An action-packed tale of reincarnated Arthurian characters living as teenagers.
In an engaging sequel to Hiatt’s (Living with Your Past Selves, 2012) rollicking debut, this tale tells of young Taliesin Weaver, who suddenly becomes aware of dozens of his past lives and his accompanying magical powers. The evil Morgan LeFay is back and searching for her sorceress sister, Alcina, who’s trying to lay claim to the body of Carla, a young girl in a coma. Of course, Tal and his allies would rather see their friend Carla remain in control of her own body. Thus begins an epic battle, with fighting in California, the mystical land of Annwn and a previously undiscovered land. There are dragons, faerie archers, hostile marine life, animated foliage, shifting alliances, unexpected betrayals, even a ghost. It turns out that Tal’s friend Stan is the reincarnation of a powerful, unexpected historical figure. And as if adolescent romance weren’t already difficult enough, a potent love spell cast on Tal is virtually impossible to break. Hiatt also adds a wonderfully appealing new sidekick for Tal and his allies: a prepubescent boy with supernatural powers explained in the Quran. Despite all the action and the superhuman characters, the story never loses sight of the human element; scenes between Tal and his mother, who is beginning to develop magic powers of her own, are particularly poignant, as is a love triangle reminiscent of the original tales of Camelot. The minor editing errors that plagued the first book are again present, but the overall quality is there, helped by the type of sparkling humor that enlivened Hiatt’s first book: “Anyway, after what seemed like an eternity—or at least, like an algebra class”; “The tone was vaguely disquieting and more than a little sexual. Great! What was it that made me so attractive to homicidal spell casters?” Readers need not have tackled the first book to follow the storyline here, though there’s no reason to forgo the pleasure, as the series seems to be living up to its early promise.
A top-notch mix of action, adventure and romance with a generous helping of literary allusion.