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’m enjoying this series but there’s something about it which keeps me from absolutely gushing about it like some other books–it’s probably a me thing because there are certainly a lot of things to love about this story! It may be that I should read it in print, sometimes there’s a disconnect with audio for me and yet I continue on with the audio anyway because of time constraints.
Let’s start off with the structure. We’re still working within the frame story just as in the book one. However, in this book the frame starts becoming a larger part of the overall story. It’s not *just* Tea narrating her past to the bard, but there’s a lot of activity going on as well. We get to see some familiar characters pop up in present day, not just the story within the story. I’m still wondering how things got to where they are (not all is revealed in this one) but we’re working up to that and at least some questions get answered. I like this frame story technique, It’s not something that you come across a lot in story like this one. I like that it keeps the reader guessing even though we know some of the outcomes upfront.
In this sequel we see Tea exploring some even darker forms of magic–things that should be forbidden. And it seems they’re forbidden for reasons as she starts to become very powerful here. Her intentions are good although she often wants to do what she feels is best without consulting others and I can’t help but feel this is a dangerous line to walk, especially as her powers grow. I also don’t know in the frame part of the story…has she gone off the deep end? There seems to be some question that maybe not all is right but we don’t know yet exactly why and how things have ended up this way. I worry about Tea–she’s young and powerful and thinks the rules don’t always need to be followed. Will things turn out for her in the end? Will we still be rooting for her at the end of this story?
I love so many of the characters in this book but really it’s all about their relationships with one another. They don’t always get a long and indeed a lot of conflict (and angst) comes from their relationships even though there are other Big Picture plot things going on, this is what keeps me invested in the story. In this one we spend a lot more time with Khalad, the heart forger of the title. Getting to know him better was fantastic and you really empathize with him here. Khalad hasn’t had it easy, he’s been ostracized by his father because he’s gay. You can seen how important a role he has in the story though, as a heart forger and collector of memories. He has a tremendous amount of power and it’s important for Tea to have him on her side. We also have Fox, Tea’s brother, getting a big role this time around. I love the relationship between the two siblings–he’s such an amazing big brother. They get into fights sometimes but they still have each other’s backs. Also there’s the consideration that if something happens to Tea then Fox is probably toast since her magic brought him back. That’s another layer to their relationship which gets brought up a bit here. Honestly this series has so many wonderfully developed characters, it would take me too long to mention all of them here.
Then of course we have the romance. Whoooo, things really start to kick in here, even though it took most of the book I was like ‘FINALLY, YESSSS’. Girl, he’s not mad at you, he’s mad at himself for trying not to love you and not being able to help himself—that is one of my favorite kinds of romances by the way. This did have me swooning a bit, I’ll admit. I also loved Fox’s relationship with Princess Inessa. You know, I just love a good love story especially when it seems like odds are stacked against them.
The world building and the magic system continue to be a highlight as well. So…what didn’t work for me? That’s harder to pin down. I don’t know what it is but something about these books just don’t pull me in quite as much as other stories, not enough for me to be screaming on twitter or bouncing in my seat as I read. I wish I knew what it was… Maybe it’s that I’d rather it just be more about the characters rather than all of the politics because I find myself not caring about all that as much as the characters’ emotional journeys. Because of that the pacing felt really slow at times. And, again, it could be an audio thing. Anywho. Still very much looking forward to the conclusion! 4/5 stars.