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Lord of the Last Heartbeat (The Sacred Dark #1)
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Lord of the Last Heartbeat

(The Sacred Dark #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Stop me. Please.

Three words scrawled in bloodred wine. A note furtively passed into the hand of a handsome stranger. Only death can free Mio from his mother’s political schemes. He’s put his trust in the enigmatic Rhodry—an immortal moon soul with the power of the bear spirit—to put an end to it all.

But Rhodry cannot bring himself to kill Mio, whose spellbinding voice has
Published September 2nd 2019 by Carina Press
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  59 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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K.J. Charles
This is a stunning debut. Incredibly rich, textured writing dripping with sensation, and an equally rich and developed fantasy world with vast hinterland. There's real world politics and supernatural mystery and a vast mythos and just an incredible amount in here, which makes it an almost overwhelming reading experience. The core relationship, by contrast is...well, it's not simple because there is a vast power imbalance (handled with great sensitivity by the characters and author alike) but it ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, m-m, pnr, queer-romance, aar
I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars rounded up.

May Peterson’s début novel, Lord of the Last Heartbeat, is an intricately constructed gothic fantasy with an intriguing storyline, set in a world that reminded me somewhat of eighteenth century Italy where dark secrets lurk behind the scenes, political backstabbing is rife and influential families jostle for power.  Adding to that particular vibe is the fact that one of the main characters is an opera singer, and I loved the way his voc
Lisa The Novel Approach
One of the predominant markers of an author’s success in drawing me into the fantasy they set out to create is to build a lush and vibrant setting out of the whole cloth of their imagination, and then translate that through rich descriptions and the complex layering of both characters and storyline. Lord of the Last Heartbeat is not only May Peterson’s debut novel, but it is an impressive debut that showcases her talent for commingling romance with a variety of complex external forces which infl ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Title: Lord of the Last Heartbeat
Author: May Peterson
Rating: 2.5 stars
Rep: non-binary intersex MC (stated by the author) Mio goes by "he/him" pronouns throughout the book.
Trigger warnings: attempted sexual assault, gore, violence, gruesome deaths, murder, descriptions of the aftermath of war, suicidal thoughts, suicide, cheating, grief, PTSD, transphobia, mafia. 

"The Lord of the Last Heartbeat" has been on my radar for month
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lord of the Last Heartbeat is a detailed fantasy story focused around Mio, a sorcerer whose power lies in his voice. When pushed to his limits by his power hungry mother, Mio escapes to the first place they would look, but the one he would be safest – the house of Rhodry, a cursed Moon Soul.

Focusing on Mio and Rhodry the story follows of the pair as they fight their attraction to each other and the mysterious force at work within the house. Expect twists and turns as the intricately weaved love
Xan West
Content Warnings (view spoiler)
Annabelle Heath
I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, it was set in a richly imagined world of magic and intrigue, where a witch can possess you if she knows your darkest secret, and an opera singer can enchant such secrets out of you with the power of their voice.

On the other hand, you have Rohdry - a love interest who is both a Vampire and a Bear Shifter, in what must be the biggest case of supernatural overkill I've ever encountered. Until events later in the story, where it seems the other
Anna Chetwynd
OMG what beautiful, lyrical and sensuous writing. I've never been a huge fan of supernatural stories or plunging into world's created that are so far removed from our reality, but this book is in another league.

The story of Mio and Rhodry is set in a mythical world, part Florentine, part modern day Italian/Sicilian Mafia, part medieval Celtic, part 19th century, magical, supernatural and dark, is a mad mixture, but it works. It is a master class in world building. Sometimes I lost the thread a
Nicole Field
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, that was a ride and a half! What amazing worldbuilding! What amazing twists and turns! And all of this from a debut author.

I never know what to expect from debut authors, but generally it's really freaking good. I mean, there's a reason that their first book has been picked up out of the pile of manuscripts, isn't there?

This novel was no different, and I'm so glad that it's the first part of a series. This world definitely deserves more to be written in it.

In this novel, we are swiftly in
This came recommended by authors I love, whose reading tastes usually align with mine (and whose books I always love). It hit all my auto-buy buttons - paranormal fantasy, mages, shifter types, ghosts, etc. So why didn't I love it?

The writing was wonderful - especially for a first novel. May Peterson created an impressive world with beautiful descriptive prose. The characters were well-developed and interesting. The plot was unique and well written, and the twists were well done (I was congratul
FV Angela
Review originally posted at

Lord of the Last Heartbeat by May Peterson was the second debut book and author I had on my reading list this week. This one is set in a fantasy world full of magic and the supernatural, complicated politics and a mystery that I didn’t have a clue how was going to turn out until the big reveal.

Honestly, the writing here is gorgeous. Absolutely brilliant. And it definitely kept me reading through the rather confusing beginning w
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I grabbed this one totally because of the cover. I didnt know anything about this title other than I loved the cover and the title sounded right up my alley. Well what I found was an M/M Romance with Fantasy, and I fell in love with it. I have to say other than a few books having men being in love as side characters this is the first title I have read where this was the main characters. And I can tell you know it will not be the last. I have dived head first into the LGBT titles even though I am ...more
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
LORD OF THE LAST HEARTBEAT is the first book in the Sacred Dark series, and we focus on Mio and Rhodry. Both of these have secrets and 'powers' that have an effect on their lives. Mio no longer wants to 'help' his mother, but can't see a way out. Rhodry is intrigued by the younger man, but fears trying anything due to the curse he is living under.

What a fantastical world Ms Peterson has invented, with a hint of American Civil War era, coupled with the English Victorian period, this was a great c
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am perplexed by this book. I'm fully confident it was good but what I'm not sure about is whether I enjoyed it.

The world building is intriguing, some of the scenes were genuonely moving, the writing was lyrical. But the prose were so dense and so heavy in metaphor that I honestly spent a lot of the book just... not quite sure what was happening.

Very little of the lore gets explained, and show don't tell gets taken to such an extent that I was just left confused. Please do at least SOME telling
Robin Barletta
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
An inventive fantasy with intricate world building and a confident writing style. I liked getting to follow a nonbinary main character in a sweet romance that cuts through the really dark world they live in. I also really liked Mio's witch mother and protective brother. And I appreciated that the main characters have made bad choices and a lot of the book is them having to learn to live with the things they've done and find a way to change their lives. The magic system is really complicated thou ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot unexplained, but maybe that doesn't matter

There was a lot I didn't understand about the world and magic system of this book, but at the same time, I liked that it didn't stop for a long-winded explanation. I was a little disappointed to not see more of the world, which felt quite detailed, but I suppose that will happen more in later books. I enjoyed the characters and would probably pick up the sequel. 3.5 🌟
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a sweeping romantic fantasy novel that drew me in immediately. Like, page 1, I was already saying to myself “yep, good book”. The world and its magic immediately springs to life. Set in a fantasy-historical Europian locale, I was sucked in and almost late to work one day because I wouldn’t put the book down.

full review:
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good fantasy, engrossing and entertaining.
I appreciated the world building, the character development (I rooted for them) and the plot that kept me interested till the end.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Joscelyn Smith
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a haunting tale that combined gothic and fantasy themes bound together with a melody that has the power to reach inside and uncover hidden secrets. Although the cast of characters was small they were vividly written and very engaging. I was drawn in from the first page and I couldn't stop reading until the very end, I really enjoyed this very unique reaf.
Mel Tinsley
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Netgalley and the author for a chance to read and review!
This was such a wonderful change from the run of the mill fantasy thats all.over right now. The world is different, and well thought out and the romance isnt just predictable like you have read it 30 times before.
Very much enjoyed this book, and would very much love to read more by this author!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
This book kept me on my toes! Magic opera, icy ghosts, were-bear, you name it! It has really interesting portrayals of gender/sexuality that I don't feel like I've really read before. Overall, it's quite heavy on action, and I wanted more quiet moments because I loved those the most.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: will-not-read
DNF @51%. I just couldn't get into this book. Too many dramatic feelings, not enough story. The main characters were too one-dimensional, the world building mostly limited to one house - as was the story - and the whole power difference kind of icky.
Sep 03, 2019 marked it as dnf
Not for me - some of the tropes are not to my taste: instantaneous love and trust, and supplicant main character.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinary. Even though the majority of the story takes place in one estate, the world-building is rich and complete, but done with a very light touch. Wonderful characters and an intriguing plot.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Isabella ~Mikku-chan~
Wow what a strong debut with a great world building, multi layered characters and some very unexpected twists.

Full review closer to release date. 5 out of 5 stars
Review to follow when I've had time to think about it a bit.
Pam Faste aka Peejakers
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I'll try to get my head together to write a full review soon-ish, but this was awesome, what amazing debut!
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is everything the teaser on Twitter had me hoping for and more. I can't really articulate how it made me feel because the things that resonated, well... pretty personal. Recommend.
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May Peterson is rumored to be some kind of magical creature, but exactly which kind is still debated by scholars. While they sort that out, May busies herself as a romance and fantasy author and freelance editor. May has always had a deep fondness for books, animation, and comics. She’s drawn toward both writing and reading stories that are magical, hopeful, and distinctive, as well as those that ...more