Saturday, October 9, 2021

Audiobook Review: The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Hollow Heart (Forgotten Gods #2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: September 9, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 304
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Review for book 1

Intrigue, romance, and magic abound in the heart-stopping conclusion to Marie Rutkoski’s Forgotten Gods duology.

At the end of The Midnight Lie, Nirrim offered up her heart to the God of Thieves in order to restore her people’s memories of their city’s history. The Half Kith who once lived imprisoned behind the city’s wall now realize that many among them are powerful. Meanwhile, the person Nirrim once loved most, Sid, has returned to her home country of Herran, where she must navigate the politics of being a rogue princess who has finally agreed to do her duty.

In the Herrani court, rumors begin to grow of a new threat rising across the sea, of magic unleashed on the world, and of a cruel, black-haired queen who can push false memories into your mind, so that you believe your dearest friends to be your enemies.

Sid doesn’t know that this queen is Nirrim, who seeks her revenge against a world that has wronged her. Can Sid save Nirrim from herself? Does Nirrim even want to be saved? As blood is shed and war begins, Sid and Nirrim find that it might not matter what they want…for the gods have their own plans.

Marie Rutkoski has been one of my favorite authors since my early blogging days. I've devoured every one of her books and each of them has made my favorites shelf, so I knew that The Hollow Heart would be no different! I could not wait to jump back into this world and see how Nirrim and Sid's story ended. I have to say, the audio did not disappoint (how could it with Justine Eyre narrating?), although the story wasn't quite what I was expecting. 

The Hollow Heart picks up with Sid arriving back in Herran and Nirrim leading a revolution in her own country. It seemed to divide readers, but I am firmly on the side of loving that Kestrel and Arin are in this story! I will admit that I didn't love Kestrel as a mother, but I am so glad I got to see more of how their story continued after The Winner's Kiss ended. As much as I enjoyed the fan service of seeing Sid's parents, I do wish that the two main characters of this series weren't separated for 90% of the book. 

A lot of Sid's storyline revolved around misunderstandings and miscommunication, which I usually can't stand, but I really related to her and didn't mind it quite as much as I usually would. In The Midnight Lie it was obvious that Sid was very confident in herself, but I really liked seeing her more vulnerable side after her heartbreak. On the other hand, Nirrim was extremely difficult to connect to or root for. In fact, her character bordered on irredeemable for me, which really is a shame because I loved her in book one. 

Marie Rutkoski expanded on the world and mythology in The Hollow Heart, even including one of the forgotten gods as a POV character. It was interesting to see the magic and deities that Arin believed in confirmed as reality (although I honestly can't remember how big a part this played in the original trilogy). It makes me wish that The Winner's Trilogy had been a bit magical too! 

My main complaint is that this series should have been longer. The Hollow Heart truly felt like a second book in a series and I wish that there was going to be a book three. I know that this was always planned as a duology, but the ending is so abrupt and comes after such a brief reunion between the lead characters, that it doesn't feel completed. I desperately wanted more time with Nirrim and Sid together and to see how they worked through all that happened while they were apart.

This book wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but I still enjoyed the time I spent in this world. I'm not sure if Rutkoski has plans to write more in this world, but I would definitely love to see more of these characters in the future!