Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Under Appreciated Authors: Alyxandra Harvey

 There are a bunch of authors that I absolutely adore that most people don't really seem to know much about. So I thought I would take a couple of posts to share some of my favorites with you!

Two years ago NaomiRuth and I went to Polaris, a sci-fi/fantasy convention in Toronto, for the first time. One of the panels we attended was about what's next for YA and one of the panel members was Alyxandra Harvey. I enjoyed the panel and decided to check out her books. Harvey is a great writer and she keeps getting better with each book!

You can learn more about Alyxandra Harvey HERE and check out her book trailers on her site as well!

She is probably best known for her vampire series The Drake Chronicles. The tag line from her website is "Note to self: Killing vamps is infinitely easier than dating them." And if you think vampires are over and done, think again. It's not so much that Harvey puts a new spin on vampire lore (though she does that to some extent), it's the way she builds her characters.

If you've read my reviews on this blog, then you know that it almost always comes down to characters for me. If I like the characters I will put up with almost anything else in the book. Fortunately with Harvey I don't have to put up with anything. I get to enjoy it all!

I think Harvey's greatest strength is her ability to write believable, strong, unique female main characters. Every single one of her heroines is distinctly drawn. They have the best quirks and sometimes dangerous flaws. Their sense of humor is always very present and often sarcastic (my favorite!). And all of them are brave and forceful in their own ways while still being girls. A hard balance to find, but in my opinion she does it every time.

The Drake Chronicles follow a family of vampires. In this world the Drake family is one of the only vampire families to actually have children that are born and these children go through the transformation to vampire in their teen years. The first book,which is listed both as Hearts at Stake and My Love Lies Bleeding (I prefer the first!) alternates between the perspectives of Solange, the only girl in the Drake family, and Lucy her very human best friend. If it wasn't enough that Solange is about to become a bloodthirsty vampire, she also meets Kieran Black who just happens to be part of an anti-vampire league out for revenge against her family. Meanwhile Lucy finds herself drawn a little too much time around Solange's brother Nicholas. Because that's a good idea.

In the following books, Blood Feud and Bleeding Hearts, though we stay with the Drake family, we get to see the perspectives of other Drake brothers (all of whom are fantastically adorable in completely different ways) as well as the perspectives of other characters we meet along the way. The fourth book, Blood Moon (which I haven't had a chance to read yet) returns to Lucy, Solange, and Nicholas and I am super excited about that!

Harvey nails the alternating perspectives in the Drake Chronicles books and continues with that style in Stolen Away, which leaves vampires behind and delves into the world of the Fae. Though this story wasn't as compelling to me, I adored Eloise and Jo (Harvey also writes fantastic BFF relationships) and their journey is what kept me riveted to the pages.

But my favorite of her books thus far is definitely Haunting Violet. A paranormal period novel, Haunting Violet is about a teenage girl whose mother pretends to be a medium in 1872 London. Violet is fed up with her mother's charlatan act and the way she is roped into helping, but when she starts seeing ghosts herself it's more than a little unsettling. Part paranormal mystery, part coming of age, part boy-next-door love story Haunting Violet is a fabulous read.

Harvey also has a collection of poetry called Briar Rose and an upcoming book called Hex. Woot!

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