Heartless Hunter is a Fantastical, Richly Imagined Romance with a Shocking Conclusion

Rune Winters pretends to be a dumb socialite but is probably the most dangerous girl in the New Republic, a place where magic and witches are now banned. But Rune is not just a girl—she is a secret witch who has also sworn to help other witches by being a masked vigilante, the Crimson Moth.

One night, one of her missions to save her grandmother’s dear friend goes very wrong, and Rune realizes she needs to cozy up to the very witch hunter who has her name at the top of his hit list: Gideon Sharpe. Gideon is the older brother of her best friend, Alex. While trying to ferret information out of Gideon, Rune starts to fall for the very boy who wants her dead.

Heartless Hunter by Kristen Ciccarelli is a fast-paced romance-filled teen novel, a game of cat and mouse between a secret witch and the best witch hunter. It takes place in a richly created world where witches are violently persecuted. There was a time when witches were revered and welcomed, but that time ended in blood and the New Republic. In the New Republic, witches are hunted, and their clothes torn off to look for blood scars. Blood is the source of their magic, and anyone found with scars is assumed to be a witch.

Rune hides herself in plain sight, immersing herself with socialites and witch hunters, using the knowledge she gleans to plan her nightly missions to save as many incarcerated witches as possible. But her identity as the Crimson Moth is becoming harder to conceal. The flirtation that she engages with Gideon is both steamy and deadly, revealing many hidden secrets, as Gideon gets closer and closer to guessing the girl he’s falling for is the girl he wants to kill.

Cicarelli writes characters that are fully fleshed out and three-dimensional. Rune’s proverbial mask becomes tighter and tighter around her face as the story progresses, as she struggles to know who she really is. Is she the vapid socialite who also loves pretty clothes and a good party? Or is she the cunning and skilled masked vigilante, who helps everyone else but herself?

Gideon, similarly, has more to him than the reader would assume. He did not become a witch hunter overnight, but in fact had an affair with one of the now-dead witch queens that were hunted when the old order fell. The witch queens were responsible for the ruin of his family, and all he has left is his younger brother Alex.

The world that Ciccarelli creates is richly imagined, heartbreaking, and fantastical. The epic story reaches a shocking conclusion that will take the reader’s breath away as Rune and Gideon engage in a final dance that reveals more secrets than they were ever looking for.

Ikhlas H.
Programmer & Library Assistant, Main Library

Ikhlas's favourite part of working in a library is having access to all the books her heart could desire. Her “TBR” (To Be Read) list grows every single day. Her favourite books include Harry Potter (always), Big Little Lies, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and anything by Elizabeth Lim, Mhairi McFarlane and Rebecca Ross. Ikhlas loves borrowing physical books and board games from the library, especially the latest romance titles and new games for her daughter. When she’s not working, she can be found spending time with her family, writing her own stories, reading (of course), baking and prowling Goodreads for her next great read.