Published May 8th 2012
Despite her troublesome attraction to magick, Flora Fyrdraaca has — more or less — spent her life doing what’s been expected of her. Yet now, at sixteen, she knows that this path has been strewn with secrets. Secrets have kept her from following her passion of becoming a ranger, of perfecting her use of magick, of proclaiming her hidden identity. But Flora has had enough of living with lies.
Convinced that her true mother, Tiny Doom — long believed to have been killed by the evil Birdies — is alive, Flora becomes determined to find her. Doing so will allow Flora to leave behind the lies her false mother, Buck Fyrdraaca, has told her about who she is. She can shake off the slavish drudgery of being a lowly lieutenant in the Army of Califa. And she need never again speak to her former best friend (and recent love) Udo — he’s become a total snapperhead.
Flora and her red dog, Flynn, are thrown into a journey that takes them to the high seas, onto lawless islands, and into the deadly desert. It’s an adventure filled with pirate battles, magickal encounters, and an unexpected romance with a brooding stranger who reveals himself to be a kindred spirit. And it all becomes far more dangerous when Flora realizes how desperately the Birdies want Tiny Doom — and Flora herself — dead.
This was intense. This was good. This was fantastic. And I don’t say this often. Let’s be honest here. In a series, the books can’t all hold your interest. Sometimes they are better, sometimes they are worst but truly, after three books, I still love Flora as much as I loved her in the first book. It’s rare for me. The world Wilce has created is so vibrant, so alive and populated with such interesting characters that it rivals the Potter universe in terms of amazingness. We see a lot more of the world Flora lives in in this book and it is all (and more) than I expected it to be.
We are also introduced to new intriguing characters, the most intriguing of them being a bear who brings in romantic entanglements into the playing field. We see Flora raging, making decisions in split seconds, looking for answers in places she thought she wouldn’t have to and meeting the mother she thought she never would. The tension and danger in the novel is exacerbated in this novel as the stakes are much higher. The politics is rife and taut with an impending war that no one will deny is going to happen.
Flora’s relationship with the mother she grew up with goes through a series of metamorphoses and I really like where it ends up. I also liked the decisions Flora makes even though they are not always the smartest. The Bear is an intriguing love interest and though Flora’s vacillations where Udo is concerned is rather vexing, I can’t deny that some of it he brings on to himself. While it is sad how their relationship unravels, it makes me wonder who Flora will end up with considering the whole thing that happens between Udo and her. Maybe her sacrifice will make their relationship better in the end – I don’t know. But I am willing to find out.
This brings me to my other point. The series is being marketed as a trilogy. However, after the last book, I cannot see it as one as there are way too many threads left open, there are too many what-ifs and what-nows for it to have ended. So fingers crossed that the series continues. As for whether I recommend this series, do you really need to ask?