Review: Heartless Hunter by Kristen Ciccarelli





On the night Rune’s life changed forever, blood ran in the streets. Now, in the aftermath of a devastating revolution, witches have been diminished from powerful rulers to outcasts ruthlessly hunted due to their waning magic, and Rune must hide what she is.

Spending her days pretending to be nothing more than a vapid young socialite, Rune spends her nights as the Crimson Moth, a witch vigilante who rescues her kind from being purged. When a rescue goes wrong, she decides to throw the witch hunters off her scent and gain the intel she desperately needs by courting the handsome Gideon Sharpe – a notorious and unforgiving witch hunter loyal to the revolution – who she can’t help but find herself falling for.

Gideon loathes the decadence and superficiality Rune represents, but when he learns the Crimson Moth has been using Rune’s merchant ships to smuggle renegade witches out of the republic, he inserts himself into her social circles by pretending to court her right back. He soon realizes that beneath her beauty and shallow façade, is someone fiercely intelligent and tender who feels like his perfect match. Except, what if she’s the very villain he’s been hunting?


Undoubtedly, there is much to appreciate within the pages of Heartless Hunter. Ciccarelli demonstrates a knack for crafting a compelling narrative, drawing readers into a richly imagined realm teeming with magic and ancient rivalries. The story unfolds with a brisk pace, each chapter unveiling new layers of complexity and depth. However, despite the undeniable allure of the plot, I couldn’t shake a lingering sense of unfulfilled potential. Certain elements of the narrative felt underexplored, leaving me yearning for a deeper exploration of the world and its inhabitants. It’s as though Ciccarelli only scratched the surface of her creation, leaving tantalizing glimpses of what could have been.

Moreover, I couldn’t help but question the intended audience for this tale. While marketed as a young adult novel, I couldn’t shake the feeling that perhaps I, as a twenty five year old reader, was not the target demographic. There were moments where the narrative seemed tailored more towards a teenage audience, which left me feeling somewhat disconnected from the characters and their struggles.

The world building was top notch. The magic system, a cornerstone of the narrative, was both unique and intricately crafted, adding layers of complexity to the story. From the outset, suspense, intrigue, and romantic tension weaved seamlessly throughout the plot. One of the novel’s standout features was its vibrant cast of characters, each with a rich backstory that adds depth and dimension to the narrative. However, despite the meticulous attention to character development, there were certain aspects of the world that remain shrouded in mystery. While Ciccarelli offered glimpses into the capabilities of the Witch Queens, particularly the Cressida, there remained a lack of clarity regarding the extent of their malevolence and the witch community as a whole. Were all witches truly as bloodthirsty and dark as depicted as the Witch Queens under their regime? Similarly, while the revolution served as a pivotal backdrop to the story, its details are frustratingly scarce.

I felt like the second half of the book heavily focused on the unlikely romance between Rune and Gideon instead of the crusade against the witches because we saw nothing of Crimson Moth. A lot of plot twists were very obvious from the start so that was a major let down.

Rune started off strong. The author really sold me on this cunning, unwavering woman. She was a force to be reckoned with. But as the story unfolded, cracks started to show. Rune fumbled a lot more than I expected. Made some pretty rash choices, too. Honestly, for a young girl on her own, lost in a dangerous world, it made sense. But that initial impression of this ironclad woman? Kinda threw me. If the author had toned that down a bit, Rune could have been way more relatable, someone I could really root for. Once Gideon entered the picture, Rune’s whole Crimson Moth persona practically vanished. I was bummed! That was the Rune I wanted to see more of.

Gideon’s backstory was compelling – dark, heartbreaking, and ripe with potential. However, his rise to Commander of the New Republic’s Army felt unearned. Don’t get me wrong, the guy had gone through enough! But it felt as though his trauma was the only qualification for him to earn that title. We weren’t given enough details about the revolution or his specific contributions to understand his meteoric ascent. Also in the beginning he was dismissing Rune as a shallow socialite, but as the story progressed he began claiming his instant attraction to her ever since he was fifteen.

The chemistry between Rune and Gideon was undeniable, electric even. But let’s be honest, the odds were stacked against them. Rune, a witch, the vigilante Gideon had been hunting for over two years, and Gideon with his deep seated hatred for witches fueled by a traumatic past. It felt like a miracle waiting to happen if they were ever to find common ground, let alone love. This inherent conflict kept me reading on, and I’m beyond curious to see how the author navigates their complex relationship in the next installments.

Alex’s inclusion was a welcome addition. He brought some truly heart wrenching moments to the story. However, his actions, particularly towards Cressida, left me scratching my head.

Overall, Heartless Hunter is a good, entertaining book. It kept me engaged, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it could have been so much more. Here’s hoping the sequel delves deeper into this fascinating world and its characters.


Book Cover:

Latest Posts




Scroll to Top