Still reeling after the death in book one, Calla and company are still stuck in the Neverending Forest and must figure out what their next move will be as the Fates’ War continues to loom near. Without a care for the havoc she has wrecked, Amina clutches the still-beating heart in her hand as she makes her way back to the Land of the Valkyries, only to find that things have changed immensely in the six years since she’s been gone. Meanwhile, Delphine plots and plans her escape from the Siren Court with the help of lovers-turned-enemies and foes-turned-allies.

With a large cast and a year between books, one of the best things to discover upon opening this book is the character glossary. My little goldfish brain struggles even remembering big plot points so having something at the beginning of a book to jog my memory is greatly appreciated and I wish that more books (especially fantasy!) included something similar.

Returning to a fantasy world after some time is such a mixed bag—Do I remember what happened? Am I ready to be hurt again? The answer is a resounding no, but I continue to do it anyway because the stories are ones that I cannot imagine not completing. Smith expands upon her excellent world-building in the first book with this one as we travel to places we haven’t seen before.

Not only do we see places we haven’t seen previously, but we also see relationships that we haven’t seen before. Smith’s ability to navigate this large cast, all their emotions, and all their ever-changing relationships is masterful and I want a whole class on how to make it work. Nothing draws me into a story more than good characters and Smith has them in spades.

As far as the actual plot of the story, it jumps around between a couple main plot lines but still manages to feel cohesive and flow effortlessly. The middle child of a series often gets a bad rap, but Smith made sure this one shines on its own merits while building on the success of the first and allowing room to bloom even further in the finale. I am on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happens!

A RECKLESS OATH is the second book in the Heartless Fates series by Kaylie Smith and is available now. Pick up a copy here and make sure you’ve also got the first book, A RUINOUS FATE, before you start reading!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores like my local fave Linden Tree Books! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2024 Book Recommendations."