An evil wizard bent on seizing the clockwork head that holds the secret to all the world’s magic takes up the chase again in this middle volume.
Three years of lying low in the wake of the opener’s (Brightworking, 2011) fiery climax come to a sudden end for young Mikal and Lyra when their nemesis, Master Harlano, tracks them down in a traveling show. Narrowly escaping with their chatty metal charge, Orichalkon, the fugitives strike out for the city of Farhaven in hopes of finding wizardly help (why they hadn’t done this earlier goes unexplained). Along the way, they find themselves caught up in a conflict between loggers and woods-loving fey folk, temporarily lose Orichalkon in a raging river and acquire an eerie but strong ally in Killeen, a newly reformed werewolf. Internal logic isn’t the author’s highest priority, but he does shepherd his young characters through a quick succession of dangerous situations and (as the two have conflicting personalities) entertaining quarrels. The end leaves Harlano triumphantly in possession of Orichalkon and Killeen too, with Mikal and Lyra in hot pursuit. Stay tuned.
A predictable but not entirely earnest chase, with a page count that may draw readers wearied or intimidated by the ongoing flood of doorstopper epics. (Fantasy. 9-11)