Pros: Nifty fairy tale challenges; the Cats of Chaos
Cons: Some formulaic elements
Rating: 4 out of 5
In book one of Linsey Hall’s “The Druid”, Ana had to help Lachlan retrieve a stolen super-powerful spell and rescue his kidnapped friend, Connor. In Crime of Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Druid Book 2), the magic that sustains the castle of the Undercover Protectorate has been stolen! Without it not only will the castle become un-hidden, but Arach and the other ghosts–including the Pugs of Destruction–will cease to exist! Ana is instructed in no uncertain terms not to get involved, but she keeps uncovering clues and gets Lachlan to help her. It turns out that his quest to find the mysterious robed figure that stole his spell is linked to this theft as well somehow, and the two end up traipsing through other realms in order to get the magic back.
One fascinating sequence has Lachlan and Ana traveling through a bizarre, mixed-up fairy tale realm. I love the weird events that ensue, particularly since Hall uses them well to bring something new and different to the puzzles, tests, and battles. I admit though, Alice in Wonderland feels a little out of place here. I particularly liked the wolf from the Red Riding Hood tale, who becomes their guide through part of the realm. Also Hansel and Gretel. Truly, this is some of the more original material Hall has come up with.
The Cats of Chaos return! The international jewel thieves and magical housecats Muffin, Princess Snowflake III, and Bojangles provide aid and comic relief along the way. They may be my favorite magical sidekicks yet, even more than the Pugs of Destruction.
There are a couple of little oddities/slip-ups, but it isn’t too bad. (How does one grind wet seaweed into dust, anyway?)
It’s nice that there seems to be some indication that Lachlan has had reasons beyond “we’re colleagues” for not getting involved with Ana. It was disappointing to have that excuse used to keep them apart when it’s the exact same one used for Bree and Cade (I mean, sure the love plots tend to be formulaic, but that was getting to be a bit much). Hopefully more will come of this.
I look forward to seeing Ana find out more about her identity and abilities!