A former thief hopes to stop an ancient god from destroying the world.
In Julia Vanishes (2016), the eponymous heroine kidnapped a toddler for a wealthy client and then, guilt-ridden, turned around and stole him back. Baby Theo’s still not safe, though; he’s a pawn in an ancient magical conflict. Julia and her chosen family now accompany Theo’s protectors (who have not forgiven Julia for her part in his original kidnapping) on a quest to separate the biracial, brown-skinned child from the powerful magic that endangers his life. From Frayne, a France-analogue where witchcraft is punished by drowning, they travel across the world to Yongguo, a China-like country where witchcraft is legal and controlled by the state. Julia, a light-skinned Fraynish girl, finds Yongguo appealing despite the devastating absence of coffee. There is Jun, a devilishly attractive local boy; there’s the happiness of Julia’s disabled brother, Dek, in a country that has no taboos around his missing eye and withered leg; there’s the lack of witch drowning. But Julia worries that despite her best efforts, she can’t protect her beloved Theo. Worse, Julia’s mysterious ability to vanish, previously used only to steal and spy, seems tied to something much worse—perhaps even hell itself. Fans of the first book will be well-satisfied with this outing, packed with primordial mysteries, convoluted twists, international politics, romance, and friendships aplenty—and a high body count.
This sequel’s every bit as thrilling as Book 1. (Fantasy. 13-17)