Heartless Hunter by Kristen Ciccarelli

Published on April 15, 2024

blue green cover with a red moth and smoke

Reviewed by Samantha Calderone 

Rune's life changed forever the night witches fell from power, and a bloody revolutionary group took control of her home island. Witches went from powerful rulers to outcasts forced to hide or risk being killed for what they are. Spending her days hiding under the guise of being a self-absorbed socialite, Rune must hide what she is. However, at nights she works as the vigilante known only by her magic signature, a crimson moth. Rune works as the Moth to warn and rescue other witches from being purged. When a rescue mission goes awry and Rune becomes a suspect, she makes a desperate attempt to throw the witch hunters off her trail by courting Gideon Sharpe, the most notorious and ruthless of witch hunters. 

Gideon Sharpe faced horrible atrocities under the rule of witches and was one of the key revolutionaries who worked to take down those ruling. Now, he spends his days working as a Captain of the Blood Guard hunting witches. When Rune begins to show an interest in Gideon, and then he finds out her ships have been used to smuggle witches to freedom, Gideon decides to pretend to court her right back. However, the more time Gideon spends with Rune the more he uncovers about the supposed vapid socialite, and how she is much more than she seems. Except, Gideon cannot shake the feeling that she might be involved with the Crimson Moth, if she is not the vigilante herself.  

Heartless Hunter is a welcome addition to the romantantasy genre. Kristen Ciccarelli has not only created a character driven novel, but she has also managed to create a complex magic system that has checks and balances which may feel unfamiliar to the genre. In this novel, there are no instances where someone seems to have more power than others, in fact it is mentioned that witches who attempt to do major spells risk corrupting their souls.

Ciccarelli’s characters are as complex as her magic system, giving the novel a more realistic feel. While Ciccarelli uses familiar tropes of enemies to lovers, the motivations, and emotions each character faces throughout the novel are fully fleshed out. Her characters provide depth to the novel, and the dual point of view allows readers to understand each side of the story better. Not only are the main characters fully realized but Ciccarelli also provides the framework to bring her secondary characters to life as well.

Ciccarelli's novel is the perfect choice for fans of the Throne of Glass series and other books by Sarah J Maas. Heartless Hunter is the first book in the Crimson Moth duology, and readers will be eagerly awaiting the next installment. 



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