Moriarty’s latest draws this world and Cello ever closer.
Picking up just after the revelations that ended A Corner of White (2013) and ratcheting the stakes up even higher, this middle volume moves from a balance between Madeleine, in our world, and Elliot, in Cello (which is kind of fairyland, but stranger and more modern), to a tighter focus on Elliot and Cello’s political situation. Elliot has teamed up with the seemingly airheaded but actually ruthless Princess Ko and the Royal Youth Alliance in search of the abducted royal family, who have all been spirited away to this world. Meanwhile, the search for Elliot’s missing father has been taken over by a pair of agents, now that it appears Abel really was a Loyalist abducted by Hostiles; in this world, Madeleine continues learning strange facts that seem to have bearing on Cello. This is madcap, whimsical, smart and even heartbreaking, but Moriarty never drops the dozens of balls in the air. By turns coming-of-age and wild adventure (the Lake of Spells and the Turquoise Rain in Jagged Edge stand out), this volume complicates the characters, expands the worldbuilding and sets things up for a grand finish in the trilogy closer.
Not for the impatient or new reader, but otherwise even better than the first. (Fantasy. 12 & up)