While I do my best to NOT spoil a book, “The Heart Forger” isn’t due out until March of this year- please read with caution!
I’ll be blatantly honest- I was not looking forward to reading this book. Why? The first book! I read “The Bone Witch” last year (around this time actually) and was pretty disappointed with it. Normally when I know a book is included in a series, I try to be gracious with the first book; it’s laying the groundwork (essentially) for the rest. Lots of names, lots of places, lots of things that the reader may or not understand, and the “The Bone Witch” was full of that, but that’s not why I was disappointed with it. To me, that whole first book was half “Memoirs of a Geisha” and half “Supernatural” (just without Dean Winchester).
But I’m not here to re-review “The Bone Witch”. I’m here to tell you that “The Heart Forger” blew it’s counterpart out of the water. I’m unsure because I trudged through the first book that reading this one was like coming up for fresh air, but the story was just spot on. Sure, it took me a few pages to really get into the story (and to actually remember what happened in the first book) but the dynamic of the characters was stronger, the story overall flowed better than it did in the first book.
Luckily, we pick up right where we left off in book one. A quick recap:
- Channel the entire story of “Memoirs of a Geisha”
- Add a geisha gone bad (an Asha in this story, but a Dark Asha) named Tea
- She resurrected her brother Fox (known as a Familiar)
- There are only 2 Bone Witches left in the world, herself and her mentor Mykaela
- This world wears their hearts around their neck (known as Heartglass) it can be a caste system
- Bone Witches help put Daeva (mythological creatures wreaking havoc) down
- A Bard is writing down Tea’s story
- Tea was being controlled by a powerful Faceless
Got it? Good. With ALL of that background info, we can pick up on “The Heart Forger”. Let’s first discuss that cover ❤ ❤ ❤ The original cover is what made me want to start this series to begin with! The exquisite detail ALMOST made it worthwhile reading the first time. THIS particular cover blew me away- well matching the material on the inside.
We start the book with Tea trying to raise King Vanor from the dead, to discuss her mentor’s missing Heartglass. Without the Heartglass, Mykaela continues to grow weaker. Unfortunately King Vanor is unyielding where he placed his former lover’s Heartglass, and Mykaela is disconcerted knowing Tea is unwilling to let the dead rest.
From here Tea confronts the Faceless woman, Aenah, to glean any inside information on recent attacks throughout the land. Even chained to a prison wall, Aenah still holds the tiniest amount of power with evasiveness. Letting Tea believe she has the upper hand, Aenah hints to a hidden runic book, belonging to the Fallen Prince in the midst of the Asha elders. Chains and all, Aenah is still dripping with manipulative power, merely contained inside her darkened heartglass. Aenah hints how to help Mykaela and her missing heartglass, as well as the mysterious sickness plaguing the nobles of the five great houses. With absolutely nothing to lose, Aenah makes a bid in hopes that Tea will still turn dark, combining their forces for destruction.
Carried over from the first book is Tea’s not so secret crush to Prince Kance. I’m pretty sure all surrounding parties are aware, with the exception of Prince Kance himself- and he doesn’t help the situation by being overly nice to her. Foreign dignities have higher plans for Kance- a royal wedding is announced, and Tea’s dreams are broken. Tragedy befalls the prince early in his marriage- even age isn’t susceptible for staving off the royal sickness, throwing Kance into a royal slumber- don’t worry folks, no glass coffins or seven dwarves here!
Naturally, Tea , Mykaela, and Fox are blamed for attempted murder on the prince (since she’s a Bone Witch with a familiar). A few Asha, Tea, Fox, Mykaela, Kalen (The Deathseeker protecting Kance), and Khaled (a Heartforger’s apprentice, and older brother to Kance) flee the city and head to Kion.
With the army of Odalia encroaching their every move, Tea is determined to follow the advice of Aenah, and find a solution for the noble sickness. Will Aenah get what she wishes for? Will Tea turn dark, or will her friendship and determination ground her for larger purposes?
As I said earlier, “The Heart Forger” blows “The Bone Witch” out of the water. Looking back on it, I am absolutely certain book one was just the foundation. Allowing readers to become acquainted with Tea, Fox, Mykaela, and the world surrounding them. Even with a year in between reads, I caught up rather quickly and remembered all of the details, drama, and action from book one.
Chupeco was able to cast her runic genius throughout this entire book, leaving readers wanting more. It was definitely a pleasant surprise enjoying this book since I struggled with the first. I can really say that I’m excited to finish this series- although not too soon, right?
A HUGE shout out to Sourcebooks FIRE for sending me an advanced reader’s copy of “The Heart Forger”. I wasn’t even asked to review- just more of a consideration. That being said it has not effected my opinion whatsoever.
“The Heart Forger” by Rin Chupeco is due to hit shelves March 20th 2018. It looks as though fans will have to wait another full year for the 3rd book entitled “Shadowglass”. Until then, “The Heart Forger gets a solid rating from me!
PS: Did you like my sneak peak images? Be sure to check out my Instagram account for a TON more images associated with the book!