The Heartbeat Thief
Author: A. J. Krafton
Publication Date: June 12th, 2015
Summary from Goodreads: 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…
How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?
The idea behind this book is not only different, but interesting, too. We have our main character, Senza, who is eighteen, beautiful, and terrified of getting old, losing her beauty and eventually dying. So, she does what she can to stay alive and beautiful.
Since it’s the Victorian era (1860) in Surrey, most young women aren’t really expected to do much – except be beautiful and get married. So obviously when she meets the handsome Mr. Knell, who tells Senza that he knows how to avoid getting old and dying – and of course Senza is on board to do whatever she can to preserve her youth and beauty – including stealing other people’s heartbeats.
This book is emotional, compelling, and fun to read. It’s slightly dark, but when we’re discussing the topic of death, I can’t really imagine this book being written any other way. It had an amazing message (and while I’m usually not all that fond of up-front messages in my books, this time it was nice), making the reader sure to remember that life is important and special, and to enjoy the time you have, because it’s amazing.
The characters in this book are easy to connect to, especially Senza, because let’s face it – deep down, don’t we all share the same fear of death? All Senza is doing is trying to avoid her fears, even if it’s at a cost.
Although this isn’t really classified as a “young adult” novel (it’s actually considered a “new adult” novel), I feel the message in this book is important for every audience.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
AJ Krafton is the author of New Adult speculative fiction. Her debut The Heartbeat Thief is due out on Kindle in June 2015. Forthcoming titles include Taking’ It Back & Face of the Enemy. She’s a proud member of the Infinite Ink Authors. AJ also writes adult spec fic as Ash Krafton. Visit Ash at http://ashkrafton.com