Title: Forging Darkness
Author: Julie Hall
Pub. Date: January 22, 2021
Pub: Julie Hall
Genre: Upper YA Fantasy Romance
No one knows if Steel is dead or alive… except me.
For months I kept the late night calls from Steel a secret, until he let it slip that he tracked down his villainous sister, Silver. He needs help — even if the powerful angel-shifter is too stubborn to admit it.
But the Steel I find isn’t the same boy from Seraph Academy. He’s darker. Haunted. And the distance between us can’t be crossed by a simple flap of my wings.
When a battle with the Forsaken goes horribly wrong, I awaken as a prisoner inside a Fallen stronghold. My enigmatic abductor — Thorne — is manipulative, secretive, and claiming I’m meant to rule by his side.
I’m not buying it, especially since the alluring offer to unveil the mystery of my seraph ancestry comes at the cost of bringing every Nephilim to their knees.
Lines between the realms will blur. My world will burn. And this time, I’m not sure I can fight the darkness on my own…
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. I actually had no idea the audio was out for this book, and then when I saw that it was, I freaked out. Immediately downloaded it and then inhaled it.
I loved Stealing Embers – read it in one sitting, couldn’t put it down, thoroughly enjoyed myself. (You can check out my spoiler free review for Stealing Embers – here.) And then I had to wait for book 2. And if you read the synopsis for book 2, you understand why I really wanted to read it.
My enigmatic abductor — Thorne — is manipulative, secretive, and claiming I’m meant to rule by his side.
I fully expected to drop Steel for this new potential love interest.
But I’m absolutely trash for Steel and nothing is changing that.
Now I’m sitting here, waiting for book 3 – Unleashing Fire – and I’m dying all over again. I just need to know what happens next.
This book was so good, some truly cinematic moments in the second half – legit there’s one involving Emberly watching Steel from afar and he’s not in the best shape. When I say I saw that whole scene clear as day…I mean it.
But before I talk about the ending – which was epic – let me backtrack to the beginning.
It took me a little bit to remember how Stealing Embers ended (and what had happened in it), but it all came back, and I was once again completely immersed in this world. Emberly and her friend are at school, trying to live life, while dealing with real world shit. They still don’t know what Emberly really is, who her father is, what her powers are or the extent of them. She’s training, learning and doing whatever she can to keep her mind off of Steel – who’s MIA.
Except he’s calling her, and lowkey giving off stalker vibes. Just breathing into the phone like a weirdo.
Though, when you find out why he calls her, what makes him call, your heart kind of breaks and you just want to hug him. He’s shouldering so much and doesn’t know how to share the burden. Getting to know more about Steel and the moments that shaped him was so great – he carries so much guilt and pain and refuses to let others help him. He’s totally the type who would step in front of a bullet if it meant saving someone else pain.
Steel and Emberly’s relationship is so good – it’s full of witty banter, fantastic dialogue and softer moments, and sexual tension – something their friends rib them for quite often.
Speaking of their friends – Ash, Nova, Greyson, Sterling and Tinkle are just as wonderful as ever and have some significant roles in this book. It’s definitely primarily about Steel, Thorne and Emberly, but they’re there.
Then things happen, people are reunited, and shit goes sideways really quick.
He knows things about Ember.
He can help her.
I for sure thought that I was going to fall for him. That while being potentially morally grey, manipulative and possessive, he was going to outshine Steel and make me fall in love with him.
Thorne can get fucked.
But even with that being said, he’s such a great character. He doesn’t do what you expect, and he’s actually pretty ruthless. I’m thrilled that his character + arc didn’t play out like I expected. His actions left me slack jawed and anxious at the end of the book. I truly didn’t think he was capable, and yet, he did that.
There’s a reason book 3 is called Unleashing Fire.
It’s going to be epic.
While I wasn’t a fan of Thorne, I did actually like being in his world – having Emberly go through that whole ordeal. It wasn’t good, she went through a lot, but she grew so much as a character it was worth it. Also, we all know that I love a damsel in distress trope – even when the damsel is self-sacrificing and could be more than capable of saving her own ass.
But those Coliseum scenes – especially the ones with Steel – they played out like legit movies.
I love the narration of this book – it just came to life in my mind. I loved being back in this world, with these characters. Julie does such a wonderful job at crafting a story that runs you through a gauntlet of emotions and leaves you desperate for more. I need more Steel and Emberly, I have so many questions and I just want answers. I seriously cannot wait for the next book and thankfully I only have to wait until July.
I honestly can’t recommend this series enough. If you’re in the mood for angels, action, sexual tension, banter and a fight to save everyone and a little shapeshifting flying squirrel named Tinkle, then you’re going to want to pick this series up.