Sequel to Dreams and Shadows (2013), an urban fantasy following the career of young Austin, Texas, wizard Colby Stevens.
As a young boy, Colby met Yashar the djinni and obtained the usual three wishes; Yashar didn't tell him that all the wishes he grants come to bad ends due to a curse. Colby asked Yashar to make him a wizard, and now he's the most powerful wizard in the world, though he earns a scolding from the beautiful Austin, embodiment of the city, for infringing on her prerogatives. Then comes bad news: A dark presence in Australia’s Outback, calling herself the Queen of the Dark Things, has arisen and must be stopped. As we learn in extensive flashbacks, Colby spent time in the Outback learning wizardry from the Clever Man, so has reason to suspect the queen is Kaycee Looes, descendant of mutineers whose evil ghosts tricked her into doing their bidding. And, he discovers, this is all tied up with the Clever Man’s plotting and a small legion of demons so forbidding that even Colby can’t challenge them directly. So Colby must dicker with the five most powerful demons and somehow outwit them, with the price of failure too horrible to contemplate. Once again, the backdrop is exceptionally well-developed, even if early events bear little relation to the developments in Australia. Colby’s exacting bargaining with the demons is by far the high point of a meandering plot that sometimes grips but otherwise tends toward complication as an end in itself.
Highly impressive while not always fully engaging, though fans of the first book won’t be disappointed.