Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.
Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.
Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.
So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.
Winner takes the loser’s heart.
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This book took me forever to read, but I enjoyed it all the way through. I like to think that I truly savored it.
When I started the novel, I thought that I knew what the story was going to be. Monster girl goes to complete her mission and ends up getting healed in some magical way, ends up with a boy, the end. But this isn’t how it went, and boy was I happy about it!
Zera has been a Heartless for several years, even though she doesn’t want to be. Heartless don’t age, and she is starting to lose more and more of the already faint memories of her life before turning. She can’t even go outside of the forest boundaries before getting hurt because of her connection to the witch who has her heart. The witches need the Heartless, and the Heartless cannot live without their hearts from the witches. Therefore, when the witches are in danger, only a Heartless can kill the one person putting them in danger: Prince Lucien.
Zera is one of the best and most trustworthy Heartless fighters, so she is sent to kill Prince Lucien. She gets to see outside the forest for the first time in years, but she has to manage to blend in with other humans. The most interesting part of the story was learning about the character of Prince Lucien. At first, Zera doesn’t even hesitate to think about killing him. Then, the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes that there is more to the story than what is being told to her by the people who sent her. She makes a very interesting character as she sneaks around to figure out the secrets of the kingdom and then reports back to the people who sent her to plot his murder.
Then, there are the other characters. I won’t reveal too much as they are related to major spoilers, but they make the story so much better. I wanted an entire story just about the woman who brought Zera to the capital, and about Fiona. Fiona might have been my favorite character, even though her story has only been half completed as of this novel. I hope that her story is finished in the next book!
The only part of the book that I found confusing was around the middle. By this point, many new characters had been introduced, and still more were showing up every chapter. It got to be very difficult trying to keep up with every single character, and even at the end of the book I was still figuring things out. I feel that if there had been at least one or two more scenes with Zera interacting with the new characters separately or in small groups, I would have definitely been able to have an easier time telling them apart.
Overall, this was a great fantasy read that focused on both a bit of romance and a very intense storyline. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a new NA/YA fantasy book with great worldbuilding and a unique main character.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books