I’m finding it really hard to write this review, because although I really enjoyed The Heart Forger, I can’t tell you specifically why.
I liked that there was heaps of action on the present tense this time around, as opposed to just dropping titbits about the past tense story to keep our interest.
I liked that the gang, expanding wonderfully to now include LGBTI rep and a former nemesis turned snarky ally, travelled to other kingdoms so we could see more of the world.
I really liked the romance. I thought it was a lovely slow burn and the tension was nicely written. I really liked how Tea had such an intense crush in the first book and ended up falling in love with someone else, because it’s such a representation of what naturally happens, not only when you are a teenager but all through life as well. None of this ‘the first person I am ever attracted to/have feelings for is my forever soulmate.’ I think it helped that we saw who her love interest was in the present, and so I was eagerly listening for any hint of their developing romance in the past. It was cute, but also meaningful, because Tea and her love interest have a whole lot of respect and admiration for each other.
As for the plot, I did enjoy it, but it wasn’t completely thrilling. I liked the antagonists and the twists, and the pacing was fine. I mean, if you asked me what it was about, I’d have to say something like, ‘the gang investigate why their friend has been attacked with a sleeping spell’ which doesn’t sound all that interesting, but for some reason I really did enjoy the book.
I know a large part of my enjoyment stems from the magnificent narration provided by Emily Woo Zeller. She’s just so immensely talented that I can’t even put into words how much I enjoy it. I could ask for – and probably receive – an ARC of the third book in this series, but honestly I just want her to read it to me. She gets at the heart of every emotion, and she has a different and distinct voice for every single character, including very impressive male voices. Her delivery gives you a sense of the characters even without the text necessarily providing that.
I’m pretty keen on Book 3 and I have been well and truly sucked into this world and Tea’s adventures.