The Heart Forger: Review
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco was one of my favorite reads of 2017 and it left me wanting so much more. It follows the story of Tea, a bone witch, through two timelines: the present, where a bard is tasked with documenting her actions and the past, which is Tea's recounting of the past to the bard. Through these two perspectives, the reader is left to their own devices to determine the morality of Tea's actions and how her past ultimately converged to her present. It ended with a cliffhanger, which is exactly where The Heart Forger picks up.
I received a complimentary advanced reader's copy from Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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.
In The Heart Forger, we continue to follow Tea's journey through two perspectives. The bard continues to follow her on her quest for revenge, but with Kalen's resurrection, the bard sees a new side to her- a gentler side. I should say, I love how Chupeco plays with perspectives here. I don't think she ever clarifies the gender of the bard, and since these parts are told from the bard's first-person perspective, the bard could be anyone. The bard is you, the reader, whoever you are. As the bard witnesses Tea's present actions, she also tells the bard stories from her past, and what got her to this point.
However, I felt like I was being strung along. Tea clearly experienced something traumatic that caused her to raise daevas while in exile, but we still have no idea what happened. As she continues her campaign in the present, we bump into characters from her past with whom she has very different relationships now than when she started as an asha, like Kalen and Fox (oh no, not Fox!!!!). These are nice little connections for the readers to make as they try to thread together the present and the past but personally, I felt a little too lost. It's a clever literary device, but if the reader is feeling confused, then it has backfired. But maybe that's just me and my impatience.
In these stories about the past, we meet a very different Tea in The Heart Forger. She has come into her powers as a strong bone witch and is extremely capable. She experiences a rollercoaster of emotions in this book, from heartbreak to new love. I loved seeing her development from the first book to the second. But of course, The Heart Forger is very, very different from The Bone Witch. In the first book, I was captivated by the splendor and culture of the asha. In the second book, we are focused more on political intrigue and the institutions behind magic. I highly recommend rereading The Bone Witch before diving into the sequel if it's been awhile, because there are several terms, kingdoms, and characters that are mentioned again without a reintroduction. I was extremely lost when I started The Heart Forger and forced myself to put it down and reread the first book. I enjoyed the sequel much more after that. It would have been great if readers were given more context in The Heart Forger so they didn't have to do this and could immerse themselves fully in the book.
There are plenty of incredible plot twists in Tea's past, which made these parts exciting to read. However, I wish there were obvious clues throughout the book to make these reveals more satisfying! As a reader, I enjoy figuring things out on my own.
The best part of the book, in my opinion, are the relationships between the characters. Tea and Fox's relationship of sister/brother and master/familiar is explored through Tea's newfound abilities. Her fellow asha continue to be wonderful companions to read about- each one is so different. And of course, broody, brilliant Kalen: my favorite Deathseeker (and not just because he's the only Deathseeker I know). By my standards, he gets the most redeeming character arc and I lived for his character's development.
I rate The Heart Forger 4/5 stars.
The Heart Forger releases on March 20th, 2018 and you can pre-order your copy now!
Check out the official cover below!