Magic and mayhem return to the world’s libraries in this YA sequel.
Gia Kearns feels trapped. After Bastien Renard, a powerful young wizard and rival for Gia’s love, confines the evil wizard Conemar in an untraceable prison, Gia and her fellow Sentinels—protectors of the human realm from the dangers of the Mystik, or magic, world—are sent to small-town Connecticut to hide and train without interference. Meanwhile, Gia’s best friend, Nick D’Marco, copes with his newfound magical powers and struggles with the revelation that his birth father is Conemar himself. Together they must look for the missing magical items that could set free a monster prophesied to destroy the human and Mystik worlds. But nothing is as it seems: supposed allies plot betrayals, corruption gnaws at the roots of the Wizard Council, and villains show mercy and may be the key to turning the tide against evil. When one of the havens of the Mystiks is attacked and the council fails to come to its aid, rebellion springs up against the powers that be. Gia’s concerns for saving the two realms are frequently distracted by her heartbreak over stolen boyfriend Arik Baine, whom she suspects of being enchanted, and her conflicted attraction to Bastien. In this sequel, Gia and Nick’s quest to find hidden artifacts, following riddlelike clues, at times feels like a MacGuffin that distracts from the main plot. But Drake’s (Thief of Lies, 2016, etc.) continued love affair with libraries, through Gia’s appreciation for their beauty and architecture, both grounds the worldbuilding and fills real libraries with a sense of potential wonder. With magical trials, political uprisings, strange beasts, monster-filled pocket dimensions, prophecies, and high school, the novel almost feels overstuffed. But despite all the elements and at times an overly large cast, the author manages to bring all the pieces together in a cliffhanger conclusion that should have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.
A fantasy that embraces its love-triangle motif and deftly manages to create a believably fragile political system at risk of collapse—unless the heroine can save it.