Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 318 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: March 23, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com for review
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. I really really loved this book. I enjoyed the Victorian setting and the beautifully flawed characters, as well as the premise behind the story.
The story is set in Victorian times and is about an 18 year old girl named Sezna who has everything but is absolutely terrified of death and losing her beauty. Then a beautiful stranger strikes a deal with her…he will give her the ability to stay young and beautiful forever, the catch is that she must survive off of the heartbeats of those around her.
I came into this expecting a YA paranormal book, but ended up with a story that was so much more. The story takes place across many many years (we are talking over a century here). The premise makes Sezna sound shallow and selfish, but she doesn’t come off as that way in the story. Sezna has had a number of people close to her die and this had made her terrified of the idea of death. In addition to that her mother has drilled into her over and over again that Sezna’s only worth is in her beauty. Sezna is also smart and witty but she has been brought up to believe that those traits don’t have any value.
I absolutely loved the premise of someone living off of other people’s heartbeats. It is fairly vampiric but I love the subtlety and poeticness of it all. Just a gentle brush here or there is all it takes for Sezna to steal a heartbeat.
The story is beautifully written. I love how our heroine is flawed and makes mistakes only to change her situation and make new ones. She does learn, but she learns slowly and over many many decades. It is a bittersweet story with an amazingly hopeful ending and both gothic and romantic overtones to it.
I loved how the story spanned the ages and we constantly get to see Sezna living in new times with new people and still having similar problems. The big reveal of who the mysterious young gentleman was was incredibly predictable…but that didn’t make it any less sweet.
Technically this book is being marketed as New Adult, but I didn’t really read any parts in here that weren’t YA friendly. The heroine does “age” and get older in a maturity sense, but she remains forever locked at eighteen.
Overall I absolutely loved this book. I loved the premise and the main heroine and how the story spans a vast amount of time. The book is well written and engaging and the main character is captivating both in her vulnerability and her selfishness. I would definitely recommend to fans of Victorian or gothic YA literature with a bit of a paranormal twist to it.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge