Book 2 in the middle-grade Magisterium fantasy series delves deeper into its protagonist’s connection with the Enemy of Death.
Picking up where The Iron Trial (2014) left off, almost-13-year-old Callum Hunt, along with his Chaos-ridden pet wolf, Havoc, is back home from his first year at the Magisterium (a school for mages) for summer vacation. But his father is acting strangely, and Callum suspects that his father knows what Call himself had just found out (in Book 1): that he, Callum, apparently has the soul of Constantine Madden—the evil Enemy of Death. When Havoc goes missing, and Call, searching for him, discovers him chained in their basement in a cell-like room that also contains information in his father’s handwriting about the Alkahest—a powerful weapon for killing mages—he concludes that his father plans to kill him, so he and Havoc run away. Returning to the Magisterium for his second year, Call keeps both the true nature of his soul and his father’s behavior a secret, even from best friends and fellow apprentices Tamara and Aaron, afraid they will turn against him. This tightly plotted story shines with imaginative twists and settings, sparks of humor, and a rich portrayal of friendship in the face of doubt. The co-authors successfully probe the themes of good and evil even as they craft an entertainingly fast-paced read.
Both a successful addition to the middle-grade magic school genre and a satisfying sequel. (Fantasy. 9-13)