Barnes ups the tempo in this, the second book of the Echoes of Empire series. While I gave Garden of Stones 4 stars, Obsidian Heart is even more deserving of this rating. (Still, I have to keep the 5-star ace up my sleeve for the final installment.)
The pacing is more even in Obsidian Heart and the stakes are steadily escalating throughout the novel. The Federationists and Imperialists land some telling blows, but it’s the battle between the Seq and the witches that is really arresting. Still, one senses that not all of the opponents have emerged from the shadowy sidelines yet, which should make for one almighty conclusion in the final book, Pillars of Sand.
Fantasy lovers should be reading this series, especially if you’re tired of well-worn tropes.