Audiobook Review: The Heart Thief by S. Lee Benedict

TheHeartTHiefSource: Audiobook Blast – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Audible
Series: Rapp’s Barren Triptych #1
Narrator: R.C Quartermaine
Edition: Audiobook, 11 Hours and 18 Minutes
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Horror
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble *
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Ezra Keene is an artistic sixteen-year-old who wants nothing more than to settle in at his new school and put the tragedy of his brother’s death behind him. He awakens one night, reeling from a hazy dream, to find his fingers blackened with pencil lead and a new drawing in his sketchbook—a drawing that depicts the grisly murder of someone he knows. The next morning he is shocked to learn the picture has become a reality.

Ezra has reason to believe the father of a classmate, an eccentric German scientist, is somehow involved in the slaying, but he needs something tangible to bring to the police. He sets out to discover the truth, but what he finds instead is that something much more sinister than murder lies at the heart of this mystery. Monsters exist, magic is real, and sometimes there are worse things than death.

The Heart Thief is was certainly a surprising listen! Right from the opening chapter I was pulled in and there were so many twists and turns that I had a hard time putting it aside.

The Heart Thief follows Ezra Keene, and a few adults, as they slowly learn the truth of their sleepy town and what is behind a string of gruesome murders. I knew right away I’d either really enjoy this one or hate it entirely, but either way I knew I was in for a ride. Then book opens with a gripping chapter on the history of Rapp’s Barren, giving hints at what to expect in the modern day story. I loved all the nods and references to other sci-fi stories out there like Star Wars and H.P. Lovecraft. I also really liked that this wasn’t a straightforward paranormal mystery but had horror elements and plenty of build up/action to feast on. It’s definitely not lighter fare but I personally really loved the creepy atmosphere and characters, and the tension was perfect for the Halloween season. The writing ws also fantastic with it’s quick pacing and attention to detail.

Ezra is an easy character to like, he’s down to earth and has a bit of self inflicted sass that I find really endearing in characters. He’s brave but not a show off and capable of thinking before he speaks, which I’ll be honest and say is sort of a rarity in itself. I also really liked Wolfgang even though he’s really quiet, his backstory and reason for being reserved was somewhat heart wrenching and I found myself happy that he found an unlikely friend in Ezra. The villain in this is really messed up, and I mean that in a good way. I love a bad guy who likes to test the limits of what they can do, a comfortable villain is a lazy villain.

The narration is excellent, with plenty of different voices all with their own little flair. My favorite being Wolfgang and his family, and the villain himself who I thought had the right amount joyful hysteria to really make that character even creepier.

Overall I’m super happy that I decided to request this one, and I’m excited to see that it’s going to be a series as well. I had my initial reservations about it, but it turned into a fun listen that really made a slow day at work go by so much quicker.

4 stars

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