Third in the fantasy series (Elsewhens, 2013, etc.) about a magical theater company in a sort-of Elizabethan setting.
The theater troupe, Touchstone, consists of part elf and part wizard Cayden Silversun, the "tregetour" or playwright/director, who imbues the performance with the necessary magic; elf Mieka Windthistle, the "glisker," who uses his magic to make everything come alive; Jeska, the "masker," who plays all the parts; and Rafe, the "fettler," who controls the performance on stage. Cade’s dark secret is that he foresees possible futures, or “Elsewhens,” and has the ability to make them come true or turn them aside. In an unguarded moment, he tells Mieka; Mieka tells his witch-wife, who tells others, and now sinister forces are plotting. Rawn scatters many hints, but it’s never clear exactly what’s going on, though a rival troupe named Black Lightning seems bent on stirring up hatred among the many races in this world. Some audiences consist of only a handful of patrons, evidently emotional vampires. Elsewhere, women start to insert themselves into the hitherto all-male audiences, and some display the ability to become troupe members—developments strenuously resisted by society’s conservative elements. The mysterious Archduke Cyed Henick hatches plots in the background. Details of dress, manners and protocol abound. More problematic are the characters. The Touchstones behave like drunken frat-boy pranksters, complete with irritatingly apposite dialogue and humor. Cade’s pretentious mother supplies the nuisance factor.
Series fans will, presumably, wriggle in and keep reading, though few others will bother.