Revelations abound in this third volume of Duff’s (Off Beat, 2017, etc.) Weir Chronicles as erstwhile magician Ian Black learns that he may be just a pawn in someone else’s game.
Earth is in grave danger, as evil Duach leader Aeros is draining its core, causing worldwide storms and earthquakes. In his role as Pur Heir, Ian must fight these forces by drawing on his own supernatural connection to the Earth. A summons lures him to Africa, where an experiment with lightning supercharges his own “core”—the source of his powers. Then Aeros’ son Jaered, the Duach Heir, shoots him with a dart that causes his core to overheat, leaving him close to death. His only chance at survival is Rayne, the woman he loves but is unable to touch due to her unique power-draining abilities. She’s already moved out of Ian’s mansion, despairing of their relationship ever succeeding, but his friends persuade her to come back and attempt to drain his core completely, despite significant risks. Later, she travels to Thrae, the Weir’s home dimension, and is shocked to learn of the existence of another Heir from Ian’s mother, Gwynn, among other news. She and her sisters—Jaered’s mother, Sophenna, and rebel leader Eve—hatched a plan long ago to “bring down two tyrants and set our worlds back on an evolutionary track that should never have been tampered with.” Duff definitely hits her stride in this book, as several deep secrets come to light. A change of scenery to Thrae proves to be especially effective, giving the reader further insight into the Weir’s history and way of life. As Ian and Rayne’s romance takes a back seat, Rayne’s decision to attempt to heal him becomes a crucial turning point for them both. The new setting and plot developments are both surprising and compelling, and they bring fresh life to a series that had begun to run low on conflict. At the end, Duff leaves plenty of questions that readers will want to see answered in subsequent books.
The plot thickens and danger mounts in the series’ best installment thus far.