Simon Snow won. But he also lost. A lot. And now he’s lying on a couch barely living and his best friend is worried about him. His boyfriend wonders what’s going on in their relationship and everyone is walking on eggshells a bit. So Penelope decides they all need a holiday. In America! What better way to brush off the cobwebs and escape their normal (but never Normal) lives than a road trip across the U.S. of A?
It starts out grand of course, these things do, and then they run into trouble. Magickal dead spots and ending up on the wrong turf; a Normal who seems to know an awful lot about the World of Mages and what they can do; vampires at a renaissance fair; and a troubling notion that not all as well with their friend Agatha. Their holiday becomes a rescue mission, but in the end, who will need rescuing?
I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as Carry On, and it’s one of those things where I can’t quite put my finger on why. There’s so much about it that’s brilliant. Baz. The friendships. The bickering. Baz. Being outside the world of magic. Did I mention Baz? He’s definitely my favourite, so much of the humour comes from him. I think part of what I struggled with is that Simon, Penny and Baz are rather snarky and defensive and moody and it can be quite a lot to take, even with the dark comedy elements thrown in. So Shepard gets thrown in I think for a bit more light-heartedness, but he’s not one of the core characters. I find Agatha hard to deal with too. I like that she’s a play on the damsel in distress trope and it’s nice to see how she grows and gets her moment, but she’s pretty dreary too. Maybe that’s how people see us British folk? Maybe they’re not wrong…
It’s still a really fun read and exploring what happens after you defeat evil is always going to be interesting. It was just missing a little something for me. I will however be back for Any Way the Wind Blows to see how it all plays out.