Ballatine Books, NY,NY 2010
I must confess that the reason I picked up this sequel to The Magicians and Mrs. Quent is that I wanted a book I would be able to put down. I was pleased to find that the second book is better written than the first.
Mr. Garrit finds a friend among the Siltheri, the illusionists. The love scene between him and Dercy is quite tender and sweet. Mrs. Quent finds a journal of her fathers and bittersweet we find that he made the same errors in judgment that Mrs. Quent has made. As she becomes Lady Quent and is swept up by high society we are swept up along with her.
It is Rafferdy the magician who holds the story together through the two books. He is caught up between his habit of being useless and entertaining and finding himself in positions of authority. He must learn the truth of the adage that he who does nothing does the most harm. Thankfully his curiosity feeds our own as he explores the occult, the hidden truths, of this world.
As we learn a bit about the history of this world through Mrs. Quent’s father’s journal and from Mr. Rafferdy’s father we better understand some of the odd social stylings. From the illusionists and from the still frustrating astronomical references we get hints about the threat that is truly the center of the story. This also helps in appreciating the magical system. We also get to explore the magical house as it is renovated for the family to move back in.
The secondary characters are still rather two dimensional. It’s very difficult to care about the coming out party of Mrs. Quent’s sisters although this sets the scene for a great deal of important action. I continue to be intrigued by the wildwood and Mrs. Quent’s relationship to the trees. This is much more pronounced in this book.
It’s encouraging to find the author improving her skill as she continues to write. There is a third book and maybe I’ll get to it before the year is out. It’s not a compelling tale but it’s a nice escape. Some of that I’m sure is still the allusion to the English authors mentioned in my review of the first book in the series The Magicians and Mrs. Quent