The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Summary from NetGalley:
In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection—now she’s after revenge…
No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her—and took the life of her one true love.
But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…
War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and this one did not disappoint! I know a lot of people had issues with the slowness of the first, and the pacing was better in this one. There is still the two narratives going, Tea’s story from the past and then the Bard’s tale from the present, which in this book got a little confusing, mostly because the two stories are beginning to catch up with each other, which made it a little harder to keep separate, but I still like seeing the two parts and how they connect.
Tea is such an interesting character, and in this book we really begin to see how she becomes the bone witch in the Bard’s part of the story. There is a lot of growth in Tea this time around as she comes to realize what it means to be a bone witch and how to control, or not, her dark part of herself. It is interesting to see the two sides of her in both of the stories, the young woman struggling to do what is right and protect her friends and family and the dark asha side we see from the Bard’s point of view. Tea really comes into her own in this book, from the impulsive and bold young girl into the strong, yet still impulsive very powerful bone witch.
All of the characters we met in the first book are still around, plus some new ones. Fox, Tea’s brother is still my favorite revenant. He is the one person that always stands by Tea, and not because he has to, but because he is her brother first and her familiar second. Their bond deepens in this book and some of the conversations they have are priceless. Prince Kance is not as prominent in this story, but he is still a presence in Tea’s mind for most of it. All of her Aisha friends are still with us and it is fun to see their relationships with Tea and each other flesh out and develop. I would have liked to see a bit more of Likh, and his fight to become an asha. Perhaps next time.
We know by the end of The Bone Witch that Kalen and Tea are lovers, but this book shows the development of their love and it is very sweet and adorable. They end up being one of the best things in this dark and sad story and I loved watching them come together. I really like Kalen, and I think he is a better choice than Kance for Tea. He is stronger and understands her better than she even knows. He also helps to keep her grounded so that she does not totally loose herself to the dark and become a Faceless one.
Speaking of the Faceless, we meet another one in this book, and I must say as evil people go the Faceless are pretty merciless and ruthless in their fight to rule death and the kingdoms. Aenah, is a cold and heartless bitch that gets what is coming to her. But she does help Tea understand her darker side and in some ways helps her to become stronger and more powerful.
We see more of the world that the author has created in this story. Tea and her companions travel to other kingdoms we haven’t seen in the first book. But there is a lack of world building in this one. Granted there was a lot of world building in the first book, so perhaps there was nothing left to say, but more descriptions of the new places and how these kingdoms worked would have been appreciated. I still really like the magic system that is in this world and we do learn more about it, especially Khalad’s part in it as a heart forger. The purpose and necessity of the heartsglass is also developed and made a bit clearer. There is way more politics in this book as well which helped to keep the plot interesting.
Overall this was a stunning second book in a well developed world that is unlike any other fantasy I have read recently. I love the characters, the magical system and the romance in this series and am so looking forward to the next book to finally see how the two stories become one and how Tea completes her journey.