Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.
Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.
Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.
So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.
Winner takes the loser’s heart.
I’m so late reading this arc, but when I heard book one had a huge cliffhanger, I decided to wait so I can go right into the second book. I have an arc of that one, too. But after getting halfway through Bring Me Their Hearts, I quickly ordered hardcover copies for each one.
I have to share the first lines because they definitely grab you.
King Sref of Cavanos watches me with the deadened eyes of a raven circling a corpse-patient, waiting to devour me the second I let my guard down. I briefly debate telling him humans don’t taste all that good, until I remember normal girls don’t eat people. Or fake their way into royal courts.
One of the things that stands out to me in this book is the mixture of how dark it is, but then there are quite a few characters that are really funny. It broke up some of the tension and I always love funny, snarky characters. Zera is definitely one of those.
Zera was 16 when she basically died. Her parents were killed, but a witch turned Zera into a Heartless. This makes her immortal, but it comes at a big cost. Pretty much her humanity. Zera remembers the attack, but she’s lost most of her memories as a human. When her heart was removed and jarred, she was almost feral. She took revenge on the men that attacked them. Heartless have this “monster” inside them that is always hungry. They can only eat raw meat. Eating human food makes them violently ill and they cry blood tears. Zera has mostly learned to keep the monster at bay. All she wants is to get her heart back and become human again. She’s been a Heartless for three years.
There is talk of another war coming. The humans vs the witches/Heartless that happened awhile ago. It was a lot of death for everyone. The witches are trying to avoid it at all costs. Zera is promised her heart back, along with the hearts of two of her witch’s other Heartless, if she pretends to be a human and get close to the prince during the search for a bride. Her witch has a contact that will help. Lady Y’shennria’s family worshiped the old God. While she was a high class family, she was somewhat shunned because of it. Her family was killed and it’s just her. She takes Zera in and says she’s her bastard niece she didn’t know she had. And she lived on a farm. Y’shennria has to turn Zera into a formal lady in weeks and make sure that she can attract the prince. Once she has a chance alone with him, Zera is to take her heart. Y’shennria and the witches have plans to help after that.
The Crown Prince Lucien isn’t what Zera expected. He hates the courts and wants to change things. Zera finds out that he helps all the poor people around town. Zera does catch his attention because of her mouth. She isn’t afraid to say things or call him out, even though it’s not appropriate. While spending time with him, and his body guard Malachite, start to grow on her. That makes no sense to Zera. She’s a monster who can’t have feelings. She has no heart. She wants to take Lucien’s heart. Her monster is always telling her to attack and eat people. There is such an inner battle with Zera fighting for her humanity and the monster growing stronger.
Without getting into too many details, I have to say that the characters and relationships really stand out along with the plot. Zera is funny and quick. Lucien is kind, but hides it. We find out early on that his sister died and he hasn’t been the same since. Lady Y’shennria is tough and afraid of Zera. But we start to see something growing between them. Maybe not love, but it felt almost motherly at times. I liked her strength and rebellious personality. Malachite was a favorite. He’s so funny and loyal. We meet Fione later on and I ended up liking her. She’s very smart and determined. The one real horrible character is the Archduke. He spreads lies and fear in order to control the people. He makes them think witches are planning to start a war and they must all die.
There was definitely a lot that happened right at the end of the book. And yes, cliffhanger. I’m glad I held off and I’m going right into Find Me Their Bones.
I gave this book 5 stars. Thank you to Entangled Teen for sending me a copy for review.
Have you read Bring Me Their Hearts? Did you think it had a unique concept? Did you connect to any of the characters? Without spoilers, what was your favorite part of the book?