The romance and the action keep zooming along in this first sequel to Putney’s Dark Mirror (2011).
Although all the elements of romance fiction remain, this sequel focuses more strongly on action than did the series opener. Most of the characters are magically inclined sons and daughters of an 1803-4 English aristocracy that aggressively excludes magic. Students at the aptly named Lackland Academy, they’re supposed to overcome their magical tendencies, but instead they secretly work together to learn magery and to protect Britain. Lady Victoria, known as “Tory,” remains the main character, but this time Putney often shifts focus to Lady Cynthia, Tory’s arrogant, snobbish roommate, and her reluctant romance with Jack, a local, low-born weather mage. Tory’s romance with a Duke’s handsome son, Allarde, runs into trouble, but love must wait for their next time-travel outing—behind enemy lines in World War II. There, they try to rescue a Jewish scientist and his family from the Nazis. Everything, of course, goes awry, but the action and the magic keep flowing to keep readers engaged and suspense high. The author nicely varies both characters and magic, and the story moves at a good pace.The suspenseful story combined with paranormal romance works well, with the exciting history lesson as an added bonus; one of the better efforts in this overstuffed genre. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)