Author: Kiera Cass
“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.
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A Thousand Heartbeats is told from two POVs. Princess Annika lives in the kingdom of Kadier while Prince Lennox lives in the rival kingdom where he is the most feared Dahrainian soldier. Annika is the seemingly “fluffy” type of princess who has more going on than meets the eye while Lennox is the tough killer who has a hidden softer side. When Annika is on her engagement tour with her arranged fiancé, Nickolas, she is captured and held hostage. The group that captured Annika is led by Lennox and the two of them get to know each other and about the secrets of their kingdoms and how their histories intertwine.
As Annika wanted to marry for love but is forced into an arranged marriage for the sake of the kingdom, she has a lot to deal with internally with her feelings. On the other hand, Lennox has a complex family life where he has a moral greyness to him. He is colder based on this past, but he sometimes dreams of escaping it. While it was easier to see Annika’s true self early on, Lennox was a mystery as he was constantly a contradiction. Slowly his real personality came together for the reader, although I would have preferred a few more pieces sooner to better connect with his character.
The pacing of the story is slow at the start as the politics and characters are introduced. Once Lennox and Annika meet, the story does pick up, although it does build up a lot to an ending that seems too rushed. There are some elements described in tons of detail and others that seem glossed over, so I wish these elements were more balanced. Additionally, Annika and Lennox have different personalities yet there were times when their chapters read like the same person. Since I knew the dual POV pattern through context, I think a little more distinction would be nicer in the writing. This slight confusion happened with the ages of the characters, as I was not quite sure where to place them as sometimes they read older and sometimes they read a lot younger. For me, I would have preferred a little more clarity to make my reading experience a little more seamless.
As Kiera Cass’s Selection series (mainly the first three) is beloved by many fans, they hold out hope that her other writing will stack up, myself included. This is a very difficult task to accomplish for Cass as nothing, so far has quite gotten to the same level. While this one, unfortunately, did not match, it was still difficult to put down and was an enjoyable read. The ARC version has a space for a map, so I cannot wait to see what the final version looks like as I love maps in stories. This may be a very long story yet it does go by quickly. Overall, this was a sweet enemies to lovers story and I cannot wait to read more by Cass.
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperTeen, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**