The Heartforger is masterfully macabre…
Rin Chupeco delivers a entrancing conclusion to The Bone Witch in the second book of the tale of Tea, the girl who can raise the dead. Rin has created an ancient fantasy world for this series that is rich with detail and captivating to ponder. It makes me think of the world of medieval Asia; exotic lands with royalty and soldiers, courtesans and peasants, intrigue and deception all in the quest for power.
Rin creates a hierarchy of rich characters that are each intriguing in their own ways. Tea, the teenage girl who unexpectedly found out she was a Bone Witch after she raised her her beloved older brother from the dead after he was killed by one of the daeva, terrifying magical creatures that roamed the land is swept into a world far removed from her simple peasant upbringing. I loved Tea. Even after she discovers the full extent of her powers she is still humble and her heart still desires to make right all that is wrong. Her brother is now what they call her familiar, basically a full functioning dead person who she can communicate with telepathically, and provides for a number of lighthearted moments in what really is a gruesome story.
The Heartforger is again told from the perspective of the minstrel tasked by Tea to document her true story. In The Bone Witch, the story goes back and forth from the present day interaction of Tea and the minstrel on the desolate coast to the past events that lead to her exile. The Heartforger continues this past/present style but now the ministrel accompanies Tea as she sets out for justice and revenge while the historical events that have led to a pissed off Bone Witch who not only can raise the dead but who has developed the ability to join with the minds daeva and earn their loyalty and obedience is masterfully revealed. The use of flashbacks can be cumbersome and confusing but Rin skillfully weaves the two time frames together in a flowing tale that keeps you in suspense until the very end where all the pieces come together wonderfully in a climactic ending.
I’m usually not one who likes dark, macabre stories but Rin has written a captivating tale with great characters in a fascinating land. Even if its not your usually genre of choice you need to read and experience this saga yourself.