Rin’s beautifully crafted world from The Bone Witch (2017) expands in this sequel, which joins dark asha Tea on her crusade of revenge. With an army of the dead and monsters known as daeva, she wrests control of kingdoms that would oppose her. But this is far more than a power grab. A mysterious sleeping sickness is afflicting royal families, and the cure appears to lie with the old Heart Forger and bringing down the remaining Faceless leaders. As in The Bone Witch, the narrative alternates between Tea’s recollections, which she tells the bard, and his own account of her terrifying campaign. Rin places the reader in the middle of the action, and they must puzzle through Tea’s motivations and the circumstances that brought her there—things that are gradually revealed through her conversations with the bard and often seem at odds with one another. Tea is a wonderfully complex character, who knowingly assumes the mantle of villain, but Rin deftly exposes her admirable qualities alongside her flaws. Readers will benefit from starting with the first book, which meticulously lays out Tea’s world and her training as a bone witch, but Rin incorporates enough of these details in her action-driven sequel that newcomers can still find their footing. Dark and entrancing with a third volume to come.
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