ARC Review: Heartless Hunter by Kristen Ciccarelli

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on January 22, 2024 | 0 Comments

ARC Review: Heartless Hunter by Kristen CiccarelliHeartless Hunter by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Crimson Moth #1
Published by Wednesday Books (2.20.2024)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 416 pages
Source: YALLfest

4.5 Stars

On the night Rune’s life changed forever, blood ran in the streets. Now, in the aftermath of a devastating revolution, witches have been diminished from powerful rulers to outcasts ruthlessly hunted due to their waning magic, and Rune must hide what she is.

Spending her days pretending to be nothing more than a vapid young socialite, Rune spends her nights as the Crimson Moth, a witch vigilante who rescues her kind from being purged. When a rescue goes wrong, she decides to throw the witch hunters off her scent and gain the intel she desperately needs by courting the handsome Gideon Sharpe - a notorious and unforgiving witch hunter loyal to the revolution - who she can't help but find herself falling for.

Gideon loathes the decadence and superficiality Rune represents, but when he learns the Crimson Moth has been using Rune’s merchant ships to smuggle renegade witches out of the republic, he inserts himself into her social circles by pretending to court her right back. He soon realizes that beneath her beauty and shallow façade, is someone fiercely intelligent and tender who feels like his perfect match. Except, what if she’s the very villain he’s been hunting?

Kristen Ciccarelli’s Heartless Hunter is the thrilling start to a romantic fantasy duology where the only thing more treacherous than being a falling in love.

My thoughts

This was one of my most anticipated 2023 releases, and it did NOT disappoint! I devoured this book within two days of starting it because I couldn’t put it down. “A steamy game of cat and mouse” indeed!

If you know anything about me, you know that enemies to lovers is my favorite trope. And this is one of the best ones I’ve read in a long time! There’s so many ‘enemies to lovers’ books where they’re barely enemies, and the enemy part ends way too soon. I am pleased to say, that does happen with this book! They are true enemies to the very end, and the romance has that glorious slow burn that I absolutely adore! I loved seeing them slowly fall for each other, against their will and against their better judgement. Even when they started to fall, they knew they were bad for each other, and still did things to betray one another. View Spoiler »

Rune and Gideon were both deceiving each other, and both suspected one another of deception. The whole time they were playing the game of cat and mouse, and it didn’t ever let up. You never knew which way it would go; because even though they clearly had feelings for one another, their ideals were resolute and completely opposite, so it was perfectly likely that either one of them could betray the other at any given time. It made for a very interesting, edge-of-your-seat read! I kept hoping they would choose each other, but their beliefs were deep rooted and unwavering. Which I actually appreciated! It made it more realistic that someone who feels so strongly about something would not be easily swayed.

It’s not very often that I enjoy books where the main plot point is romance, but this one did it for me! I’m not a huge romance fan, so it’s rare that a book that is mainly romance draws me in. Not to say that there isn’t anything else to this book – there is! I loved the world and the magic system, and thought it was cool that the witches used their blood to power their spells. That was how witches were identified: by their scars, because casting scars turned silver. I liked the concept that power comes with a price, because I can’t stand books where there is unchecked power with no cost.

I found the twists to be a little predictable, but I still enjoyed seeing how it all played out! View Spoiler »

This book has some pretty strong Serpent & Dove feels and I definitely think fans of that book will enjoy this one! It didn’t have the hilarious banter Lou and Reid had, but I didn’t enjoy it any less for the lack of it. I felt as if Rune and Gideon had fantastic chemistry even without the banter!

Also, THAT. ENDING. HOW DARE YOU, KRISTEN CICCARELLI. I need the next book asap!

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 4.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 5/5
Feels: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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