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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Book Review: The Heartbeat Thief by AJ Krafton

The Heartbeat Thief
by AJ Krafton
Genre: New Adult Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Red Fist Fiction
June 2015
ISBN: 978-1508879152
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 85000
Cover Artist: Red Fist Fiction
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 Allan 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…

How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?

Heartbreakingly beautiful, A.J. Krafton’s The Heartbeat Thief is a fantastic tale with an historical sensibility. Senza Fyne, a most intelligent Victorian beauty, wants for nothing except eternal life. Preoccupied by death, Senza finds little joy in the path her parents have intended for her. When the mysteriously enchanting Mr. Knell offers Senza eternal life, she willingly turns over her mortal life force for the chance to live, and love, without fear. A newly turned “heartbeat thief,” Senza covertly steals heartbeats from the living to sustain Knell’s spell. Miss Fyne travels far and wide only to find that what she most ardently seeks remains frustratingly elusive. What unfolds is a tale of personal discovery and macabre romance.

The Heartbeat Thief is intelligently written and beautifully original. Despite Senza’s vanity and arrogance, Krafton writes a character who is likable and relatable. Who doesn’t long to be the most desirable person in the room? Knell is a menacing, attractive character who remains elusive throughout the book. Like Senza, the reader chases after Knell to uncover his ultimate motivation. Senza’s journey is a well-crafted quest across the ages. One such highlight is Senza’s stay in Whitechapel during the terrorizing rampage of Jack the Ripper. The cast of characters that cross Senza’s path throughout her life flesh out the story and create a rich history for Senza’s extended lifetime.

Occasionally I enjoy a more nuanced and delicate read. While some readers may struggle with its subtleties and reserved pacing, historical fiction enthusiasts will find The Heartbeat Thief has much to offer.

Five Sheep

Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
AJ (Ash) Krafton writes because if she doesn't, her kids will…and NOBODY wants that. A speculative fiction girl through and through, Ash writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels as well as poetry and short fiction. Her work has won a bunch of awards and was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. When she's not writing, she's practicing Tai Chi, listening to loud rock and metal, or crushing on supervillains.

Most recently, she's re-released her urban fantasy trilogy THE BOOKS OF THE DEMIMONDE because she never really left the world of Sophie and her Demivamps.


  1. I was surprised by this book .. I was captivated from the beginning

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