The highlight of this MG Contemporary Fantasy is Call's ongoing evaluation of his own behavior & choices.
Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.
It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.
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Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.
This is Book #2 of "The Magisterium" series. Book #3, The Bronze Key, is scheduled to be published on 8/30/16.
**This review contains spoilers for the previous book(s).**
The Harry Potter similarities & differences were both a bit stronger in this one. I especially felt like the whole issue of Elementals being used as domestic servants (ala house elves) was completely unnecessary. The characters remain unique though. But I am still hoping for more development on the everyone besides Call.
Callum Hunt (Call): In the previous book, Call was told that he is "The Enemy of Death" who placed his own spirit inside the (stolen) body of the infant Callum Hunt. He spends this whole book dealing with this news.
"He'd started making a list in his head - any evidence of him being an Evil Overlord went into one column and any evidence against it went into another. He'd taken to referring to the list before making any and all decisions. Would an Evil Overlord drink the last cup of coffee in the pot? Which book would an Evil Overlord take out from the library? Was dressing in all black a definite Evil Overlord move, or a legitimate choice on laundry day?"
This is fun, but it is also gives great depth to such a young character. And despite this close evaluation of his own behavior, he still occasionally makes selfish decisions, which adds some realism.
We learn more about the social and administrative structure of the magic world. I continue to be disturbed by their failure to do more to protect their children.
We also learn more about what The Enemy went through and what he did; and get to meet some chaos-ridden people.
The beginning was well done, establishing backstory & character growth. Once Call left home though, I found the parts before he got back to school to be less interesting.
The story itself takes place over a fairly short period of time (rather than a whole school year). And the ending resolved the issue of the Copper Gauntlet, but left the larger issues unresolved.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- Havoc remains a favorite. I like that he is but isn't more than a wolf.
- When Jasper (Call's sort of nemesis) is called out for certain behavior and Call is forced to recognize that he does something similar.
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: The crush subplot. / The gruesome stuff with severed heads.
Character voices differentiated = Yes / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Yes / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual
There was a small error (which may have come from the original) in which he said "Call & Tamara" when it should have been Aaron & Tamara.
Talk to Me (pretty please)
- Can you recommend any SF/F with deep thinking characters?
- How much development do you prefer in side characters?
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