Here’s the problem. I Love CS Friedman. One of my all time favorite science fiction and dark fantasy writers. Not dark fantasy as in sparkly vampires, love triangles, or secret desires. Dark fantasy about demons that eat children, and magicians that use blood magic. And she does fantastic global politicking bad guys who deal in shades of grey.
This is the second in a series that has elements of “when Darkness Falls” and a bit of a new trend in alternate worlds and alternate reality. I liked book one a lot. It had action, and story progression. This story is well written, but the story treads water. I do not like the trend of dragging out a story to enhance book sales, but I guess as long as publishers are willing to sell books and we keep buying them it will be a tend that doesn’t go away soon.
We start back on our Earth (Terra Colonna, one moon, iPod, kindle, tech obsessed) and our cast of characters gets a little trimming. Jessica needs to fix her Mom and the only ones who can are Flesh carvers (their gift is molding bodies). So back to Morgana and her web of Seers on Virginia Prime (magic using, guilds and magic tech that doesn’t value untalented people.) But the only other person she takes is a newly found Rita still sporting a fantastic collection of bruises from the Gate explosion.
The action hops and stutters from dream to reality and the only thread that connects them is Jessica’s dreaming. I love that this is not a love triangle teen fiction. I love that the politics is trademark Friedman with betrayals, layers, and games…in other words smart and not basic. What I didn’t like is that I felt the book felt more like a short novella, or several chapters rather than a complete novel. Will I read the next one? Yes. If you liked book one, definitely read this, but maybe wait until book three comes out so the set up of this story can pan out in the next.
For this age range, not much. There is graphic torture death of a secondary character. And some nasty descriptions of death of animals and other kids. However, this is a teen fiction and not as bad as many books out there.