Happy May, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful April, and that May is just as good or even better for you!
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m checking out “Stone Heart” by Garrett Robinson! I read the prequel to this before, “Blood Lust,” and rather liked it, so I’m glad to pick up the sequel. I got a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Here’s the summary so we know what it’s about:
“Mag has crossed the Greatrocks into Dorsea, and already tales of her exploits have begun to spread. Servants of the Necromancer flee at even the rumor of her approach, and those who dare to stand before her meet a swift end at the tip of her spear.
But her quest for vengeance will take her, as well as Albern, to the farthest reaches of the outland kingdom of Calentin. There, ways and customs are strange—and creatures of immense size and power dwell within a day’s march of humanity’s cities.
Upon the highest peaks, Mag’s quest will pit her against the rock trolls who threaten Underrealm’s northern borders. But what good will her skill at arms do her, when no blade can pierce the skin of a troll?”
Albern and Mag were both interesting to read like last book, but this book definitely focused on Albern and revealed that 1. Albern is canonically trans and 2. Has some messy family history to confront, involving an abusive mother (similar to how Loren had an abusive father in the Nightblade series), and how that affected Albern and his siblings. We also got a good look at how Jordel’s death really affects Albern in this book as well, and his work on trying to compose a musical piece in tribute to Jordel shows how much care he had towards him. This really helps to round him out and shape him as a character, and explain some parts of why he acts the way he does. I also like his developing bonds with Mag, Sun and Dryleaf.
Last book, we had satyrs and a vampire. This time, we have trolls. What to do with the trolls? Apparently, according to all the combat scenes, we kill them with fire. What I liked about the trolls, other than the unique combat experience they provided in the several combat scenes in this book, is that though they acted as antagonists for the latter half of the book, we also saw a variety of views of humans and what the right thing to do is. There was Apok, for instance, who mustered up the courage to challenge her own troll leader so they wouldn’t blindly follow another person that could easily lead them all to death. I kind of hope to read more of them in later books, because expanding on how they work is interesting. Same goes for the satyrs from last book.
I think Kaita was an interesting antagonist in terms of how threatening she was overall to the main protagonists, but I hope to read more of her and her motivations behind all of what she did in the book. I think the Epilogue hints that the next book in this series will focus on her, which will be interesting to see her more in-depth.
One of the main pitfalls of this book is the plot being a bit slow to start in the beginning. It doesn’t quite pick up until a quarter into the book, which is where the combat really starts. However, it does allow for some good character interactions between Albern and Mag in particular.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. The ratings for the individual parts of what I wrote about are the following:
Albern’s development: 5 out of 5 stars
Character relationship development: 5 out of 5 stars
Worldbuilding and minor character development: 5 out of 5 stars.
Antagonist: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Overall Plotline: 3.5 out of 5 stars.