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on July 20, 2014 :
I appreciate the care that's put into the magical world of this book, but I did not like it as much as Book 1. The hero, Jon, is perhaps even more beholden this time around to generic conventions of Super Special Teenage Boy Hero, and since almost the entire book takes place in Yden with the exception of but a few scenes (e.g. the high school dance), Jon is made even more special by Yden standards, not even as a Young Wizard on Earth/Yrth.
There were things that I particularly liked in Book 1 that were actually full-on negated here. First off, Jon's Yrth love-interest Brett was cool precisely because she was a human girl who still managed to be strong and get herself through tough magical situations. Here, without big spoilers, it turns out that her parentage is more complicated than we suspected. I also liked that Book 1 presented Brett as Jon's only love interest and he merely became friends with Yden-born warrior princess Kira. Here, not only is there a love triangle shoehorned in, but even Kira turns out to have additional powers. So does Jon's little sister, Sela (who, I should mention, talks like a girl far older than her stated age).
Book 1 was a solid fantasy novel, if a little slow and cardboard at times. Book 2 is much slower and even more cardboard. I expected the final battle -- this time against a bad wizard much less intimidating than the epic Evil Lord of Book 1 -- to be more climactic, but even there I was disappointed. Jon's fight with Guinn was fine in itself, but we only get to see other parts of the battle, other characters' struggles, via post-battle descriptions of what happened. We hear about who got injured and how, but we don't feel it with any sense of immediacy.
I don't feel like I totally wasted my time reading this -- it WAS good to see these characters again, meet a few news ones, and revisit Yden -- but I was overall disappointed. I will probably not read Book 3.
(reviewed long after purchase)