CBR15PASSPORT (Stamp #4: Books from different countries. Do international waters count? If not, written by an Australian.)
This is the second book of the Last Binding Series. If you haven’t read it yet, by all means read the first in the series that I reviewed here: A Marvellous Light. It’s a surprisingly fresh take on the well-worn “magic is real” carpet set in the early 1900s. Spoilers abound if you haven’t read the first book.
In the aftermath of Robyn and Edwin’s discovery that snobby magical aristocrats are conspiring to horde all magical goodness for themselves, Robyn sends his sister, Maud, to America. Three magical objects were created to prevent any magician from holding too much power, and the protector of one of the objects, Mrs. Navenby, needs to be found. For the first time in her life, Maud is given freedom and purpose and she is determined not to let her brother down. Maud finds the seemingly cranky spinster and acts as her companion on their return voyage to England. All goes according to plan until Mrs. Navenby turns up dead in her cabin.
With no powers of her own, Maud must protect the future of magic. She enlists the help of a nosy reporter, a seemingly indifferent former magician, and an alluring actress with some magical tricks up her sleeve. Besieged by face-shifting bad guys, a ghost, a confusing burgeoning romance, and a menagerie of exotic animals, Maud and her group must hunt down the murderer and recover the magical object.
This second installment was a fun murder mystery romp with a side of saucy queer romance but, for some reason, I didn’t fall into it as easily as I did the first book. It suffers a little from the middle book in a trilogy syndrome. While it was a story in and of itself, it felt more like a setup for the final showdown. I think that I missed Robin and Edwin a bit and can’t wait until everyone gets into the room together and deals with all of the magical shenanigans en masse.