A Thousand Heartbeats
Published November 29, 2022
About A Thousand Heartbeats
“Love has a sound. It sounds like a thousand heartbeats happening at the same time.”
Princess Annika has lived a life of comfort—but no amount of luxuries can change the fact that her life isn’t her own to control. The king, once her loving father, has gone cold, and Annika will soon be forced into a loveless marriage for political gain.
Miles away, small comforts are few and far between for Lennox. He has devoted his life to the Dahrainian army, hoping to one day help them reclaim the throne that was stolen from them. For Lennox, the idea of love is merely a distraction—nothing will stand in the way of fighting for his people.
But when love, against all odds, finds them both, they are bound by its call. They can’t possibly be together—but the irresistible thrum of a thousand heartbeats won’t let them stay apart.
Kiera Cass brings her signature sparkling romance to this beautiful story of star-crossed lovers and long-held secrets.
It took me by surprise when the publisher offered me a review copy of this book– I was pretty over the moon, honestly.
It’s been a while since I read anything by Kiera Cass, but I’ve recommended her books to some teen readers. I remember good things about The Selection series, though I’ve only read the first three books in the series.
This book struck me as kind of having America/Aspen vibes– it’s a completely different story, nothing like The Selection series, but I guess the princess and soldier romance maybe triggered that thought?
Anyway. This is a LONG book at a little over 550 pages, which I found really intimidating at first. I tend to avoid long books because I try to read so many titles. I probably still would have agreed to review it even if I’d known it was so long. It’s Kiera Cass, y’all. How can I say no?
Okay, so the book. I liked Annika and found some things about her character really compelling. She’s all about justice and fairness. But there’s definitely kind of a weird self-sacrificial thing about her that kind of… made me sad? I don’t know. Like, I feel like she tended to divide things into two possible outcomes: either she could be happy and everyone else miserable, or everyone else could be happy while she was miserable.
There were definitely some conflicts that split themselves that way where those were legit her only options. But it felt like she tended to view all conflicts that way.
Lennox… That guy took me on a journey. At certain moments, I did not think I could like him. He serves his leader as a kind of enforcer, doing the dirty tasks that no one else wants, but have been decreed to be done. It takes him a long time to realize his own worth and even longer to really decide what to do about it.
I will say that early in the story, we learn that Lennox has done something Annika finds unforgivable. (And I agreed with her.) I wasn’t sure how the story was going to lead us around that fact and build a believable romance. In my opinion, Kiera Cass did a pretty good job at that, though.
Romance aside, I did struggle with some of the other story elements. For example, at one point, a hurricane descends on two battling forces. It’s described as basically a wall of rain approaching with winds so strong they rip trees from the ground. I was like, okay, is this a hurricane or a tornado? Because the thing about a hurricane is that it’s approach weather-wise is more gradual. Winds picking up. Periodic raining. Gaps in between where things slow a little bit. Then, like birth labor, the gaps get shorter and the wind and rain get stronger until the storm reaches its maximum.
Anyway, that’s my experience from the hurricanes I’ve weathered as a native Floridian. So the abrupt arrival of the hurricane kind of took me out of the story a bit. There’s also an earthquake in the middle of the hurricane, which was odd? But okay. The bigger thing was that both armies had arrived at the battle site via ships, and it appeared that the ships were okay after the hurricane forces so strong that trees were ripped from the ground.
In the grand scheme of the plot, those were minor details. But there were things kind of like that at different points throughout the book. Just little things that didn’t make sense.
The romance is absolutely the selling point of the story, so I think readers who pick up this book for a sweet, star-crossed love story will get exactly what they came for. I think fans of Kiera Cass’s earlier novels will enjoy getting carried away in another princess romance.
Content warning for references to torture and physical/emotional abuse.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Major characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Kissing between boy and girl. A boy and girl spend the night together a couple of times. It’s hinted that they just sleep next to one another.
In one scene, a girl strips down to her underwear so she can escape from a prison cell.
Annika speaks to a portrait of her mother, keeping a connection to her mother who has been missing for years. Lennox speaks to someone in an unmarked grave.
Situations of peril. Battle scenes. References to torture. References to physical and emotional abuse.
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