Bones of the Past picks up a few months after Forging Hephaestus left off. Tori, Beverly, and Chloe are sharing an apartment. Doctor Mechaniacal is rebuilding the Guild’s home base. Donald, Rem, and their teammates are doing what they can to regain the public’s trust now that everything is out in the open. And Lodestar is back on duty, fending off alien invasions in between PTA meetings. Life returns to normal. (That Nexus comment at the end of FH, though? You won’t find the resolution to that here.)
Now that Tori is a full member of the Guild of Villainous Reformation, the pressure is off, for the most part. She can go back to developing her metasuit, swilling as much coffee as she can while laying low. Until her civilian persona gets rescued by the new hero team in town, and she’s dropped right back into Ridge City’s supers scene. Now she has new neighbors–the hero team in poor disguise–and she’s doing mandatory community service with Beth’s Scarscout cluster (ungendered scouting) with Ivan and his lovely friend, Helen.
Bones of the Past isn’t quite as good as Forging Hephaestus, but it’s still a good way to spend a weekend if you’re looking for something to binge. It’s clearly a middle book, but Hayes is really good about making sure he moves parts of the story forward as he goes, rather than waiting to tie it all off at the end. (E.g., Donald confesses his feelings to Tori.) Hayes also throws a few new wrinkles into the mix, some you could see coming (Ivan and Helen) and others unexpected (I get a bad feeling about who will end up being the final Big Bad).
Fewer heists and criminal activities in general this go round. Mostly, it’s a chess game of Tori hiding her identity even as she learns everyone else’s. Things are happening around her, and she’s not driving the story. Maybe that’s what took some of the energy out of this sequel for me? Once again, the story seems to be happening around both Tori and Ivan. I suppose it’s easier to root for the “villains” when they only do bad things because they’ve been backed into a corner by outside forces.
Don’t start here. But if you’ve read Forging Hephaestus, dig right in. It’s what you’ve been waiting for.