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The story moved from Ixia to neighbouring 'country' Sitia which was fantastic for a couple of reasons. One: there was a lot of character development as family members were discovered and relationships developed; two, there were (and forgive the potential over-analysis going on here) some really interesting political points being made.
Upon arriving in Sitia's main city, our favourite lead female encounters a group of beggars and fails to grasp the concept - why? Because it seems beloved Ixia is in fact a communist state - where "basic necessities are provided to all by the Commander's military". The Sitians fail to comprehend how this is possible because the beggars surely were just lazy and got themselves into their plight? Add into this some discussions on the nature of crime and punishment - Ixia: all judged by the Commander with capital punishment prevalent; Sitia: all judged by a group of officials with high-tech prisons the norm. All of which led me to love the book all the more - not just your average fantasy fodder!
Forgive my digression, the lawyer in me couldn't help it! Political undertones aside, this novel is also brilliant as a fantasy tale - the magic element is the focus here and the mix of new characters and old favourites is perfect! Again, we have a truly bad 'baddy' - a serial murderer/rapist no less - and it makes parts of the story really strong.Overall: A fantastic sequel for those who loved the first -again, prepare for more than just light and fluffy magic spells - it gets dark but it's awesome for it! Roll on #3: Fire Study. 35 36 37 38