YA Weekend: Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Book 2 of Bring Me Their Hearts
Publisher: Entangled: Teen (November 5, 2019)
Length: 400 pages
Last year I absolutely adored Sara Wolf’s Bring Me Their Hearts, so it should come as no surprise that its sequel Find Me Their Bones became one of my most anticipated YA releases in 2019. While the story lacked some of the intrigue and drive that made the first book so fun, as well growing a little too twisty to the point of convolution, I still enjoyed myself a lot and was not disappointed.
Continuing immediately after the events at the end of Bring Me Their Hearts, we return to the world of Cavanos in Find Me Their Bones with Zera, our protagonist who has tried for three long years to win back her heart. It also picks up from a quite a hefty cliffhanger, so be aware this review may contain spoilers for the first book if you’re not caught up. In short, we begin with the story with two huge bombshells: One, Zera has revealed her identity as a heartless, a thrall tasked by her witch Nightsinger to infiltrate the royal court and steal the heart of Prince Lucien d’Malvane—as in literally cutting it from his chest; and two, Lucien’s older sister, the princess Varia whom everyone thought was dead, is actually still alive. What’s more, Varia herself is a powerful witch, who manages to wrest control of Zera from Nightsinger.
Determined to forge a truce between humans and witches, Varia has a plan which involves a powerful totem known as the Bone Tree, and the job has fallen to Zera to seek it out. To do so, our heartless protagonist will have to first gain knowledge of the tree’s location from creature known as a valkerax. Bloodthirsty and half-mad, this monster lives in the labyrinthine tunnels beneath and city and is not generally known for its willingness to cooperate, but choice does Zera have? Her own heart is on the line, along with the last chance she has to become human again. But that also leaves the problem of Lucien, for whom Zera has developed feelings, despite her efforts to keep a distance. And it appears that he may have fallen for her too, even in light of her betrayal.
If you enjoyed Bring Me Their Hearts, chances are you’ll have a good time with this sequel too. I’m happy to report that Wolf succeeds in carrying through the same tone plus many of the familiar themes from the first book. Zera is as feisty and full of snark as ever, and I continue to love her take-no-crap personality and snappy comebacks. And still, her character also evolves as more conflicts are added to her already overburdened psyche, now that true romantic feelings for Lucien has been thrown into the mix. Surprisingly though, there was less focus on their relationship than I expected, but for which I was grateful because it gave the story a chance to explore the more complex—and, quite honestly, more interesting—dynamics between Zera and Varia. While the revelations about the latter were shocking at the end of the first book, it was refreshing to see that the character had more of a purpose and a significant role to play in this one.
Which goes to show, the author had everything planned out. But while the story itself was solid, some of its plot points were a bit sensationalistic, tossing out twists for their own sake. I was slightly exasperated at the ending, for example, which served up another killer cliffhanger, and at some point, this pattern just becomes tiresome. We also lose some of that delicious tension from the first book which resulted from Zera’s internal discordance and guilt at manipulating Lucien. Now that the secret is out in the open, their interactions just didn’t have the same kind of magic, and it just felt like they were going in circles at times. To be fair though, Zera’s quest in this book was very different than the one she had in Bring Me Their Hearts, and the nature of Varia’s task presents unique challenges, bringing its own pros and cons.
All in all, I look forward to seeing where Zera’s story will go from here. The poor girl is dealing with so many conflicts pulling her in all different directions, you just have to wonder how much more she can take! It will also be interesting to see how Sara Wolf will handle the character, now that the stage is set for even higher stakes. As more is also revealed about the world and the mythology behind the war between human and witches, I think the next book will see more threads come together and the result will no doubt be epic. I can’t wait.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Bring Me Their Hearts (Book 1)