In this second series installment, young Cole enters the second of five kingdoms in the otherworldly Outskirts, is exposed to a second culture and a second flavor of magic, and battles a second monster made of stolen magic as he continues the search for his fellow earthly kidnappees.
In Elloweer, Cole’s flying sword and other magical items acquired in the previous kingdom (Sky Raiders, 2014) don’t work, but gifted illusionists can create disguises and other seemings. With help from a swelling corps of allies old and new, Cole rescues captive buddy Dalton, participates in a Maze Runner–style game to help Mira rescue one of her royal sisters, and gears up to stop Morgassa, a maddened shapecrafter out to magically possess everyone in the kingdom. In a repetitive round of captures and escapes before the climax, he also runs into the slavers who snatched him and his friends from Arizona, the pigheadedly noble titular knight (who is also using borrowed magic, though he eventually returns it) and an enigmatic godlike illusionist from yet another plane of reality. Sprinkling his wordy, aimless plot with stingier-than-usual bits of banter and silliness, Mull eventually nudges his protagonists into a hard-fought victory, then sends them off to the next kingdom, captive, sister and, more than likely, monster. One can hardly wait.
A flaccid, phoned-in sequel. (Fantasy. 10-13)