Following on from the Great Invasion and the adventures Belengaria and Petra in The Queen’s Wing, The Stone’s Heart opens on the redemption of Con and the planning of his and Bel’s wedding. The land is now safe from invasion and they have the opportunity to not only make their home planet a better place, allowing the Rondet to roam free from their prison.
In order to prepare for the impending festivities, Bel’s brother Zander makes an appearance, swearing he is only on Anthaeus in order to attend his sister’s nuptials. Instead he seems to have brought with him an ancient evil determined to once again bring Anthaeus to its knees. Can Bel and her court intervene before it is too late? Or will their homeworld finally fall?
First off, I have to give thanks to Bookouture for providing me with an early reader copy of this, the second of Jessica Thorne’s novels, through the services provided by Netgalley. I loved the first one, so the fact I got my grabby hands on this before its release was amazing.
Here is where I tell you that I am about to spoil events from The Queen’s Wing if you haven’t already read it. Its an amazing story from a great independent online publisher which definitely deserves your attention.
If you HAVE read TQW and want to know what I thought of it, you can find a review here. I loved it and actually flew through it in my reread prior to The Stone’s Heart.
Last chance to leave and enjoy Thorne’s absolutely spectacular debut novel… Ok no more chances. Here we go.
Bel has saved her man Conleith and the entirity of Anthaeus from destruction at the hands of the Gravians. Allying herself with the majestic Rondet, her planet is safe. Alas she still hasn’t managed to marry him so this is at the forefront of her mind. Petra is once again skulking the halls of the palace and between the Rondet and the people of this tiny rock in space, they are rebuilding the old buildings that were destroyed when the Gravians sent their Replicon/Cybermen down to take over and annihilate the entire population. Its been a busy few months but everyone is happy so of course it can’t last. This is where we kick off the second instalment.
Now, TQW was slow to start and that was fine because ALL THE CHARACTERS but I sort expected that Thorne would have negated the need to pull the pace right back at the commencement of this one. I was wrong and kind of wanted to give up early on. In my opinion, majority of the central characters had already been in the spotlight so didn’t need additional introductions. Maybe it was done for those who had simply jumped into TSH before reading the first of Belengaria’s adventures, I will never know. It dragged for a little anyway.
Once everyone is on planet – shoutout to the blue haired bitch, Kaeda and eternal sweetie, Valentin – the tension starts to build and we see that the Gravians have left behind some of their friends (or have they *insert suspenseful music here*). Petra does her thing and saves an unexpectant man from certain death and the intrigue once again descends.
Throughout the first half, the action was a little up and down but fairly enjoyable for the most part. The second half, however, was filled with all the punch and adrenaline I had expected from the get go. Twist, turns and body-stealing demon rocks caused the story to go from 0-100 in 20 pages flat.
As I said earlier, Bel and Petra are back. Once again they are butt-kicking betties and I loved them just as much here as I did in TQW. Newcomers Zander (kind of), Val and Kaeda brought some fresh faces to the story and I wasn’t disappointed with the villainy that one of them brings to the piece; I love a good villain, stop judging me for my poor choices. Stone’s Heart also saw the inclusion of other members of the Vairian family – while one of them was fairly hohum, the other has a fairly minor but pivotal role in the unfolding of events and I really loved that this was utilised to its fullest (#intrigue).
Once again, Thorne writes in such a manner that the story flows seemingly effortlessly, with (the majority of) storylines being tied up into a neat little bow by the end. Plot points not resolved from the previous novel have been addressed, with most coming to a logical conclusion that quieted my analytical little heart. My only question with which I was left was, did the villains take the rock or is it still floating away?
While not quite as fast paced or enthralling as the first in the series, I felt that The Stone’s Heart was a fitting end to Bel and Con’s tale. The tag line once again promises an ‘unputdownable fantasy romance’. In TQW, I would beg to differ as action fills every page. In this next novel, I would tend to agree with relationships taking centre stage moreso than action and adventure. Overall, I give it a 4/5 stars and can not wait to see what Thorne releases in the future.
The Stone’s Heart is the second novel by Jessica Thorne in the The Queen’s Wing series. It released from Bookouture on 19th February 2019 and is available through most retailers of ebooks.