Reviewed for Reader’s Favourite
Krafton’s The Heartbeat Thief was not at all the book I expected. Now, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. In this case, it was a very good thing. It is a story of the greatest of loves, of sacrifice, and of lessons harshly learned. It is a story of the dangers of letting one’s fears guide one’s choices, and of learning to face those fears.
Senza Fyne is a young lady of Victorian society who suffers two devastating losses shortly after making her debut into society. The losses are a terrifying brush with death that mar her transition from child to adult, and spark a phobia that ends with Senza making a deal to have her life essence taken. This freezes her body at the age of eighteen, ensuring that she will not die. There’s a catch though. She must steal heartbeats from others in order to survive. Little snatches of life essence that others won’t miss.
Though Senza gains a freedom from the thing she fears most, she enters a lonely existence where she must remain aloof from others. She really must adopt Mycroft’s dubious advice to his younger brother in the BBC’s modernised Sherlock– ‘All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.’ Senza endures, but must watch family, friends, and even ways of life fall to the inevitable eddies and currents of time. Senza, whose birth name is Constance, becomes just that. A constant point fixed beyond time.
Senza spends lifetimes, wandering from place, to place, provided for by Knell, the granter of her Unlife. Knell, her ‘dark seducer’, who granted her desire, and in doing so, had to remain forever just beyond her reach. Knell allows Senza time to realise that the thing she feared the most need not be feared at all. She learned the truth of my favourite quote, from the song Key to Twilight- ‘Auguries of destruction be a lullaby for rebirth.’
I loved the cover. It was one of the major attractions for me. I also enjoy stories set in the Victorian era, no matter the genre. In Senza, Krafton gives a nice twist to the tired old trope of the vampire. Though never once called such, Senza is a psychic vampire, drawing as she does the life-force of others to sustain her own existence.
If you are looking for a captivating read that will draw you in and leave you breathless, look no further than The Heartbeat Thief. I devoured this book in a single day. I couldn’t go to bed but that I had finished it.