The front cover was what caught my interest, not the summary. When I got to read it, I was afraid it would be a mushy love story playing up on temporary passion.
Not at all.
It is this fake idea of "love" that Una has at first, and as the story progresses and her heart is broken, she learns how shallow crush-like love is. Now she's given up on any kind of love, and it is the sacrificial love of the Prince that finally redeems her.
Most people, rather they know it or not, have a lot in common with Una. She's a young girl with big dreams, she's self-absorbed, and she wants to do things by her own power.
The first half of the book is merely a fairytale about a princess who longs to be the bride of a dashing prince. Enter the Dragon: story totally changes. We go from a bright, happy, little story, to a gripping tale of the destructive power of the devil (the Dragon), and then ultimately to the restoring love of Christ, (aka. the Prince) who never gives up on Una (us). And for any worries, the Dragon wants to make Una his child, not his wife, as the summary suggests. While Una is the obvious representation of mankind, or moreover, the church, there are several other characters who need the redemption of the Prince from Farthestshore.
Most likely, young men will not be interested in reading this book, as it was obviously marketed to females. However, another main character is Una's wanna-be-awesome, but hopelessly mischievous, brother Felix. There is also some rousing action, and a harrowing outlook on dragons. (Fact: There's more then one dragon in this story.) The writing is clever and funny. Oh, and keep an eye on that blind cat, Monster...he might have a few surprises up his paws.
This soul-searching story was beautifully done, and I have no doubt that it is building up treasure in heaven for the author.
If you like this book, do not even hesitate to buy the next two. And the one coming out in October, if you have any interest in that fluffy cat, at all ;)
When I was given the opportunity to read Heartless, I cringed at the thought that this book would be seen as an example of Christian Fiction. For a Fairytale genre, it just doesn't compare at all to the modern fairytales I loved when I was younger. Even now, I can enjoy Gail Carson Levine's stories even if the writing is now geared for a much younger audience. I think the problem here is that "Heartless" isn't based on an existing fairytale and, despite what the publisher would have you think, rarely has any elements in common with fairytales at all.
As an allegory, this novel also fails. While, at the end, you can fully understand the parallels Anne is trying to draw, it is ultimately done clumsily. I cannot picture Christ as a lovesick puppy dog who only seems to care about one girl. The entire novel, I found myself having to ask, "Why Una? Why not any others?" I found myself cringing at Aethelbald's obsession with saving Una while he did not share that same obsession with any others.
The middle of the books is beyond long, it is so boring that I was tempted to toss the book in the trash without finishing it. Anne did a good job building up tension for the climax, but the climax itself only took two paragraphs. I was left feeling disgusted at just how anti-climatic it felt.
This was a great book and I'm not usually drawn to Fantasy novels. The story was engaging and I had a hard time putting the book down and doing something else without wondering what happens next. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
I love this book! And the sequels make it even better. These are original fairytales that get better with every reading--each one reveals details about the other books in fascinating ways. The world is richly imagined, the characters are AMAZING, the writing is laced with sly humor, and the spiritual message is deeply engrained in the story--not preachy, not muddled, but there to find with just a little thought and focus from the reader.
Although these books are for an older audience than the Narnia Chronicles, I would say they compare most closely to C.S. Lewis's classics in quality of allegory and writing. They are intense; they are laugh-out-loud funny; they are beautiful.
As home school mom of a high school boy, I highly recommend this series to parents of teens who enjoy fantasy. Oh, and they're not just for girls, despite the pretty covers. I really hope word of this amazing fantasy series spreads quickly!
Wow, I loved this book. I just couldn't put it down. The characters were absolutely incredible. Una might have seemed a little whiny, but she was a very strong character. The only character I didn't like was the duke. He was ok at first, but as the book continued he got pretty annoying. The writing is fantastic, because it always keeps you guessing what happens next and has you on the edge of your seat. I like the way the human to dragon change was explained and so easy to follow. The only thing I wish would have been explained in more detail is about how they can't cross the bridge, which might be described more in book two. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of fantasy.