Magic-users affiliated with the animals of the Chinese zodiac face threats from two universes in this sequel to Thirteen Orphans (2008).
When the first emperor of China ordered the destruction of texts and the deaths of hundreds of scholars, most of that country’s magic split off into another universe, the Lands Born of Smoke and Sacrifice. One hundred years ago, 12 imperial advisors and the child-emperor returned to our universe, taking a substantial portion of that magic with them; now, warring factions of the Lands want it back. As the descendants of the original 13 prepare to bring the battle to the Lands to forestall an invasion, ruthless magic-users from our world also scheme to add the Thirteen Orphans’ magic to their own. Meanwhile, college freshman Brenda Morris, heir to the Rat, must come to terms with the powers of both her Chinese and Celtic heritage, and confront her attraction to her former enemy, the exiled Tiger warrior Flying Claw. Attempting to subvert their potential romance is another exile from the Lands, Honey Dream the Snake, who may yet betray them all. Lindskold’s touch is sure, her characterizations complex, her descriptions of magical lands rich and intriguing.
Reasonably compelling, though the plot isn’t particularly novel.