Kaufmann’s protagonist who can’t die is back for another magic-driven adventure in this New York City–based novel.
Trent doesn’t know his real name, but what he does know is that he can’t die. No matter what's done to him, he survives any assault, any attack, any violence he meets. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for those around him. The person who is physically closest to him when he’s killed takes the hit and dies in his place. It’s a trait that’s both annoying and special, depending on what side of magic one happens to be on. In his previous novel, Kaufmann introduced the rest of Trent’s gang, members of the Five-Pointed Star. This group of magic do-gooders includes Isaac, the mage, Bethany Savory, a pointy-eared woman who uses charms to cast spells, and Philip, a vampire. Together, they tackle the newest magical threats, which include the theft of the Thracian Gauntlet, the return of a powerful force that wants to kill off all earthlings and a growing magic infection that is turning those who are afflicted evil. While Trent continues his quest to discover his true identity, he and his companions also expand their search for the Codex Goetia, a book that summons demons. Meanwhile, they resolve the abductions of a number of young women from Central Park, Trent acquires a cat he doesn’t particularly want, and he meets a woman who says she knows his real identity. Kaufmann includes all the stock urban-fantasy fodder, from tongue-twisting names to vampires, but the book fails on many levels, including the tediously clever dialogue and contrived, over-the-top action scenes. Readers will quickly catch on to where the plot’s headed after following the heavy-handed clues crammed into the first part of the book.
A repetitive and unfocused setup for a third novel.