Muddled plotting continues to clog the wheels of this routine quest-fantasy sequel to The Rock of Ivanore (2012).
A bloody prophetic vision not only signals developing magical powers, but spurs young mage-in-training Marcus to travel to the island city of Dokur. From there, it’s on to remote Voltana, where he receives shocking news about his long-lost mother, Ivanore, and (vaguely described) proof that Dokur’s Chancellor Prost is a traitor. Enter a new ally, a gryphon called the “Rok,” who flies Marcus back just in time to watch Prost escape after gloating confessions to various crimes. Marcus and his felinoid father, Jayson, then decide to take a ship for the mainland in hopes of retracing Ivanore’s journey. In the midst of all this travel, the author unveils two ancient secret societies, a love interest for Marcus (she is good with a sling as well as having better social skills and “feminine” table manners) and, confusingly, a much-sought-after Rock of Ivanore that was a person in the opener but is here a crystal medallion. Even readers willing to go with this murky flow will struggle with the narrative’s pinballing changes in point of view as well as its distracting tendency to break up single scenes into three- to five-page chapters.
A middle-volume mishmash of conveniently timed arrivals and rescues, arbitrary or telegraphed plot twists, and trite fantasy tropes. (Fantasy. 10-12)