The Lovecraft-ian adventure begun in Summoned (2014) continues.
Readers expecting an epic showdown between budding magicians and unruly demons may become impatient with the ambling pace of this sequel. However, Sean’s growth and self-actualization make for an entertaining story. Even with the strong influence of Lovecraft, the book reads more like a mystery than horror. As Sean spends his summer studying magic with the Order of Alhazred, he uncovers secrets about his family history and his new friend that may challenge his loyalties. Meanwhile readers must pick apart clues to uncover who, if anyone, is trustworthy. Both the characters and Sean’s relationships with them feel genuine, as does the magic-filled world they inhabit. Pillsworth integrates the contemporary world and the supernatural one seamlessly, describing cars and highways with the same attention to minute details as she does enchanted paintings. Though at times excessive, this exposition makes it easy for readers unfamiliar with Lovecraft (or even the previous book in this series) to follow the narrative. While the bulk of the book is in Sean’s perspective, the prologue and epilogue give the reader a brief peek into Redemption Orne’s plans; just enough to keep them guessing.
A well-executed sequel that expands the mythos, solidifies the characters, and raises the stakes for the next outing. (Horror. 15 & up)