Heartless Hunter: The Crimson Moth #1 by Kristen Ciccarelli

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It was almost as if he were a weapon specifically designed to compromise her.

Goodreads / Storygraph

Summary from Goodreads

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?

Thoughts on the Plot 

Right off the bat, this book is very character driven with a few smaller plot lines running throughout. 

There is also a love triangle which I did like not. Partially because I do not like the love triangle trope, but also because I disliked how the author handled the ending of the live triangle.

Despite my dislike of the love triangle, the romance between our two love interests (Alex and Gideon) and our main character (Rune) had its fairly swoon worthy moments. 

I’m not sure if this truly fits into the “enemies to lovers” category, but rather one love interest in a more hunter/hunted dynamic with a dash of fake dating and the second being more “friends to lovers” trope. 

I enjoyed the world that this story is set in. The magic within a Bridgerton-esque social system was fascinating. 

I also like that magic came with a price in this book. The witches couldn’t just go around casting spells without it having a cost. 

The plot twists were a little obvious, but that’s because I was so into this book that I was paying attention to every little tiny detail. 

I still think about the ending of this book. The cliffhanger, the anger oozing off the page, the grief, the payback you know is coming down hard on Gideon in book 2. 

However, this book is truly about the characters. 

Thoughts on the Characters

Our main character Rune, is very fascinating. She is a pretty little socialite by day and the crimson moth by night. A witch vigilant set on getting justice for the wrongdoings against her fellow witches. 

Gideon and Alex make up the other two parts of the love triangle. 

Gideon hunts the crimson moth, while also fake dating Rune. Which is probably how Rune helped him discover who she was by night. 

Alex is Rune’s quiet protector, he is there for her and always has her back. 

Alex’s character deserved so much better, especially for his loyalty to Rune, when Gideon would have hurt Rune to further his own ends. 

Without spoiling anything, the dynamic in this love triangle was definitely one that was messy, complicated, and had its very genuine and swoon worthy moments. 

There is also an open door spicy scene, though not super explicit. Why this is marketed as YA, I am not sure. So please keep that in mind. 

But I was a little let down by Rune. Her character promises a lot more than it seemed the author could handle. And her motivations started to become super murky as the story went on. 

This also kinda goes for Alex and Gideon too. 

We do have some side characters but they really don’t matter. 

The storyline with our antagonist, Cressida, is quite sad. And also casts an ugly light on some of our other characters for their motivations in the past with Cressida. 

Overall Thoughts

The angst in this book had me in an absolute chokehold. The plot twists were a bit obvious and that’s saying something because I feel like I rarely figure out the plot twist before it happens. 

Despite my issues with the characters, I truly enjoyed the magic and atmospheric nature of this book. 

The ending tore me in half and only the second book will put me back together. 

All in all, Heartless Hunter gets 4 stars out of 5 stars

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