Cannon Ball Passport: Friend recommended!
Tl;dr I think I’ll read the next in this series but I wasn’t as keen on this outing as I was with the first book, Ninth House. I’m glad that when I originally tried reading this, and lost the loan before starting through a mistake of airplane mode, that I didn’t go out and spend money buying a copy–although Bardugo’s defense of the genre does make me want to capitalism in her direction.
We pick up with Galaxy “Alex” Stern, now in ‘charge’ of Lethe House, one of the nine magical houses that masquerade as secret societies on the campus of Yale. Except that Lethe is the buzzkill one, the one that you have to call to make sure that your magic doesn’t leak out and harm anyone (other than the ones you want to harm). Except that Darlington, the prototypical Lethe House member, is now a demon or in hell (or something, that’s the main mystery of the book).
Look, I’m very behind in my reviews so I cannot quite remember all the various whys and wherefores that I felt vis-à-vis this book. I do remember that I very much liked anytime we went back to the bread and butter of the first book (i.e., watching wealthy Yale people do vaguely distasteful Rich People things, like Succession but with Magic and in the Ivy League). I want to see more of Alex doing Lethe magic and overseeing house rituals that beggar disbelief. And alongside, if she wants to rescue Darlington, that’s chill too.
One thing which Bardugo did which I think is pretty rad is removing that element of “safety”—aka, you always knew that when Harry got to Dumbledore’s office or when we were with the Mufala and Mary or when the elves were in charge that nothing was going to go wrong right then. Again, cannot remember in detail but I do recall it not feeling like Lethe was quite the safe harbor that it used to be