The alternate-history thrill ride continues in this sequel to Ink, Iron, and Glass (2018).
It’s been one month since Leo’s betrayal, when he stole the editbook and defected to his father’s cause. Fierce, trouser-sporting, revolver-toting, polymathic pazzerellone Elsa has been trying to find a way to reclaim the book, created by her mother and designed to protect Elsa’s scribed world of Veldana from European threats. However, it also has the power to edit the real world, making it the most powerful object in existence. Leo’s tyrannical father, to whom the ends justify the horrific means, will do anything to unify the four states of Italy, and the editbook will help him do just that. Elsa must convince Leo’s father that she wants to join his revolution. The author is a master of character development. The third-person narration, which creates spot-on dramatic irony, alternates between several characters, each with their own struggles. Feelings of guilt, challenges to their personal belief systems, shifting loyalties, and navigation of worlds on the brink of change are complicated but never feel contrived or convoluted. Leo’s foster sister, Porzia, is especially compelling, questioning the future she’s taken for granted as a member of the privileged class and steward of her family’s legacy. People of Veldana, Elsa included, have brown skin, as does alchemy pazzerellone Faraz (also cued as Muslim); assume whiteness for others.
Action and adventure with a fearless heroine at the helm. (Fantasy. 12-adult)