This third installment of a YA series brings a superlative menace to New Orleans that may require vampires and witches to join forces.
Eight months ago, a monstrous hurricane demolished New Orleans. Sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne, despite the witch mark on her arm, has seemingly lost her telekinetic powers. Her coven, including friends Désirée Borges and Isaac Thompson, battled the Medici vampires. Isaac slayed Adele’s undead mother, Brigitte, to save the teenager’s life. Now, Adele has withdrawn from her coven and existence in general. Only when Niccoló, the Medici sibling who’ll do anything for Adele, throws her mother a funeral does the teen reawaken to the world. Meanwhile, Isaac, Désirée, and their friend Codi Daure have been tracking down those possessed by the rogue spirits disturbed by Callisto Salazar and his Ghost Drinkers coven. The trio also strives to protect the city’s numerous cemeteries from Calli’s succubi by using hexenspiegel (witches’ mirrors). Eventually, Adele warms to Nicco’s charm, allowing him to begin exploring ways to restore her magic despite the warning written by her ancestor Adeline Saint-Germaine 300 years ago: “Be safe and stay away from Niccoló Medici.” A vicious attack on Isaac by Emilio Medici bolsters this statement. But Nicco has his own plan to find Calli before an already ruined city can be brought even lower. In this penultimate volume of her series, Arden (The Romeo Catchers, 2017, etc.) brings further heat to her love triangle and a broader, more otherworldly canvas on which to paint her cast’s heroism. The plot’s historical context is, as always, wretched yet captivating. Adele visits Jazzland, an amusement park devastated by the storm, and walks “through piles of stuffed bears in prize booths that looked like they’d been mauled by real ones, and dunking tanks filled with swamp water.” Meaty supernatural components include the lwa (Haitian Vodou spirits) and the accompanying Guinée (a part of the Afterworld). But the true reward for the author’s fans is the continuously vital portrayal of these characters. Adele’s friends love her, and a sweeping gesture in the final third is sure to make the audience misty-eyed.
A magnificent supernatural saga striding confidently toward its finale.