Prince Caden, future Elite Paladin of the Greater Realm, continues to try and find a way home from the Land of Shadow (aka Asheville, North Carolina), where he and the young sorceress Brynne are trapped with some of their world’s greatest villains.
Red lightning signifies the presence of powerful magic and the arrival of another infamous villain, but when Caden and Brynne arrive at the site of the spell, all they find is the dagger used to murder one of Caden’s brothers. Villains are often banished with their weapons, so in addition to worrying about the Elderdragon that acts as their principal, their evil math teacher, and the wicked lunchroom ladies, Caden and Brynne must cope with a new foe. But when the newest arrival turns out to be Jasan, Caden’s oldest and angriest brother, neither knows quite what to do. Caden is a true individual and hero. Dedicated to the Paladin Code, he is honest, noble, and brave. Thankfully Brynne and the rest of his friends are willing to be flexible: sometimes it takes a little subterfuge to battle evil. As in series opener Villain Keeper (2015), McKay juxtaposes hoary fantasy tropes against 21st-century reality with verve.
A sometimes-amusing, sometimes-thrilling, and always entertaining sequel that hints that math might be used for evil and the mystery lunch might pack a deadly surprise. (Fantasy. 8-12)