Boarding school students prepare for war, but the enemy may already be among them in this tense teen fantasy, third in the Shadow Grail series.
Spirit White and her four equally artistically named friends are drifting apart after their victorious battle against the Wild Hunt, but Spirit suspects that the war is not yet over. Breakthrough—a game-development corporation and doomsday cabal—has infiltrated the staff and taken over the nearby town of Radial. Spirit cannot rely on her friends, as they succumb to Breakthrough’s temptations and traps, nor on magic, for she is the only student whose power has not yet manifested. Relegated to the sidelines, only Spirit makes the connections between Breakthrough’s unsubtle villainy and muddled Arthurian mythology, and between a 1970s tragedy and the rebirth of evil. Spirit just wants to cuddle with her boyfriend, Burke, pass her classes and attend a disaster-free dance, but she will have to defeat Mordred and his reincarnated followers first. Lackey and Edghill tackle teen issues and fantasy tropes with equal skill but delay the resolution until the next book, leaving readers to slog through 300 pages of ill-explained oppression.
Combat classes, propagandistic emails and the disappearance of students create a bleak read more reminiscent of The Hunger Games than Hogwarts. (Fantasy. 12-16)