The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco (The Bone Witch, #2)
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.
TITLE: The Heart Forger
AUTHOR: Rin Chupeco
LENGTH: 528 pages
AGE: Young Adult
Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Minor Character(s), Genderqueer/Nonbinary Secondary Character(s), Closeted/Questioning Secondary Character(s).
The Heart Forger is a strong sequel to The Bone Witch, artfully balancing two narratives to maximize the strengths of each. Powerfully queer, elegantly dark, excellently paced; good for those who like necromancy with their dragons.
As the second book, The Heart Forger had a lot to live up to and it manages it beautifully. The main story and the interstitial narrative are given appropriate amounts of attention; there's a beautiful ebb and flow as the interstitial sections imply various results of the main story without revealing the details prematurely. It's a swifter book than The Bone Witch, it doesn't cover as much time and it doesn't have to do the heavy lifting of world-building that its predecessor did. That allows it the space for Tea to gain a sense of mastery and earned confidence commensurate with her already-established eagerness.
This remains a tricky series to discuss because everything I loved is a spoiler for something else. The handling of Tea's love life was very skillful, there was a tricky pivot to make due to a reveal at the end of the last book. Some of that work was done in The Bone Witch, but a lot needed to happen in this book for it to feel believable and I think the author pulled it off.
I was pleasantly surprised by where the main narrative stops. I wasn't sure how much more story could fit in before the past catches up to the start of The Bone Witch's interstitials, but the pacing is great and I'm left with a good mix of satisfaction and questions. I'm very ready to read book three.
CW for violence, blood, death, major character death.