The main character has grown a bit since
the first book, but he’s still whiny, and is mostly an observer, while
the other characters still don’t have much depth, despite their
contributions to the story. For a novel touted as taking place in
Montreal, we don’t get to see much of the city, as most of the story
takes place back in the fantasy world. Fortunately, the climax with the
dragons was a lot of fun.
After reading the first book in this series, I
hadn’t really planned to go back. The story was okay, but the characters
didn’t have much to say, or much depth. However, the second book was
said to take place in Montreal, so I picked it up to see how they’d run
around my hometown. Unfortunately, they leave Montreal pretty early in
the book, and even when they’re in the city, they go to the Old Port
(strangely called “Old Port”, rather than the more common “the Old
Port”) a couple of times, the Beaver Lake Pavilion once, and a hostel
once. The author obviously wanted to get back to the fantasy world,
where I was hoping to get more interaction with the modern city. A
better use of a Canadian city is in
No Time to Scream, where the author
uses Toronto landmarks to great effect.
I found Raul’s escape
from Montreal to be way too easy. It didn’t take any work at all, that
we see. The city was only used as a novelty.
The main character
goes from angry and monotonous in the first book, to observer and
thinker in this one, which is an improvement. Even so, he whines all
throughout, which was annoying. I couldn’t wait to see the end of his
rift with Cassie. The argument felt fake enough, and is reminiscent of
the way such things are depicted on TV or in the movies, where one
person decides what is best for both of them. When Cassie finally
initiates a discussion, Jeff finds that he does resent her for being
captured, such that he bargained away his imagination to get her back.
His whiny soul-searching shows him that he would do the same again, but
it still takes a long time for him to realize that he loves Cassie
regardless of what it cost him. Finally, when they discover that they
can live with the mistakes Jeff has made, they make up and make love. It
was the most tender part of the entire book. There are no erotic
details, just the tender feelings, which made it better. However, given
that the author uses enough coarse language that it shouldn’t be
marketed to young readers, maybe she should have put some eroticism in,
just to add some spice to the book.
The novel itself was less
underwhelming than the first book, which isn’t high praise. It offers a
lot more in terms of the world around it, while at the same time keeping
the story within the local characters. We get to meet the queen, and the
princess, who ends up being married to Jayden in a Vegas-style ceremony
years ago, as well as a few men in the queen’s guard. It’s made so that
we are not to like the queen’s first minister -he seems suspicious, and
the way the characters see him is always in a poor, skulking way. But he
ends up being faithful, and so does the man he sends with them to
Feldall castle. I think that part of the book was well made.
Then we get Ven, sister to the poor soldier who held Jeff in a cell
while Raul went away to conquer the world in the last book. I never
really got to like her, though she was tough on the exterior and soft
inside when Jeff showed her any kind of compassion. When she was nearly
killed in prison, all the characters immediately “knew” that the
minister’s man was the one behind the attack, but it should be obvious
to most readers that it was the guards, one of whom Cassie was flirting
with, who were involved. Apparently they are part of an anti-monarchy
movement. The other thing that felt natural, and occurred to me earlier
in the novel, was that Ven would come to “our world” with Jeff and
Cassie (and seeing Ven in the café was pretty funny at the end).
The entire time at Feldall castle was one of people panicking and not
doing much useful. I was surprised when Jayden and Jasmine went off to
battle, leaving Jeff and the others behind -because it seems so logical
to do so. But it can only last so long, because otherwise the story gets
boring. When Brady wakes up from his dreaming contact with the dragon,
he heads straight to the battle. Just so that the main characters can be
there to see what’s going on, Maggie, Jeff, Cassie and the others make
their way up the mountain to the enraged battle.
That may be the
biggest difficulty in the series. The characters, especially Jeff, are
only around for the ride. He gets to see things happen, but most of it
is beyond the control of even the characters who are doing things. They
have very little effect, and their efforts could be replaced in most
cases by random characters.
The climax comes when Raul finally
transforms himself into a dragon, and Brady calls the Andvell dragon
there, where they face off. Though grievously injured, the dragon beats
Raul and apparently kills him. It was well-written, and quite engaging.
Raul is able to transform because he’s stealing the magic from the
rest of the world. Maggie is affected, and can’t project magic while she
protects herself (so can’t send Jeff and Cassie home). Brady is
unexpectedly affected, and nearly dies between that and his link with
the dragon. He’s the closest character who has any effect on what
happens in this book
The story seems finished by the end of this
book, but there is a mystery power in the last chapter that affects
Jeff, Cassie and Ven, which indicates that something was left
unfinished. I’ll complete the trilogy, only to see what it was. But so
far, the series has left me very neutral.