Plot: Not long ago Reason stepped through a door connecting Sydney and New York and was forced to acknowledge that magic is real. Now she and her two new friends, Tom and Jay-Tee, must make a terrible choice: ignore their magical gifts and go mad or use them and die young. Reason’s grandmother has promised them magic lessons but she still has many secrets. They don’t know if they can trust her. Worse, Jay-Tee must deal with the consequences of overusing her magic and Reason is being targetted by a mysterious force. Their only hope may be to unlock a secret magic power, one that may save their lives or destroy them completely.
This is the sequel to Magic or Madness if you have not read it yet, go do that first. I will wait.
I loved the world and characters Larbalestier created in her first book and she continues to develop them in this volume. I really like Reason especially who is smart and analytical and, having grown up in the Bush, has a completely different experience of the world from other teens. Tom and Jay-Tee are great too and I like the little rivalry that grows between them as they begin to spend time together. Even Reason’s grandmother, Esmerelda gets some more development; though I wouldn’t call her likable or trustworthy, you come to understand her actions better.
Larbalestier’s magic continues to fascinate me: it has real consequences and the way the charaters view magic (through mathematics, shapes, connections between people and more) reveals a lot about them. Readers, like the characters themselves, may be a bit frustrated by how little Reason’s grandmother actually teaches about magic: she knows very little and shares even less. However, this is a middle novel and I’m sure we can look forward to some huge reveals in the final volume, Magic’s Child.
Because of the nature of magic in this universe, the characters face constant danger. There are several magical battles, made more exciting by the cost of fighting them. But the stakes are much higher than in the first book: Jay-Tee can feel herself dying and Reason is pursued by a dangerous magical being. Saving themselves is not as simple as fighting: they must make some important moral choices, life changing choices, and they can’t even trust the adults around them to help.
The series ends with Magic’s Child. Look for my review in the coming weeks, I don’t think I’ll be able to wait very long to read it.