Forces of light and darkness clash in this urban-fantasy sequel to The Girl at Midnight (2015).
Already filled with previous vessels’ memories, Echo struggles with her new roles as host to the firebird and fugitive or figurehead in a long-lasting supernatural war between the birdlike Avicen and dragonlike Drakharin. The white girl has survived on the fringes of New York City’s magical society as a thief and runaway, but now she must lead a ragtag crew on a peripatetic quest to understand both the firebird’s and the feud’s origins and to battle the opposing dark force she inadvertently released, the kuçedra. As the shadows attack, infect, and trigger disasters, Echo also finds an enemy in Drakharin usurper Tanith, sweetheart Caius’ power-mad twin. Quick to quip, pop-culture savvy, and prone to lexicographical musings—a hazard of living in a library—Echo is a grudging heroine, fearful of endangering her friends and reluctant to assume political power, but typical Chosen One agonizing and an obligatory love triangle diminish her distinctive humor. With minimal plot progress and a scattered, misty mythology, personal journeys and romances—heterosexual, homosexual, and interspecies—take precedence over worldbuilding. Echo and her fellow narrators accomplish little but anguish a lot, enduring action sequences with brief respite in tender (if melodramatic) moments.
Ripe with sarcasm and complicated relationships, an action- and angst-packed installment reminiscent of Buffy and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. (Urban fantasy. 14 & up)