Wren Matthews thought she had destroyed the evil Boggen, but he’s back—and now, on Nod, he’s experimenting with tainted stardust…on human subjects.
At the opening of this sequel to A Sliver of Stardust (2015), Wren is having trouble working her stardust. The first few pages quickly recap the fact that she is a Fiddler—one of the few people on Earth who can work magic—and, even more special, a Weather Changer. Soon the pedantic Simon, rival-turned-friend, enters the picture; he will exhibit his prime trait of nerdiness throughout the book, while the character Jack—friend-then-traitor-then-friend-again—continues to smirk and play lame pranks. Wren and friends embark on a cinematic journey that includes spaceships, steampunk-y objects and places, street urchins, catacombs, and scientific laboratories. Civil wars, plagues, Alchemists, and Magicians are thrown into the mix, along with the Outsiders, who want all magic destroyed. And who is orchestrating Wren’s frightening, lucid dreams? A page-turner for those who enjoy lots of action upon a crazy-quilt landscape; a frustration for those who enjoy details, character development, and a logical plot. Stock phrases abound, as in “Take heed,” and “Beware.” Wren feels stirred by a beautiful-eyed boy whose name, Vulcan, causes her to reference Star Trek. Eventually, Simon manages to teach everyone a surprising—make that unbelievable—lesson about tolerance and “animachines,” and Wren has another go at destroying Boggen. The cast is not notably diverse, with little indication that characters are anything other than white.
Arduous. (Fantasy. 8-12)