stubbornness, fierce determination and loyalty, and her wicked sense of humor. Harvey made an excellent decision in using Lucy as a constant to connect each book in the series. She’s likable, admirable, and when her vulnerable side comes out around Nicholas, my cheeks turn just as pink as Lucy’s. Lucy and Nicholas are seriously one of my favorite couples of all time.

 

My only problem is that I now have to wait another year for the fifth book in the series. And believe me, after reading the final page of Bleeding Hearts, the wait will be absolutely agonizing. But in the mean time, there’s always Out for Blood to reread (seriously, I can’t get enough of Quinn).

Pages: 289
Publication Date: December 2012 (US)
Publisher: Walker Books
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “Okay, yes, I have watched every episode of every Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate ever created, but I have never owned a Star Trek T-shirt. Just saying.

Book Reviews
December 27, 2010 posted by Kiona

Blog Tour: Out for Blood (The Drake Chronicles) – Alyxandra Harvey

Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, begins to see the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends – or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra…help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?

The third book in The Drake Chronicles finds us back in Violet Hill with a focus on a new relationship. Hunter Wild is seemingly perfect: smart, gorgeous, strong, and youngest in a long line of revered vampire hunters. She’s excited to begin her senior year at Helios-Ra as she finally gets to room with her best friend, Chloe, and even gets to witness a vampire coronation ceremony due to the fact that her oldest friend and brother-figure, Kieran, is dating a vampire.

But Hunter’s senior year isn’t as perfect as she’d been imagining. Chloe keeps having weird mood swings that threaten her friendship with Hunter. Hunter hears a rumor about mysterious pills that students are taking and believe these pills make explain Chloe’s weird behavior. In addition, a huge band of Hel-Blar threaten vampire hunters and vampires alike. The hunters have an alliance with certain vampire families, such as the Drakes, and so Hunter enlists the help of Quinn Drake in trying to solve all the mysteries facing Helios-Ra.

This book was so much fun to read that I didn’t want it to end. Hunter is an amazing protagonist. While she seems perfect, Chloe often complains, she is actually very real. She gets good grades because she studies and her grandfather raised her with a strong work ethic. She’s strong, but not invincible. Unlike other female heroines, she cannot take on a horde of blood-thirsty vampires by herself. She actually needs help. But that’s okay because she has a solid group of quirky, easy-to-love friends. And while Hunter may be good-looking, her flirting skills leave something to be desired.

The best thing about Out for Blood is the dialogue. It is witty and charming and so fast-paced that these characters jump out of the pages. Most notably, Quinn has the best quips and snarky, yet seductive lines. The great thing about Quinn is that his appeal doesn’t stem purely from good looks – though those certainly don’t hurt – but also from his charm and charisma. It’s easy to see why girls fall for him and also easy to understand why he falls for Hunter. Refreshingly, these two don’t fall in love. They certainly fall for each other, but love is never mentioned, nor the idea that they are soul mates and will be together forever. For once, they just plain like each other and develop a natural, believable relationship.

The other great thing about this book is that the romantic relationship is not the entire focus. The mystery of what the pills are and why students are falling ill is gripping and unpredictable. The ending really surprised me. Interwoven throughout the story are fast-paced, fun fight scenes that maintain a sense of action and solidify the world of Violet Hill. Quinn’s nickname for Hunter, “Buffy,” completely fits in this world. It also highlights the balance between the modern real-world and the paranormal aspects of the book. Alyxandra Harvey does an excellent job merging these two worlds, describing text messages alongside stakes. Out for Blood is a thrilling book, sure to satisfy followers of The Drake Chronicles itching for another glimpse into Violet Hill and the alluring Drake family.

Pages: 292
Publication Date: December 2010
Rating : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: All the Drake brothers were ridiculously gorgeous, but he had that smoldering charm down to an art. The kind you only read about in books. I’d always thought it would be annoying in real life. So not. Although the fact that he called me “Buffy” all night was less fun.


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Finally out this month is the much anticipated third installment in The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey, Out for Blood. Head on over to Facebook and become a fan of Alyxandra Harvey or the official Drake Chronicles page. You can also check out the author’s website, read her blog, or follow her on twitter. I know you’ll be dying to stay in the loop after reading Our for Blood!

Alyxandra is also set to debut a new novel, Haunting Violet, and is offering an exclusive sneak peak at the cover design and fifth chapter. Haunting Violet is a Victorian ghost story set in 1872 about a young girl named Violet Willoughby. Violet never believed in ghosts, but after being visited by the persistent ghost of a murder victim, Violet realizes she can’t keep ignoring her gift. While trying to communicate with the ghost and find its killer – someone still dangerous and on the loose – Violet struggles to keep her ability secret from her mother. The only person she can trust is her childhood friend, Colin. But Violet has grown to love Colin and accepting his help also risks their relationship.

To celebrate the release of Out for Blood, Bloomsbury Teens is offering a giveaway of one copy to a U.S. resident only. The book will come with a beautiful new bookmark and must be sent to a street address (no PO Boxes).

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Simply fill out the form below with your name, email, and mailing address. We randomly draw the winners using random.org.
  • Giveaway is open to US residents only.
  • Ends on January 03, 2011.