The Forgotten Lyric by Carolina Cruz (The Creed of Gethin Book II)

How can an assassin retire and live with everything they’ve done? Some men turn to drink, while others choose to live in denial. Kennet Peders, on the other hand, is just trying to be a better person. Saving a young girl from death by poison seems to be the perfect place to start, yet even as he takes a job that does nothing but good, Kennet can’t fully escape his past…

With the supernatural ability to influence other people’s emotions, Asa never felt quite comfortable in the society they were raised in. Luckily, being a bard means they can easily leave that society to find a home somewhere new—and the country of Bladland is very new to them. Here Asa finds themself presented with an opportunity: use their influence to help save a young girl and befriend a mysterious (and handsome) sword-for-hire in the process.

It’s an adventure they’d be a fool to pass up on.

COVER ARTIST: Lyrica Costello (Art), Fancypants Design (Design)
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
YEAR: 2023
LENGTH: 491 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Main Character(s), Genderqueer/Nonbinary Main Character(s).

*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book. 

THE FORGOTTEN LYRIC follows a bard and a former assassin who work together to try and solve the poisoning of a little girl.

Kennet is a former assassin who is using his extensive knowledge of murder to try and uncover the cause of a girl's coma and likely poisoning. This involves a lot of traveling, with only a few specific events occurring as he searches for answers. The focus is instead on his thoughts about and conversations with his traveling companion, Asa, as well as Kennet's memories of his murderous past. He was very good at being a killer for hire, until something happened that made him walk away from it all. By emphasizing who Kennet is now, the early focus is on him and Asa, and their acceptance of his complexity. Killing was his job, and now it (mostly) isn't. They end up with a third companion for a while, someone from Kennet's past whom he hurt deeply. Killing was something that this group of assassins did to other people, until it wasn't. That betrayal left the survivors devastated, and scattered the remains of the group. In that wake of that disaster, Kennet has tried to be a different person, staying away from the people he hurt so completely.

One of the things about forgiveness and redemption is that even if someone changes after doing harm, the people they hurt are under no obligation to accept them back. Trying to not hurt new people doesn't undo the previous pain. The various people involved have very different reactions to Kennet, as they were hurt in different ways. Asa, arriving long after the betrayal, has to choose how to relate to Kennet and how much to treat him on the basis of the person he clearly used to be (and makes no attempts to conceal). 

At first, THE FORGOTTEN LYRIC seems like a stand-alone book which is only technically a sequel to THE UNWANTED PROPHET. This was borne out for the first two-thirds of the story, where the first part is focused on trying to save a poisoned child, and the second part is about the motivations, the aftermath, and the tangled past which got Kennet into this position. However, this changes in the final section when Kennet and Asa, at last, turn their attention to figuring out some mysteries related to the bard. Asa has the ability to influence people's emotions with a touch, and they are delighted when Kennet wants to help them figure out the source of this ability. 

THE FORGOTTEN LYRIC introduces the possibility of a solution to something left ambiguous from THE UNWANTED PROPHET, but it seems as though the forthcoming conclusion to the trilogy will be the one to hold those answers. It could make sense to someone who started here and missed the first book, but the ending would make very little sense to someone in that position. The good news is that if someone made it all the way to the end before figuring out this was the middle volume of three, the references mostly avoid spoiling the events of THE UNWANTED PROPHET and it would still be satisfying to go back and catch up on those events. 

Things I love, in no particular order: Asa's power, the ritual towards the end, the former priest of Gethin, how the backstory is revealed.

I was absorbed in the story and am excited to keep reading about these characters, as it seems clear from the ending that this isn't their final appearance. 

If you like this you may like:

  • GODKILLER by Hannah Kaner (Incarnate divinities)
  • THE THIRTEENTH HOUR by Trudie Skies (Divine meddling)
  • THE SORCEROR OF THE WILDEEPS by Kai Ashante Wilson (Gods, m/enby romance)

Graphic/Explicit CW for blood, violence, torture, murder, death.

Moderate CW for grief, alcohol, vomit, injury detail, medical content.

Minor CW for sexual content, child death.

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A person in tan and gold clothing, with a guitar-like instrument on their back, walks down a cobbled street softly lit by golden light.


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