Series: A Strange Place in Time, #2
Author: Alyx Shaw
Genre: High Fantasy/Edgy Young Adult
Length: Novella (131 Pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press (2nd edition, January 2014)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3~3.5Hearts
Blurb:The White Palace has risen, and now John Arrowsmith, his thief lover Infamous, and the rest of the gang from A Strange Place in Time must defeat a growing conspiracy and an ancient adversary. As John learns to use his own powers as Court Seer, he and the Court learn of a plot that their old enemy, SkullDigger, is concocting to finally defeat them.
With allies among John’s own Earth-bound family, and many others along the way, SkullDigger mounts attack after attack, which test John and his friends to the limit of their abilities. Will John and his friends, who include a pet duck, be able to fend off the forces that conspire against them?
Review: This book is the second part of a Trilogy that ought to be read in order.
The second book in the A Strange Place in Time series is, if not as good as the first, certainly a captivating one as well. It picks up right where the first stopped and manages to take you once again into the Tolkein-like world of Dargoth and the adventures Arrowsmith and his friends get caught up to.
Now in this installment I’m afraid I got a minor dissatisfaction right from the start. There is a distinctive change on Arrowsmith’s personality and mannerisms from book one. As we read their Arrowsmith, despite being brought up by white trash, he still had some innate elegance in him, a gentleness that couldn’t be explained, and his manners were not as crude as in this installment. For a while there, I was thinking that our character suffered a huge change from the moment he Recalled and that simply didn’t make any sense. I still think this is one big fault in the writing of this second installment.
However, the story made up for it big time. The White Palace has finally risen and now every member of the Court has to get there and try to figure out why. The enemy is real yet still a mystery with too many things happening to divert eyes from the main danger. Outward war is not what our characters deal with, rather schemes made in the dark, past enemies forming alliances to strike in different directions, and people long thought dead come forth from the shadows to shatter the false safety.
We also have a chance to meet The Nine members of the Court better. We get to see their pasts, how they came to be, and – personally – I was surprised by many of them. Misty was perhaps the biggest surprise of them all. I had not figured what exactly was his position in Court, so when I found out it safe to say I was left with my jaw hanging there for a while. His story from start to finish was exciting, his love was awe-inspiring, and yet again, I wish for more length in this book in order to have a proper development and give us the chance to process the multitude of information.
Monshika finally made sense and I must say he managed to become dear and charming in his way. Arrowsmith finally took the role I was expecting him to, but I fear the Seer (again) was not given as much time. Now, the character that I felt was the most fascinating of them all was Lord Sly. How very intriguing and how very unexploited he was. Seriously, I didn’t mind him being just another character in the first book, but here his talents were completely wasted. The final member and the most mystical one to join the party was Blue the Bard. We were wondering about him throughout the first and this second installment and we only got to meet him and his story right at the end. I pointed out that this author has a thing with cliffhangers (which I absolutely detest) and yes, he did it again along with a huge load of new intel. I literally screamed “I hate this book” when it abruptly ended, if it were a printed copy you can very well imagine me throwing it across the room and barely holding myself from tearing it apart. Yes, I’m prone to drama when I’m left hanging.
Overall, though, the book met my expectations. It had adventure and love, blood and death as well and I’m always a happy camper when schemes and plots manage to cause chaos. The anticipation for the third one on my part is quite great, so despite my loathing the wait, I feel the author managed to literally entrap me in this trilogy. It was addictive, it was highly enjoyable, and it’s definitely recommended for those who love High Fantasy.