Not every ugly duckling becomes a swan … In the wake of the disastrous attack on the Golden City, Lady Light Spinner has become Grand Sorceress and Elaine, the Bookworm, has been settling into her positions as Head Librarian and Privy Councillor. But any hope of vanishing into her books is negated when a new magician of staggering power appears in the city, one whose abilities seem to defy the known laws of magic.
Johan is a Powerless, a person born to a magical family yet lacking powers of his own. His dreams of a better life are curbed by his family, who see him as a cripple at best and a burden at worst. But when a political protest goes horrifically wrong, Johan discovers that his true powers have merely been buried, waiting for their chance to explode into the world. As he comes to grips with his newfound talents, he discovers that he finally has a chance to realise his ambitions …
… But for the Golden City, reeling after the devastation of six months earlier, he may be the greatest threat the city has ever seen. Elaine must unlock the mystery behind his powers before the political factions can kill him … or use him to unleash a nightmare.
As the title implies, this is a sequel to Bookworm by Christopher Nuttall. The book continues fairly seamlessly from Bookworm picking up about 6 months from the final events in that book. Even though it follows straight from the first book this book is somewhat different from Bookworm.
The book is a bit less of the traditional good versus evil with evil in the form of the Witch King, although he is mentioned, and dives much more into the politics of the magical world Mr. Nuttall have created. Well, I and politics do not go too well together so I find this a bit sad. The Golden City is also a much gloomier place with a lot of it destroyed, the inquisitors decimated and struggling to keep law and order and spoiled magician brats from the big magic houses running rampage and behaving like old aristocrats believing they are the gift of god. Personally I liked the more straightforward good versus the evil Witch King story of the first book better.
Despite the political parts this is still a very good book though. As in the previous book Elain is the main character and this time she has to deal with a teenage magician of seemingly limitless power but who also have just discovered that he has any powers at all. A lot of the book is dedicated to Elaine trying to figure out why he have any magic powers at all (he was thought powerless) and how it works. At the same time she has to navigate the difficult waters of managing a teenager as well as the murky waters of politics.
The book is as well written as the other books I have read from this author which makes it a quite enjoyable reading, even the political parts. Although there is somewhat of a climax in the book it does end in what one have to call a cliffhanger. I guess this particular cliffhanger succeeded in it’s purpose though since I certainly would not want to miss out on the next book.