Deep philosophical questions about identity and responsibility hide in the heart of this second volume of magical conmen and gangsters. Engaging, unreliable Cassel Sharpe is haunted by his past. His family has always existed within the shadow and power of the Zacharov crime family, and even with their official connections severed, the links remain. Now Cassel's oldest brother has been killed, and his emotionally unstable mother is out of prison and up to her old tricks. Possibly worst of all, Lila Zacharov—best friend, victim, conspirator and cursed to love Cassel—has enrolled in his school. Despite the cons and adventures (and there are plenty), this is really about family and destiny. Cassel was born into a crime family, he lives in a world where his innate magical talent makes him a lawbreaker even if he never does anything wrong and the Feds breathing down his neck mean that he has to face up to the murders he committed although he doesn't remember them. But Cassel also wants to do the right thing, and the struggle between his nature and his nurture truly propels the plot. The plot thickens, and the set up for book three is a zinger, but familiarity with the first book, White Cat (2010), is crucial. Dark, disturbing fare, crafted by a master; readers of the trilogy's first will be supremely satisfied. (Crime fantasy. 14 & up) Read full book review >
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