Title:The Heartbeat Thief
Author: AJ Krafton
Publish Date: March 23, 2015
Type: New Adult/ Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 318 Book Rating: Mild
Avid Reader Time:2.44 hours
Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.
In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her.
But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.
So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…
When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.
It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…
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This an ‘arc” copy eBook supplied by Netgalley. I am not receiving any monetary benefit or any kickback for this review. I received this arc for an honest review. This review is cross-posted on Amazon, Goodreads and given directly to the publisher.
This book caused me to have a book hangover. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. The heartbeat thief just hooks you in and doesn’t let you go until the last sentence has been said. The theme is well expressed and constant throughout the book. The theme is about death, and how you cannot escape for you will always be his. You cannot run from him; and in the end he will welcome you in his embrace like an old friend. AJ Krafton writes very masterfully with her descriptions, sentences and plot structure. She also has a very poetic turn of phrase. She is new to the New Adult scene, but not around crafting a heart wrenching tale. The heartbeat thief has a gothic romance inspired premise with a deep soul touching lesson. But this tale is mostly exposition with little action. It follows the main character through strife and shows how she grows. I could not put this book down!
The Heartbeat Thief is told in first person focusing on the main character Senza Fyne. Senza is captivating, and charming young woman of wealth and privilege in the 1860’s. The only thing that Senza worries about and fears is death. She has witness many of her family and friends die. So Senza hopes to find a way to hide from death. She turns to a mysterious man named Mr. Knell who has evaded her and she says she loves. He picks at her defenses until she agrees to his plan. His plan that would keep her from ever dying. She would never die and her body would never change. The consequence would be that she would have to steal other’s people heartbeats to live for hers would stop beating. Which She can steal with just a touch. This book takes you on a journey with Senza as she learns from hard lessons and heartbreak. There is interesting history in each segment of the book. AJ Krafton touches on the Jack the Ripper, the changes in fashion styles and the wars. She even has the main character travel different countries. It adds a certain allure to the story. I love that character grows and evolve, even as she stays the same.
The twist at the end will shock you and satisfy you at the same time. I figured out who Mr. Knell was in about the middle of the story. He gave her plenty of clues, if Senza would have just put them to together. But the end is emotionally haunting. Krafton wraps it up neatly into a standalone. She does it with such flair that you can’t help, but love this book. It has mild violence and sex insinuated. So you can consider this a mild read. I give this debut New Adult 5 out of 5 stars.