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Heart of the Impaler by Alexander Delacroix



Alexander Delacroix’s darkly romantic debut Heart of the Impaler is perfect for fans of Kiersten White’s And I Darken.

Vlad Dracula has long lived in the shadows cast by his bloodthirsty father, the voivode, and his older brother, Mircea. Despite their cruelty, Vlad has yearned to prove himself worthy of the throne his whole life. In the cold halls of the voivode’s palace, Vlad can only rely on his cousin and closest friend, Andrei Musat.

When Vlad and Andrei meet Ilona Csáki, the daughter of an influential boyar, they each find themselves inextricably drawn to her. But then Ilona is betrothed to Mircea as part of a political alliance, and Vlad’s resentfulness of his brother begins to seethe into something far darker.

Ilona has no desire to marry the voivode’s eldest son, but love and marriage are the least of her worries. The royal family’s enemies have already tried to put an arrow through her back—and if anyone discovers her blossoming feelings for Andrei and Vlad, she may just wish they’d succeeded.

Beneath the shadow of impending war, the only battle that will be deadlier than the one for Ilona’s life will be the one for her heart.

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Welcome to my blog stop for Alexander Delacroix’s debut dark romantic YA novel hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. First of all, what a gorgeous cover designed by Michelle Gengaro-Kokmen. Secondly, this is an interesting twist on Vlad the Impaler which I wasn’t expecting. It’s about a younger Vlad who falls in love with his brother’s betrothed and is also competing with Vlad’s best friend and cousin Andrei.

Ilona prefers the quiet life of studying birds and drawing them, but her father has other ideas. Mainly, to marry her off like a prized animal to Prince Mircea who is a self-absorbed bully who could care less. She has one year to become his bride, but not if Mircea’s younger brother, Vlad, has anything to do with it. Ilona has noticed Vlad with his good sense of humor and reckless disregard for safety as well as his companion, Andrei who is respectable and has a quieter nature. Vlad has declared himself Ilona’s protector and will stop at nothing to keep her safe from his enemies who are trying to harm her.

Vlad is unlikeable with his arrogance and hot temper. His rash decisions are dangerous considering he has dark murderous moments that are many times thwarted by Andrei’s level-headedness. Andrei is sweet, a good horseman, and he is basically Vlad’s only friend and lackey. Vlad’s indifference to how he treats Andrei is unwarranted and unkind. Ilona is a bit boring and not as strong as I would like her. However, she does show her bravery and kindness at the beginning when she is the only one to step up and help Andrei after the young men’s foolhardy swordplay. Overall, I didn’t feel invested in the characters and had a hard time staying engaged in the story.

The setting of Wallachia and Transylvania in the 1400s is a new experience for me as well as the political upheaval which took an unusual backseat to the love triangle between the teens. War is imminent in the region as well as between the characters and the book ended with a cliffhanger so I’m assuming there will be more to this story.

I believe this story is set in a time that has a lot of potential, but it moved slowly and I wanted more investment in the love story if that was what this book was going to be about. I don’t know how to describe it, but I felt I wasn’t really experiencing their connection. I wasn’t immersed in it. Many moments were glossed over.

I have to admit I struggled with this book and almost skipped to the end just to be done with it. There are mixed reviews on the book so I suggest you give it a read if you like a blend of history and fiction.

Thank you to Mr. Delacroix for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
  • Print copy of Heart of the Impaler

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Heart of the Impaler

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Alexander Delacroix earned Masters degrees from Brigham Young University and Western Governors University. As an undergraduate he majored in French, Russian, and German but ultimately became a Language Arts teacher. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing. Heart of the Impaler is his debut novel. 

Follow Alexander on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.


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