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Heartless by

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Across the landscape of the battlefield, men stared sightlessly into the sky, their armour black with blood, their steaming intestines spread over the ground.
–Holly Black - Heartless - c.2012

Read free online at Lightspeed.

On a battlefield a young girl is scavenging among the bodies. She and the other camp women are looking for anything of value. Any soldiers still breathing will not be by the time they are through with them. Ada can remember a time when she didn’t live like this. When she wasn’t at the beck and call of any knight. When she had a mother. She used to be different. She used to fear and to want. Now she is numb. Her mother cut off her little finger and hid her heart there.

Holly Black

Holly Black

It’s funny, Holly Black is one of those authors that I always buy in at work, but I have never read anything by her until now. I’ll have to rectify that situation because if this story is anything to go by she writes extremely well. Black gets across a whole back story in a few words. Ada is a fully realised character, you get to feel like you know her within just a few short paragraphs.

I would have liked to learn more about the manes, but that is the problem with a good short story, it leaves you wanting more.

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