A DEADLY CULT. AN UNBREAKABLE CURSE. THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: LEARN TO KILL . . . OR DIE.
Luck has never been on Gavyn Donatti’s side. Anyone else with magic abilities inherited from a distant genie relative would have it made, but not Donatti, descendant of a cranky, shape-shifting genie named Ian. The prince of a murdered kingdom, consumed with revenge and driven by an unbreakable curse, Ian is determined to hunt down and destroy every last one of his enemies in the power-hungry snake clan—at any cost, including his life. Or Donatti’s.
Obsessed by his own rage, Ian has never really taught Donatti how to use his abilities. So when a powerful cult of magic-users captures Ian’s wife, the princess Akila, and then Ian himself, Donatti is left alone to take on dozens of half-djinn and their mysterious leader with designs on world domination.
Facing an impossible mission, Donatti is forced to turn to an enemy for help—one who claims to know how to unlock his true potential. Trusting a snake might be the last mistake Donatti ever makes—but if he doesn’t learn to wield the power inside him, everyone will pay the ultimate price.
Ian and Gavyn are still trying to hunt down and kill the rest of the Morai Snake Clan and for Ian it has become an obsession. An unsettling encounter in a mountain cave results in a dying Morai trying to give Gavyn a warning about 'master's madness' and he starts to wonder if they are actually doing the right thing. Even Gavyn's training takes a back seat to the mission so when Akila and then Ian are taken by the Morai, Gavyn has to learn how to control his own powers and find a way to rescue his friends.
I was a big fan of the first book and I found this one to be just as good or maybe even better. It was a very fast paced adventure where the characters were either in constant danger and fights, or dealing with new discoveries. It really does not have a dull moment. I also enjoyed getting a bit more of the djinn history and seeing how Akila met Ian, and the bigoted attitudes that they faced from their clans. There isn't a lot of it but what is shared adds to our understanding of the characters and their various motivations. There is still a bit of the snarky humour that worked so well in the first book to enjoy. I liked the development of Gavyn's powers and his struggle to deal with that and trying also to be a good partner and father, which he constantly struggles with.
What really makes this book is the characters. We still have the complicated relationship between Ian and Gavyn, but there is more patience and friendship between them now that they are used to working together. Ian is blinded by his hatred for the Morai and will only feel safe when they are wiped out, and with everything that has happened, you can understand his point of view. He refuses to believe that any of them could be good. Jaz and Gavyn are having some problems over his desire to keep her and Cyrus sheltered from the danger that Ian has dumped them all in while she believes that she is capable of helping. What makes it worse for her is that Ian and Akila are very much a joint partnership and perhaps that is what she sees for herself and Gavyn. With Jaz having no powers compared to Akila, Gavyn wants her out of danger. Tory is back which I was pleased with as I very much liked him in the first book.
There are also new characters that Ian and Gavyn come into contact with. Mercy, who is physically deformed, lives as a recluse in the mountains and comes into contact with our heroes when they are fleeing from a set of bad guys. Gavyn spots that she is in possession of a mirror with djinn writing and he wonders about the friend that gave it to her and if this djinn could be an ally or an enemy. Then there is Calvin, a Morai monk who lives in a forest retreat with his people. Ian doesn't believe that any snake can be good but Gavyn finds himself torn. If Calvin is good as he claims to be, does that mean that he and Ian have been killing some innocent people? And of course, enemies from Ian's past are lurking in the shadows.
This book is full of djinn magic and shapeshifting. I love the concept that any still surface like water and mirrors can be used for either spying on people or transporting through. I love that all the clans have their powers and the ability to shift into animal forms. I also enjoy that when he has enough power, Ian can fly and it is amusing each time to see how much Gavyn hates that kind of travel! I also like the idea that a djinn can only be killed by destroying their tether-basically they put their soul into an object and often hide it so enemies can't find it. Their bodies can heal from injuries in time but an enemy finding your tether is fatal. I liked that as added interest. The fights are frequent and exciting, and there is a lot of tension especially when their home is under attack. There is a nice mix also of emotional scenes, humour and the clan history being revealed.
At the moment there are only two full length books in the series and I really hope that the author decides to self-publish more of Ian and Gavyn's adventures! I recommend this author to anyone who enjoys good urban fantasy.
Read January 2018