Review: Battle of Hearts
Battle of Hearts by Valentina Heart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Vampires and werewolves are immortal enemies and it doesn't look like they are going to become enemies to lovers anytime soon. It is said that one event can be a catalyst that sets a series of events into motion that cannot be easily stopped. In this world created by the talented Ms. Heart, it is very true. One mistake costing the lives of two young shifters leads to a war torn world 1,000 years later. With a blurb like this, how can I resist reading what happens?
Valerian is one of three alpha shifters in his shifter community. Valerian's specialty is systematic destruction of vampire vermin. He leads an elite group of shifters to hunt down vampire dens and kill every single vampire. This war between the races is to a point where there is no reason or logic. It is not even clear if there will ever be a peace treaty because the two races hate each other so much there isn't one bit of common ground. Not even the humans, pawns between the two races, can be a bridge between the two.
The characters in this book are designed sexy, dominating and kick ass. Valerian's strength requires him to produce as many children as possible. Unfortunately, Valerian is gay. In this world, there are no pregnant men. The way Valerian breeds more children is effective and rather callous. This all changes when a mission becomes a complete cluster fuck and he rescues a male feline shifter, Teddy. Teddy is Valerian's worse nightmare because Teddy is his mate. Valerian doesn't want a mate and firmly believes in the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality.
Teddy is an endearing character who doesn't want a mate either, yet he mans up and takes on the job. Teddy is the catalyst required to bring new and better ways to Valerian's shifter community. His compassion for children as well as his fighting ability meshes in ways that make the shifter community better. Ms. Heart does a great job in character development. I always fall for her characters. They are not perfect, but they are so good. They may be gruff on the outside but it is to hide a gentle interior.
As far as the world building goes, it would be nice to have more information. This story at times feels as if pieces to the picture are left out. The reader is left trying to figure out how the world works through context clues. The reveals are slow and at the end of the book, most of the pieces are revealed, yet leave additional questions unanswered. Hopefully, there will be a follow up book as well as a prequel to round out this world.
For example, it would be nice to learn more about how the three alphas run the group. Perhaps if the world is shown from a non-fighter perspective, the reader will gain more insight into shifter interactions. It would also been nice to see from a human's perspective as well as the vampires. There also seems to be some kind of conspiracy brewing yet this seems to have been stamped out before it was fully explained.
Still, this story is a fast read with smexy sex scenes, poignant losses, vulnerabilities exposed and love found. It's a very enjoyable read and recommended to m/m paranormal lovers.
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