Author: Andrea Robertson
Narrator: Amy Spiels
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 38 minutes
Ara has always known about the legend of the Loresmith: the blacksmith who served alongside the kings and queens of every generation to protect the kingdom. It was her fate to inherit the title–though she never truly believed it would come to pass since the monarchy’s downfall years before.
But when the lost Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon steal Ara from her quiet life with a mission to retake the throne–and take her place as the Loresmith–her whole world turns upside down. Their journey will take Ara on a dangerous adventure to discover new truths about her family’s legacy, and even to face the gods themselves. And with a mysterious thief as an unexpected companion, Ara must use all her skills to figure out just who she can trust, and forge the right path forward–for herself, her kingdom, and her heart.
[Forged in Fire and Stars #1 Review]
Cast in Secrets and Shadow is the sequel novel to Forged in Fire and Stars in the Loresmith series. I was a little unsure of continuing the series as I was on the fence with the first novel, but I am glad I moved forward and tried this one. While I greatly enjoyed this novel, it is a little frustrating as the ending sets up for a third novel, but, unfortunately, I do not see a release date. There is a cliffhanger in this novel and I am curious to learn what happens next. There is enough material that this could be expanded beyond a trilogy, but I think one more novel could wrap-up everything enough to create a satisfying ending. This novel built on the previous one very well and I cannot wait to see what the third would offer.
The main character, Ara, is now the Loresmith and must now prove her worth to the gods. Through the different obstacles she faces, she constructs new weapons and more members are recruited into the Loreknights. Ara continues to develop as a character. Since I did not connect with her a lot in the first novel, it was nice getting to know her more in this novel. Her potential romance with Teth is further explored in this novel, but there is a lot standing in their way to make any romance work. Ara has a lot to balance with staying true to herself and adjusting to her new role with many complex emotions involved. She struggles a lot with decision making, which helps a lot with her character development. Again, while there is still a lot that I want to learn about the character, I feel more connected to her in this novel compared to the previous.
A new addition to the group is Joar, who brought some fun to the team. Although he was not a huge presence in the novel, there is a lot of potential with the character and I enjoyed his “scenes.” There is also Dagger, an assassin that was an interesting addition to the mix. Along with Eamon, Nimhea, Lahvia, Liran, and Zenar all still present in some way throughout the story, the characters are all beginning to grow on me as time moves forward. Some characters have a large presence and others are only there for a brief time as there a lot happening at any given moment. I think the most difficult part about this series is that I do not know where I am within the series. The story reads differently if it is a duology, trilogy, or longer series, so without knowing how many total novels to expect, it is difficult to see how everything fits together and how much more will come.
Overall, as a lot of the world building was the focus of the first novel, this one further explores the action, relationships, and romance. The writing is detailed and interesting, so, again, I am curious how everything will come together. The Vokkans are an intriguing group of villains with their destruction and the other characters trying to right all the wrongs. As there are betrayals and twists in this novel, there is still a lot of questions to be answered and quests that need to be completed. This was a great sequel and now I just have to sit tight until a third novel is announced.