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Reviewed by J. C. Steel for Readers' Favorite
Heartless: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice provides a thrilling prequel to S.R. Karfelt’s Kahtar: Warrior of the Ages, introducing us to Carole Blank, an orphaned, violent misfit in the USA’s foster system. Carole’s earliest memories are of other people like her: people who can hear thoughts, people who can’t abide the chemical, processed materials and foods of the modern world. However, as those memories age, Carole begins to wonder if they weren’t merely hallucinations. Her unique fighting abilities get her into trouble right through school, and draw her into the US Marines as soon as she completes her education, where her gender and abilities lead her into unlisted service in a black ops team. Both her extraordinary skill set and her mentality make the job a perfect fit ... until the unexpected happens and Carole has to make some hard choices.
This is a stunning prequel novel in the Covenant Keeper series, filling in much of the series’ back story and bringing depth and color to the story of a unique lead character. Heartless: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice is a great read as a stand-alone book or as a part of the Covenant Keepers series. The story is decorated with scenes from all over the world and punctuated with vivid secondary characters who add their own insights into the plot. S.R. Karfelt uses Carole’s adventures to highlight a central issue in today’s society, where a female, no matter how talented or successful, is expected to sacrifice ambition and career for family. Carole’s struggles with this expectation, even more than her struggles with her alienation from society, make this a compelling, thought-provoking read.