A fantastic sequel to Hard Magic. I just can’t get over how fun these books are! As action packed as the first, this one includes a phone call from Hell, giant demon battles, and the most resourceful accountant you’ve ever met.
The Big threat introduced towards the end of the Hard Magic continues to build suspense subtly, but in Spellbound our heroes are forced to deal with more immediate dangers. A magical assassination attempt on President Franklin Roosevelt is blamed on the Grimnoir society, and the disbanded group races to discover who framed them. As fear of Actives grow, the government is looking for just such a scapegoat to pass the Active Registration Act, where anyone with any magical power must submit themselves to the people who fear them the most.
Heavy Jake Sullivan and Traveler Faye Vierra continue as the coolest and most bad-ass protagonists, with several additions to the crew, including former Imperium Toru Tokugowa. And the bad guy is so wonderfully insane – you’ll love to be disgusted by him. The world-building is sharp, and the alternate history, while still intriguing, has taken a backseat in novelty.
I’ll admit the public hate and politics against magical persons is overwhelmingly similar to the X-Men universe, but it’s handled so well that I didn’t care. The world is different enough, and real enough, that this universe stands on its own.
I’m already excited for the third and final Hugo nominated installment. Recommended for all fantasy fans ready for a good pulpy time!
“It said a lot about the company she kept, that his wearing a machine gun at breakfast didn’t even strike her as odd.”