The Armadillo with No Heart is a fantasy novel written by troper Bluethorn under the pen name Felix Williams and published in 2017. Set in a World of Funny Animals, the novel tells the story of a young anthropomorphic armadillo named Kuro (the titular "Armadillo with No Heart"), residing in the peaceful seaside village of Greentown, which is populated entirely by his race, the Dillos.
Unfortunately for Kuro, he is not like other Dillos. He was born with an unusual cross-shaped birthmark on his chest, and because of the mark, he has grown up with the burden of being destined for sacrifice on his sixteenth birthday, as his fellow armadillos believe him to be tied to an old prophecy foretelling the birth of an armadillo with a cross-shaped mark and the downfall of their race if he is left alive.
Shortly before the date arrives, however, Kuro decides to run away. From there on, the story focuses on both the dangers he faces as he comes into contact with the outside world for the first time and his emotional struggles caused by the rejection he has faced over the years, as well as his need for acceptance. Along the way, he makes some unusual friends and learns that the world is much larger than the town he has known all his life.
The story can be found on Wattpad here.
The Armadillo with No Heart contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Gus' father threw him from a second-floor window when he was a baby, knocked out half of his teeth by banging his head on a table when he was four, and eventually tried to kill him by smashing his head with a cane.
- A Sinister Clue: Played with. The left-handed Kuro is hated by most of his fellow Dillos because of the stigma of being born with the mark, but he isn't actually bad or evil.
- Ax-Crazy: Gus, though it's not obvious at first, as he hides it behind a laid-back and childlike demeanor.
- Big Bad: Lord Shiro's efforts to bring Kuro back home to be sacrificed are the source of most of the conflict in the story.
- Big Damn Heroes: Lily arrives at the square just in time to stop her father from killing Kuro.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The anthropomorphic armadillos are Dillos, and the hedgehogs are Spinehogs.
- Classical Antihero: Kuro lacks the traditional attributes of a hero, being timid and cowardly.
- Colourful Theme Naming: Kuro and Lord Shiro are named after the Japanese words for the colors black and white, respectively.
- Comically Cross-Eyed: Gus is a quirky character whose eyes are mentioned to usually be looking in different directions.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Kuro's parents both passed away some time before the events of the story.
- Covered in Scars: Gus has bite scars on his arms and scratch marks all over his chest and stomach. He eventually reveals that he inflicted the injuries on himself as a means to release his latent anger.
- Dangerous 16th Birthday: Since his birth, Kuro has been destined to be sacrificed on his sixteenth birthday because of the mark on his chest.
- Distinguishing Mark: The cross-shaped mark on Kuro's chest identifies him as the Dillo with No Heart and the subject of the prophecy.
- Don't Go in the Woods: Dillos are strongly discouraged—or, in the case of children, expressly forbidden—from going into the Nymphwoods.
- Eyes Always Averted: At one point, Clyde remarks in his inner monologue that Kuro has a hard time looking others in the eye due to his shyness.
- Eye Scream: Subverted. Lord Shiro tells Cyrus to rip out Kuro's eyes prior to the latter's execution, but Cyrus refuses.
- Fictional Currency: The Dillo currency, named the cruphorn, is mentioned once in the ransom note that Bertrand receives from Clyde.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Spinehog group becomes one of these once Kuro joins them. Shy, introverted and insecure Kuro is melancholic; kindhearted big-brother figure Morty is phlegmatic; cheerful and quirky Gus is sanguine; abrasive and aloof Clyde is choleric.
- Furry Reminder: While the characters are indistinguishable from humans in most scenes, Kuro curls into a ball at two points in the story, and Gus is once seen sharpening his claws with a rock. In another scene, Morty picks his teeth with one of his own spines.
- Gentle Giant: Morty is a seven-foot-tall, brutish-looking Spinehog, but he is never seen angry, becomes close friends with Kuro shortly after their first meeting, and ends up being the first person to whom the armadillo can truly open up about his feelings. His gentle personality is also justified in-universe, in that he can afford to be kind because no one would be stupid enough to pick a fight with a Spinehog his size.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: When Kuro is told his sacrifice won't be carried out, he is so confused he begins to question the decision, and Cecilia slaps him in the face to make him come to his senses.
- Happily Married: Although we don't see much of Henry and Cecilia, it's clear that they are this.
- Hero Antagonist: Cyrus. He's trying to catch Kuro so the latter can be brought home to be sacrificed, and is thus essentially an antagonist, but is still very much a heroic character who abides by a code to protect the innocent and is ashamed at what he is being forced to do under orders. He eventually pulls a near HeelFace Turn by standing up to the real villain, and turns fully to the side of good moments later after being saved by Kuro.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Clyde is abrasive and unfriendly, but he clearly cares about Morty and Gus, and is willing to risk his life even for people he barely knows, such as Kuro.
- Knight Templar: Lord Shiro clearly believes that his intended sacrifice of Kuro is the right thing to do, although he is so deluded that he makes no attempt to justify it even to himself.
- Mark of Shame: Because of the stigma associated with his mark, Kuro has been treated as a pariah for his whole life.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Kuro has two of these moments: the first is when Clyde is murdered by Northport guards as an indirect result of his actions. The second is when he becomes horrified upon having stabbed Lord Shiro in the stomach, even though it was done in self-defense.
- Outnumbered Sibling: Gus is the only male out of his parents' four children.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Surprisingly, the one who receives this speech at the end is not the villainous Lord Shiro, but Kuro himself, when his aunt Cecilia calls him out on going along with the intended sacrifice to paint himself as a martyr rather than fighting for his own life as he should have done.
- The Southpaw: Kuro is left-handed. He has to get used to using his right hand after he injures his left arm.
- Urban Segregation: Northport is split into the Inner District, home to the upper and middle Spinehog classes, and the Outer District where the lower-class citizens live. See Wretched Hive below.
- World of Funny Animals: All characters in the story are anthropomorphic animals.
- World of Mammals: The three sapient species that appear in the story (armadillos, hedgehogs, and does) are all mammals.
- Wretched Hive: Northport's Outer District, where the houses are falling apart, the streets are dirty, criminals run rampant, and survival of the fittest is the law.
- Your Favorite: In one of the final scenes, Cecilia brings Kuro a mug of cocoa in his room; he tearfully recalls that his mother used to make it for him.