We are still in the midst of a pandemic, so I think we all need some fun, light-hearted reads to keeps spirits high. I figured that the second installment in the Tarot Academy books would be that fun read. It became difficult to finish this book though on account that my eyes were constantly rolled to the back of my head.
Where the first book in this series created an interesting and well-explained magical system that was balanced well with the romance parts of the story, this book throws it all out the window. The plot is barely advanced. Next to no magic is worked. We are constantly told of things happening rather than shown. And to top it all off, the protagonist Stevie becomes the ultimate Mary Sue.
For those unfamiliar, a Mary Sue is a female character that is so perfect in every way that the character becomes unbelievable, even in a fantasy setting. In the first book, we learn the following about Stevie: she is spirit-blessed (a rare aptitude for all elemental magicks), she is an innate empath, she has the ability to heal herself rapidly from any wound, she can dreamcast (a rare skill in which the magician casts another person into a dream world), she’s naturally gifted at magick despite having no training, she’s charming, she’s charismatic, she’s physically fit, and she’s attractive. That’s already a lot. In the second installment, we also learn that Stevie can travel to dream realms (a rare skill) and she can bring physical objects between the realms (an even rarer skill). We are also told that every single manifestation of the Major Arcana cards has a light and a dark side. Every single one except for the Star. The Star is pure. The Star is light. The Star is unwavering hope. Guess which Major Arcana card Stevie is the manifestation of. Ding, ding, ding! You got it! She’s the Star… When the protagonist can seemingly do anything and never get anything wrong long term, everything seems sort of moot. Nothing matters. There are no stakes.
To top it all off, the romance and sexuality of this book is extremely lacking compared to the first. In the first novel, we got at least three physical moments of sex with a couple of fantasies thrown in for good measure. This book had one? I think. And I can’t even remember it all that well. The series is sold as a romance with “red-hot mages” but all we get is an infatuation with some lukewarm magicians.
I won’t be finishing the series after this.
BINGO – PANDEMIC