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Review: The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco

Tea continues to tell her story to the Bard, this time delving into the political turmoil that led to her exile from Ankyo. The exploits of the Princess Inessa, the way Tea’s bond with the azi was revealed, and the source of the sleeping sickness afflicting nobles reveal themselves in a second twisting installment of intrigue as Tea also descends upon Daanoris to conquer a city ruled by an impostor. Parts of Tea’s story begin to bleed into her present as she explains to the Bard why she has made certain choices–and yet keeps him in the dark about others.

Goodreads

What is The Heart Forger about?

The Heart Forger is the second in The Bone Witch series, and picks up where the first book left off in both timelines. In the present timeline, Tea and the Bard are in Daanoris, where Tea begins to reveal the deceptions in the world that would portray her as a villain. She also performs some incredibly and impossibly powerful magic, demonstrating her abilities. In her story to the Bard she tells him how the major political conflicts that she is rebelling against now got started. She covers two major events including one that she was blamed for the resolution of. New characters are introduced as well, giving greater insight into the relationships that were hinted at previously. And of course, new and more powerful magic is introduced as well.

Genre: Fantasy

Yes, I think The Heart Forger really cements this series’ inclusion in the fantasy genre. More and more magic is being introduced, and the world is expanding under the skillful descriptions of Chupeco.

Tropes: An Unexpected Love Blooms

There was significantly more romance in this book, which makes sense for the series. Though some of the relationships were established off screen in the first book, it was good to have them brought to the forefront. Additionally, it was nice to have the inclusion of two queer love plots, one with a canon relationship, and one with at least two canon queer characters.

Plot: Political Conspiracy

While the first book in the series heavily focused on Tea and developing her as a bone witch, this book is finally setting up all of the political and social conflicts which Tea suffered to get to her point of exile. In her tale she is not yet ostracized from asha community, but she does face off against some of the opponents she mentions in the present storyline.

The Good

I adore Tea as a character. She doesn’t make terribly stupid choices, but is in fact regularly proven correct about what secrets she chooses to keep. I liked Fox and Inessa’s dynamic, and I also was genuinely pleased with the romance that bloomed for Tea in this book. It was not what I expected, but I prefer it to what I thought would happen. The inclusion of a canon queer relationship, as well as a total of four canon queer characters was lovely! I’m also glad to see even more magic being developed because comparatively, Tea did very little magic herself in the first book. The worldbuilding continues to be delightful, descriptions of the food mouthwatering, and the characters highly interesting!

The Okay

I understand narratively how the use of compulsion creates conflict, and also why the author writes scenes where Tea herself is compelled the way she does. It still never quite comes across right to me. For example, I didn’t even realize Tea was compelled in the first book until she states it herself in the second. There’s very little payoff for that.

The Bad

The only major complaint I have is about the Duke of Holsrath. He’s given a semi-redemption arc towards the end of this book that doesn’t totally make sense? It does and it doesn’t. He’s very lightly touched on and I think he’s mostly brought in as a red herring, so it’s not particularly well done.

Final Thoughts

Apart from a couple of confusing moments towards the end, this book totally delivers as a surprisingly stellar sequel! While many second books in a series fail to live up to the first, this one does and does more. The magic building, worldbuilding, and relationships develop miles further than in the first book and I enjoyed that so much. I even enjoyed the romance subplots, and was pleasantly surprised by how little time they took up despite the emphasis on the future of them in the first book. Tea continues to be one of my favorite protagonists to read about of all time, though I wish we got more of her direct thinking in the “present” timeline because the Bard is so detached from the story that it’s a little difficult to be emotionally invested in the tense moments he describes. Definitely excited to read the third installment and see how Tea gets from point B to point D!

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By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

One reply on “Review: The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco”

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