Short Take: “Obsidian,” Alan Baxter

Rating: 4 out of 5

Alan Baxter’s Obsidian (Alex Caine) (Volume 2) makes for a really interesting follow-on to book one. In Bound, Alex Caine discovers he has powers–a lot of them. He’s tossed head-first into the world of magic and comes out the other side. In volume 2, he’s at a bit of a loss–he’s too powerful to get any joy out of fighting humans in cage matches any more, but demons are kinda dull too. Then an organization called Armor comes to call on him and Silhouette. They want help in dealing with three people who have stumbled onto a ritual that is way beyond their ability to control. At the same time, Claude Darvill, the son of Mr. Hood from book one, tries to track down Alex to find out what happened to his father. When the smoke clears, they’re all trapped in Obsidian, a magical city seemingly entirely cut off from Earth and run by a vicious cult.

As a minor note: there is way too much sneering in this book. Sometimes it feels like all the characters do is sneer at each other. Also, as Alex learns to use his elemental abilities in the previous book as well as this one, I find myself wondering why it never occurs to him to use air. A well-targeted tornado or two might have made several obstacles easier to overcome, or at least there might have been less collateral damage.

On the positive side: pretty much every time I found myself going, “hey wait a minute…” my concerns were addressed shortly thereafter. I like the fact that Armor has seers (not necessarily amazingly strong ones) who help them find supernatural threats that need to be dealt with.

I don’t want to get too much into talking about Obsidian, because it’s one of those things best unveiled a bit at a time as the story progresses. This is entirely a tonal break from the first book; the only joint threads are the presence of Alex and Sil.

I’m still enjoying this series and look forward to reading book three!

Content note: death/harm of mythical animals in combat.

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