Review copy provided by Tor.
This is the sequel to Child of a Hidden Sea, and I recommend that you read that first. I am a sucker for a middle book; this is very thoroughly one. I am also a sucker for a portal fantasy, and this is that, too. The culture clash aspects of it run very high, not just for plot but also for humorous moments, the kind of humor that has some lines you can quote but some things that are character and situation, the kind that are hardest to read out to someone because they’re so embedded in the book itself. Which is the kind I like best.
It’s not all about the humor, though–this is not the sort of slapsticky book that gets described as “humorous fantasy.” (I don’t like humorous fantasy–I say this a lot, I have said it again in an email just today–because I like things that are funny.) There’s quite a lot of serious stuff about how to handle being in the middle of a culture doing something you disapprove of–in this case slavery–and figuring out the lines between people you like and people you trust. And there’s also magic and complicated family relationships and questions of foreign ecosystems and science research when people don’t want you to do science research. It’s a romp but not a brainless one. First and foremost, though, I’m pleased to have a portal fantasy that’s doing interesting stuff, because you can pretty much always get me to sign on for that.
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