My rating: 4 of 5 stars (Liked It)
Ariel and Astrid have discovered that sharing a husband is a greater challenge than they anticipated, a challenge that is exacerbated by a difficult winter trip to Wittenberg, where Erich hopes to enter the service of Frederick III, Elector of Sachsen. But their trip is soon interrupted by unexpected complications.
In the town of Marburg, a century-old agreement that has kept the peace between the Landgraviate of Hessen and a band of witches in the forest is beginning to unravel. The young Landgrave, Philip, needs to consolidate his authority, and the witches want something from him that he does not dare surrender. Erich and his wives are drawn into this conflict, and in the process discover a mystery that seems tied to their unique magical bond—a mystery that may threaten its very existence if they cannot resolve it.
In this second installment in the bestselling Twin Magic series, Michael Dalton spins together magic, steampunk, and traditional German fairy tales into another entertaining alternate history adventure.
***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***
What's Good: it's a fast-moving, multi-layered, complex story that I read in one sitting. Plot has a lot of meat to it. Politics, intrigue, (not-so) chance encounters- there's a lot of the stuff I like to read about going on here. The magic system is intriguing and is the setting- which draws from real world events and figures. There's some pretty interesting characters- I liked Sabine and Giancarlo a lot- and aside from the main arc there's some nifty sub-plots in the works as well.
What's Bad: there's so much going on here, you need a scorecard to keep track of it all. It's only the second book, so there's no reason not to provide a summary of the first book or a glossary to bring new readers up to speed. I was completely lost at times for not knowing who's who or what's what so just had to accept it and keep rolling. The constantly shifting perspectives and frequent head-hopping also muddled things a bit.
What's Left: The sexual dynamics will throw you for a loop at first. Even though there's a reason for two sisters marrying the same man and simultaneously sleeping with him, without the context from the first book to frame it you'll be shaking your head for a good chunk of the book. Once you get past that (if you can), there's a lot to like here. I'm definitely interested to read the first one and the next when it comes out.