- N. N. Light
Heart’s Prey by @TichaB is a Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic Festival pick #dystopian #romance #bookish
Title: Heart’s Prey
Author: Natalina Reis
Genre: Dystopian Romance
The world Jia and Cees knew no longer exists. Amidst chaos and terror, they find each other and fall in love—a love that goes against all castes’s rules. As their civilization is ravaged by genetically-altered beasts, the caste system relied upon for ages crumbles. The privileged and wealthy are just as vulnerable to the onslaught as are the disadvantaged. Faced with impossible odds and unsettling secrets about their society, Jia and Cees must decide which part of their dying world to take with them and what they should leave behind. As they travel in search of a safe haven, they face unspeakable horrors, which shake deep-rooted beliefs and their old way of life. Will they look past prejudice and centuries-old traditions to join forces against annihilation? Or will they give in to society’s pressure and fight alone?
The acrid smell reached her nostrils and exploded in her brain, waking her up from her heavy sleep. Her head was laying on something that moved rhythmically underneath her. Her foggy brain transported her to her mother’s arms and the times she had comforted Jia as a child. Jia recalled her chest moving up and down as she hid her teary eyes within the folds of her mom’s blouse. Those days were long gone. She had lost her mother to the Big Freeze, almost five years ago. A small mercy perhaps. Anything was better than falling into the hands of the Predators.
Wait! Why was her head laying on a moving surface? Pouncing to her feet like a feral cat, Jia took two steps back and assumed a fighting stance. The young Zuiver didn’t seem too startled by the sudden movement. With his bright blue eyes trained on her, he stretched lazily, his mouth curving slightly at the corner.
“You got great reflexes, I’ll give you that,” he said, amusement in his voice. “But it’s only me, and I have no intention to attack you.”
Her shoulders relaxed visibly, but her eyes were still fixed on him, weary and alert. There was a strange ease to his posture considering their situation. “How can you just lay there as if you don’t have a care in the world?”
“Would it help anyone if I fidget a bit?” he asked, sitting up in a single, fluid move. “Or should I pace the floors? Maybe that will solve the world’s problems?”
Irritated with his sarcasm, Jia let a low growling sound escape her lips. “Funny,” she said. “It just seems strange that you lost everything and still find time and motivation to relax.”
A dark cloud blew over his deep-set eyes. “If I could bring them all back with a panic attack, I would be running around in circles screaming like a banshee.”
She bit her tongue, well aware of who them were; their families, their friends, their neighbors…the Powers-only knew  who was still alive and who—most likely—had perished in the hands of the monstrosities known as Predators.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, her shoulders slumped forward and her chin dropping an inch or two. “I know we all have lost loved ones. I shouldn’t have said that.”
Like a coiled spring, Cees jumped to his feet and took a step toward her. “It’s not easy,” he said, his hands reaching out for her shoulders. “But we must keep calm. Panic means certain death.”
Normally, she would brush his hands off her, but there was something about him; his touch was like a salve to an open wound. It had a calming and soothing effect. From the spot where his hand touched her, a wave of warmth radiated to the rest of her body, like the effects of a hot tea. Maybe the myths were right after all; maybe the Zuivers had special powers.
“I don’t like doing nothing,” she protested feebly.
“We hanker down for a few more days,” he said, dropping his arms and walking toward a crate behind them. “The Predators will only linger in the area until the food supply runs out.”
Jia shivered at his words. Her city was not large. With their voracious appetite, the Predators would soon move on to another location. Sun City on the coast, most likely. She wondered if they had any idea of what was coming their way. “We must warn them,” she yelled, urgency filling her with the bitter taste of fear again.
“Even if we could stay ahead of them, it’s a good two days walk for us,” Cees said as he searched through a variety of objects on the crate. “They will get there first.”
There was truth in his words. The creatures moved with the speed of motorized vehicles and the stealth of drones. The monsters could cover great distances in a fraction of the time it would take Cees and her.
“We’ll focus on heading the opposite way,” he said, holding a metal container in his hands. “If we can, we’ll radio the cities in their path to warn them.”
With her back to the wall, she slid all the way to the floor. “What’s the point?” she said. “We may as well kill each other and spare us from being torn to shreds by their jaws. There’s no way out.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
All buy links: https://books2read.com/hearts-prey/
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Although not based around the society we live in today this is completely relatable and even plausible. It is actually quite chilling how plausible it could be.
This touches on racism and classism and even has a bit of romance.
It was a read like any other I have read and refreshing from the typical dystopian reads. (Erin, Goodreads reviewer)
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 17 books featured in the Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Bookish Event:
Runs February 23 – March 2, 2021.
Winner will be drawn on March 3, 2021.
Natalina Reis is an international bestseller who wrote her first romance at the age of thirteen. Since then she has published fourteen romances that defy the boundaries of her genre. She enjoys writing all kinds of rebels and outcasts into her stories and she always roots for the underdog.
Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.
Social Media Links:
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/215263965917134/