A Blight of Blackwings is the second book in Kevin Hearne’s Seven Kennings fantasy series. It moves several groups of people forward from A Blight of Blackwings. As before we have the historian Dervan narrating the story with some of his own life, but primarily he records the tales of the bard Fintan whose kenning is being able to tell stories of other people in the first person by taking their form and reciting their stories verbatim.
We come to the world after the devastating invasion of the bone giants who were successfully stopped at great sacrifice in the first book. There is still a band of bone giants who have devastated several villages including Daryck who seeks revenge. There are refugees who seek land to settle and live in peace and explorers who come into contact with them. Together they investigate a mysterious island and discover a new kenning, one that seems to threaten everyone’s survival.
A Blight of Blackwings is a great story and Hearne is a fantastic storyteller. However, we came back to the story right in the fray without much in the way of reminding us what happened. That is something I normally like. I don’t want a quarter of a book being a rehash of the book before, but it would be nice to have a bit of a pointer or two. I struggled to remember who is who. It’s a simple fact that the unfamiliar is hard to remember so if the bard was named Frank rather than Fintan, his name would be easier to remember. Of course, it would remove the fantastical element and I don’t want him to do that. But maybe a cast of character for book three.
I think the next book will be epic. The people of the first book faced an existential threat. The second book ended with the suggestion that book three will be even more epic, but this book was transitional, It sets up the third book. On its own, I think this book is a lacking a central organizing story. It was all set up to what I expect will be the finale. It was interesting and I enjoyed it, but it did not have an arc, really, it just led us to the point where the real story begins.