Two surpassingly magical cousins are continually pushed into action during the European revolutions of the 19th century.
How could Anna have naïvely thought that she would destroy classism, racism, and imperialism simply because she had destroyed the magical Binding that reserved spellcasting for the nobility and imprisoned the magical praetherians? Alternating sections reveal the rising chaos that resulted from her actions in Blood Rose Rebellion (2017) from dual perspectives. Anna feels trapped in Vienna both by class and gender expectations and by the demands of the freed magical creatures. Mátyás, Anna’s cousin who was killed when Anna destroyed the Binding, has been reborn to a responsibility he desperately seeks to avoid. Both are appalled by the treatment of praetherians, who, newly freed, are being enslaved, murdered, and forced to wear identifying marks. Anna vows to speak up on their behalf, but as a young woman, her word carries little weight. Mátyás chooses banditry over leadership, but his kindness nevertheless brings more and more praetherians to join his gang. Both protagonists have revolutionary urgings, although their anti-imperialistic nationalism seems awfully selective, an unreconciled contradiction that could possibly be resolved in Book 3. Anna and Mátyás, both white, are exceptionally magical, with phenomenal cosmic powers that everyone wants to exploit, from the ancient Hungarian gods to the Hapsburg Archduchess Sophie. This all boosts expectations of series readers for a conclusion they may worry it cannot meet.
A sequel that serviceably does its middle-volume job; it won’t attract new readers but should please fans of Book 1. (author’s note, character guide, glossary) (Fantasy. 13-15)