When I was approached to review The Heart of the Hydra by A. Mangina, this is how it was sold to me:
“I will come right out and say that a reader should be open-minded when reading this book. It is a blend of satire, romance, and comedy. There are elements of erotica in it, too. This is a romance novel unlike any I’ve read, which is why I simply had to publish it for the author.”
With my constant longing to try all things new, how could I refuse?
The Heart of the Hydra tells the story of the two main characters, Nick and Harper; their own personal issues, how they meet and how their relationship evolves. Nick is an introvert, an extremely good-looking one, who is unable to form relationships due to a terrible secret he keeps hidden. Harper is an overly sarcastic girl who covers everything with a joke. She has moved to South Harbor to get away from the tragic loss of her boyfriend.
Let me start with the writing style of the author. The book opens with a friendly tone and each chapter alternates between Harper and Nick. This friendly tone continues for the entire book and is infused with laid back language, blunt honesty and lots of comedic speech. This, for me, made anything that could be deemed as shocking in the book, well, less shocking. It felt like two friends telling me their story and like I would be like real-life friends, I was accepting of both Nick and Harper.
Both characters are relatable in some ways even if they aren’t your typical romance novel characters. All of us have hidden our true feelings with jokes and laughter at some point, we have felt the nerves at the beginning of a new relationship, and we certainly have had many insecurities. So, we feel for and we route for Nick and Harper and we eventually learn that The Heart of the Hydra is more about acceptance than it is about romance. And we learn this, feeling every emotion along the way, by reading the wonderfully descriptive language of the author.
One thing that I didn’t like so much about the book was that the ending was a bit obvious, but I don’t think it is the ending which is the most important piece of this story, it is the journey.
Overall, I would certainly recommend The Heart of the Hydra if you are looking for a romance story which is not your usual Nicholas Sparks kinda thing. This book didn’t shock me but I would repeat the advice I was given about going into it with an open mind. And if you don’t have an open mind but still decide to read, you will probably finish the last page of the book with one.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.