Friday, July 28, 2017

ARC Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Title: The Hearts We Sold
Written by: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Published: August 8, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined. 

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This was a pretty good read. It pulled me in with the talk of selling your soul to a demon but it kept me reading with an action-packed plot and a complex and interesting world with a science fiction flare. But it wasn't perfect. I didn't love the characters.

I have to admit, I went into this book expecting it to be a dark fantasy type world. When I hear it's about selling your soul to a demon that's where my brain goes. But this pleasantly surprised me in that it was much more surprising and complex world. There is more to the demons than meets the eye and more to the reason why they are taking the hearts from people. I don't want to give too much away because that's part of the joy of reading this book, and any book, is finding out what is really going on. But just know that it has a subtle science fiction feel to it and I loved that. Plus, the author did a great job of showing you the world and letting it all come out as the book unfolded. But I did really enjoy the world of this book.

But this book also unfolded in other and interesting ways, especially when it came to the plot. This was a much more plot-driven read than I expected. It was a book with much more action and adventure that I thought. The plot wasn't particularly complex, in fact it was pretty basic when I think back on it. But it was still incredibly engaging and readable. I wasn't at all bored. There were tons of moments that had me on the edge of me seat wondering what was going to happen and nervous about how it would all develop. And it was paced really well. It all built to an exciting conclusion with an ending that I kind of saw coming but still enjoyed. Plus when I sat down to read this book I just flew through it. It was definitely an engrossing read.

The only thing I didn't love about this was the characters. Now don't get me wrong, they were fine characters. Dee was likeable enough. I appreciated her desire to make her own way and do anything to get what she wanted most, even selling her soul to a demon to get it. I respected her drive and intelligence for sure. But at the same time I felt like she was being needlessly reckless when it came to some of her actions and they never really had consequences. With sell your soul kind of narratives there is usually a coming of age element and there wasn't really here. And even though I liked the spin on the trope I would have liked if they had pulled some more of these traditional elements.

But I think my bigger concern with the characters was with the relationships. I just didn't feel like there was enough attention placed on developing these relationships, both friendships and romantic. The best example of this was Riley. There wasn't enough time for us to get to know her. She just felt shoehorned into the crew and became instant best friends with everyone and I just wasn't feeling that. But I also wasn't feeling the romance between Dee and James. I can understand that they might like one another but it went from her being not understanding or interested to them being in a relationship. My romancephobia just totally got fired up with that. I just wish there was more attention put on developing the relationships.

On the whole, The Hearts We Sold was an engaging and interesting story. It had an interesting and unique world and a plot full action and adventure that will keep you reading until the very end. This book was not at all what I was expecting but I'm okay with that.

I give The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I didn't love this book as much as I thought I would but I did enjoy it. I think readers who are fans of more plot-driven books will enjoy it, especially if you are looking for something a little different. But if you are looking for a dark fantasy wish fulfillment coming-of age story, look elsewhere.

Have you read The Hearts We Sold? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I've got this one on my Aug TBR! I look forward to the story. Thanks for the review Cassi! (Also, I think this might be a book in one of those book crates ;))

    1. You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it. I'm not sure if it's in one of the crates but I know the author is curating the box that The Novl is doing this month. But maybe another one too.

  2. Replies
    1. It was definitely interesting and unexpected in the best possible way. If you check it out, I hope you like it.

  3. Loved this review! I had the same concerns as you with the characters. I thought they were each individually developed really well with their own backstories and flaws but together, I just wanted more from each of their connections with each other. Besides all that I did love the plot and that ending omg it killed me. The story was so well flshed out with an entire backstory and it was just so amazing. This has definitely made one of my favorite books of this year.

    I'm so glad I finally encountered somebody else who has read this book!

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz