The bumbling-if-adorable heroine of Flora Segunda (2007) takes off on a less clownish adventure through a parallel North America.
Readers return to our heroine at a pivotal moment in her growth. For eight months Flora's been an obedient little cadet at the Benica Barracks Military Academy while silently chewing on the knowledge that her real mother isn't Buck Fyrdraaca, Commanding General of the Califan army. No, Flora's mother is the war criminal General Haðraaða, aka tiny Doom, aka Azota the whip: the Butcher Brakespeare herself. And she's alive. Flora performs a forbidden magical working to find her mother, but a wer-bear steals the map with Tiny Doom's location, and Flora must follow. Flora and her shapeshifting fellow traveler—Sieur Wraathmyr, half Kulani (Hawaiian) and half Varanger (Norwegian), when he's not being a bear—defeat an enchantress, befuddle pirates and overcome zombifying Birdies. Flora, both educated and tamed by her eight months in the barracks, is vastly more prepared to deal with the big bad world than in previous volumes. Though Califa and environs are every bit as wacky and flavorful as before, Flora herself is no longer so foolish a child. The result is both richer and less funny: Ridiculous mishaps have been replaced with sometimes-heartbreaking moments of personal growth (and an ancestral ghost octopus).
Flora fans will love old mysteries solved while new mysteries prep for volume four. (Fantasy. 12-15)