You all know how much I love monsters and mayhem right?! Let me introduce you to Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf!
It was such a fun fantasy adventure (!!) and to add to the fantasticness, I have the author here for a super fun Q&A plus a giveaway at the end! I knooooow. We are lucky today.
It releases June 5th so mark your calendars!
Thanks to Entangled Teen for organising the opportunity for this amazing review and giveaway!
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.
Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as Lovely Vicious. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.
@SaraWolf: Thank you! This is a super good question, because on the one hand being a witch and flinging ass-kicking spells would be INCREDIBLE, on the other hand being a Heartless and totally immune to, you know, that pesky little thing called death would also be extremely neat. Witches and Heartless both struggle with their gifts in their own ways, though – for witches, the Old God who gives them their powers ‘speaks’ to them constantly, which is like a bunch of noise in your head all the time, and of course Heartless have to contend with the hunger that urges them to wreck everyone’s day. And their own day. So I’d have to go with witch on this one – at least I could try to make magic earplugs. 😛 And also at least someone wouldn’t have total control over my heart/freedom! THAT’S super important!
@SaraWolf: Basically all I knew is I wanted my main character to be a ‘monster’, in the traditional sense that scares most people – big teeth, intent to kill, unstoppable, etc. That sounds a lot like vampires, doesn’t it? I didn’t want them to be vampires! So I took steps to make them separate from vampires – eating organs instead of blood, their limbs turning unnaturally long and claws growing when the hunger takes over completely. If you’ve ever played the video game Bloodborne, or even just looked at screenshots of it, the monsters there are sometimes elongated in creepy ways, and I really liked that, so I implemented it into the Heartless. (Interestingly, the concept of ‘gods’ in the world of the Ruthless Song books is very much influenced by the ‘eldritch’ concept of gods you see in games like Bloodborne, and really any Lovecraft story.)
@PaperFury: Ohh I do like how you’ve taken this unique spin to vampires, and they were honestly fantastic monsters. (MY FAV.) How long did it take Bring Me Their Hearts to go from seed idea to published book? Can you tell us a little of the journey?
@SaraWolf: Sure! Entangled was asking about my next book, and I told them I wanted to write fantasy, because that’s my one true love. They asked to see a first few chapters, so I wrote about a girl pretending to be human, and it all sort of spiraled from there. I knew I wanted a ‘monster’ girl who’s maybe more human than the humans to be the main character! I’ve struggled with my own depression for many years, and so writing the hunger as a dark voice that tries to convince Zera she’s worthless was cathartic for me, and still is. I’m writing her journey to overcome it, while I’m on my own journey, too. Cool tidbit; I rewrote BMTH about four whole times! Each version was written from pretty much scratch, and each version was 100k+ words. It was a lot of writing to get it right!
@SaraWolf: Thank you! My go-to fantasy naming convention is a little boring; I think about modern names I like and try to put a spin on them, i.e. Sarah becomes Zera, Fiona becomes Fione. I’m not a huge fan of long, complicated, hard-to-pronounce names in fantasy books, so this is my method! Though, I’m particularly proud of Y’shennria’s name – the ‘y’ being pronounced like the ‘e’ in ‘squeak’. And of course, Malachite being named after a mineral, because he’s a Beneather and they live underground! There’s a Beneather word for Malachite, which is his true name. 😉
@PaperFury: Honestly I just cry and hope my tears form character names, so I admire your creativity here. Do you have a “author wish list” of things you’d love to write someday?! Can we beg a sneak peek?
@SaraWolf: DO I EVER! Number one has to be a ‘kids in giant robots saving the world ala Pacific Rim and Evangelion’. I’ve wanted to write that book forever, I’m just waiting for my scifi/fantasy skills to get better to do it! The second would have to be a ‘teen vampire hunter’ book, because as much as I love cool new monsters, vampires are just so classic and I’d love to write a girl/a group of friends who take names and kick vampire butt to hell and back.
@SaraWolf: Oh no, so you’re AWARE OF MY CRIMES! Yes, I admit it – I practically demolished a metric ton of chocolate snacks – pocky, scones, almonds, hot chocolate. Sugar is a writer’s strongest weapon – that and caffeine.
Bring Me Their Hearts was an absolute delightful bucket of sass, witches and stabbing. Plus a few bloody tears and fantastic dresses along the way. Honestly it’s just so much fun.
It’s part twisted fairy tale + part classic fantasy romp. You know how in all the old fairy tales the Evil Queen is like “BRING ME HER HEART” although 1/10 very unclear what she wants to do with it. Evil queens are so very extra. So this book reminded me of that — plus we have witches who make these monster-bodyguards called “Heartless”. Their hearts are cut out and put in jars and the Heartless are enchanted to do whatever their witches say. Also the Heartless only eat raw organs and have a super creepy voice of Hunger whispering darkly in their head.
The stand out for me was how HILARIOUS it is! I reeeally like to laugh and there were just so many good lines! Zera is so so sassy. It’s her coping mechanism, but she honestly just can’t help herself. If someone opens their mouth — SASS BUCKET. Plus Zero is downright refreshing. She hates being a controlled Heartless bodyguard and will do anything to get her freedom…even if that means stabbing the Prince. She’s witty and relatable and vulnerable under the (literally) pointy teeth.
- epic female friendships
- a sassy bodyguard who has no chill
- female-to-female mentor relationship that I absolutely adored
- Prince Lucien being a snob but with a secret heart of gold™
- how the main characters (Zera, Lucien, Fione, and Malachite) fell into an epic Squad™ by the end and GOT THINGS DONE
- fantastic world building and culture (!!) which I devoured with joy.
- there’s plenty of gorgeous dresses and girls with knives
- femininity is nOT SCORNED!!
- stabbing and backstabbing
- literally so many options for the stabbing
- also did you see that cover font; I am in love
Bring Me Their Hearts is witty and sharp, backed by an interesting world and a fun plot! It discusses what it is to be a monster and is full of powerful women, complicated relationship dynamics, and girls in ball gowns with knives. Absolutely what I needed in a deliciously bloody epic fantasy.
OPEN TO USA ONLY
1 x paperback of BRING ME THEIR HEARTS