The Spell Saga continues with the The Tower, a book that , unlike The Train, starts to show how little or how flawed the world building is here.
While The Train’s plot and tight storylines were held to the constraints of a moving train, and the exposition was used to move forward the mystery there. Here the series arc, the characters background, even the very foundation of the nation’s rulers are highlighted and the lack of information is apparent.
Now whether this is by flaw or author’s choice I don’t know but it makes for a oddly murky, disconnected story because we keep trying to pull pieces of a puzzle together that just won’t fit.
Even the timeline seems off.
It appears to pickup weeks after the events on the train. Anton Seiber is soon to finish his Doctorate of Thaumaturgy, even though he just got there. That feels inordinately fast given his work to get there. And the high stature of the College and the students around him.
Anton is still got the highly dangerous , one of a kind, magical palimpsest that was used in making spells for the gun that never missed and knife that always killed.
Having Anton keep that never made sense but otherwise we wouldn’t have this book where he’s clearly the target of a killer who’s victims have all been young men who have resemblances to Anton.
Enter Lord Camille Lumière, the French Emperor’s spy. A man of rare talents, including that of missing a soul, he’s assigned to the murders and Anton.
Several issues should be addressed. If you haven’t read the first book (it’s a must for this), his soulless condition isn’t explained here. But it’s important arc element . His background is a mystery, is further enlarged with only the smallest of hints.
But it’s his relationship to Anton that is. They go from first attraction to full on sexual relationship here. But without the depth of partnership we saw and got to explore with them in The Train.
There’s so much narrative “traffic “ here that their partnership in investigating the crimes gets lost midway through. That’s the real heft here . The how’s, the why’s, the neat tools of thaumaturgy in investigating the murders and their minds working it out, that’s the fascination.
But it’s a criminal we could spot immediately, side characters we didn’t connect with, and more storylines added in that took us away from what I initially thought was the couple that we were focused on.
That’s a shame because there’s so many terrific ideas and themes here.
I’m definitely awaiting the next in the series The Tank. But I do wish this had lived up to the first book promise.
Still I’m recommending it. Read The Train and then The Tower before moving forward.
The Spell Saga series:
✓ The Train #1
✓ The Tower #2
◦ The Tank #3-October 25, 2022
Anton Seiber is on the cusp of finishing his Doctorate of Thaumaturgy, ready to leave university life behind and set out to make his own way in the world. His careful plans are interrupted by the arrival of Camille Lumière, the emperor’s investigator—and Anton’s lover.
Camille is in pursuit of a murderer, and needs Anton’s special talents to help track him down. Worse yet, the killer is targeting foreigners with magical abilities—men like Anton himself. If he and Camille don’t find him before he find Anton, his every plan for the future could be in jeopardy…not to mention his life.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.