My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked this second book in the trilogy better than the first! In the first book, there was a lot of explanations and random minor characters, but in this book we have a more solid story and better pacing, I think.
Petra is on the run again from the evil Prince of Bohemia, and her friends, Neel and Tomik, are swept into her adventures. The mysterious spy/ambassador John Dee is back, and he tries to train Petra to use her magic, but she is an unruly student.
My favorite character by far is Astrophil, the metal spider with an encyclopedic brain. He’s so wise and intelligent and loyal! I just love his snappy dialogue.
Petra is courageous to the point of stupidity, but I love her for it. I think she has trouble seeing things as they really are. She assumes that things will turn out well if you just do your best, or that you can trust people to keep your secrets, and that just isn’t the case. She tends to run headlong into danger with all kinds of good intentions, so it’s a good thing Astrophil is there to hold her back sometimes. He’s that voice in her head giving a word of caution.
I loved seeing Neel and Tomik hating each other, and fighting, and then slowly becoming friends. Those two are such different characters, but they both love Petra.
The plot really surprised me! I was fascinated with the weird characters and their magical abilities. The plot twist hit me out of nowhere, and I loved how the different story threads all came together. Murder, betrayal, animals made of metal, elemental spirits, gypsy folklore, espionage, politics, and especially magic- this book has it all!