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The first in this new series held a lot of promise and this second volume doesn't disappoint. It has all the usual Lallo magic, including dragons, new types of creatures, baddies, quests and believable heroes. I thoroughly enjoyed getting deeper into this unique setup Joseph Lallo has created, with likeable 'goodies' and ruthless 'baddies' and the ordinary folk caught between. As always, Lallo's characters are well formed, often make us smile and have us wondering how they will deal with the inevitable dangers as the plot thickens... I loved it and very much look forward to Number Three as the characters deepen and the world that is their backdrop reveals its mysteries and complexities. Good stuff!
I enjoy reading just about anything this author writes. This is a great addition to the series. Opens up a bunch of new areas/characters and leaves plenty more room for growth. Looking forward to book 3.
Masterfully crafted from the opening scene, to the closing lines that have me on the edge of my seat awaiting the next in The Great Lands Saga. Joseph has demonstrated his artful skill at weaving his tale so well, that it envelopes the reader, who is pulled along as a first hand witness to the adventure as it unfolds. Simply brilliant.
Book two continues following the Maskers, with Fel taking the lead on expeditions to find more contraptions while his mother and father run the store and repair whatever he finds.
His sister is trying to avoid giving their most precious contraptions away to the government (I forgot the real name), and she's on a mission to find sell them instead of having them taking away. This leads her to a bazaar, where she meets a man who isn't what he seems.
From there, Fel is off to the Bygone Archive, a library full of books on contraptions that details how to make and fix them. It's a treasure trove if they can get their grubby hands on them.
Tome, the paper mage and Oiler, the contraption that always wants to fix things are along for the ride. Oiler just happens to repair a trap at the wrong time, and after a solid dunking in a river, find themselves inside the wall.
From there the group is off to meet the wizard... um, off to meet a dragon who's been trapped since the Bygone era occurred. Fel, who makes a living of disabling traps, is tasked to release the dragon.
I won't spoil what happens after that, but it's a lot of fun. This isn't an overly long book, but it's richly developed and each Masker plays a key role as they try to keep their competitors from taking what it theirs.
And if the name Masker means something (and it does), then what does the name Graves stand for?
Besides the obvious.
I really enjoyed book 2. The opening was confusing as all get out because I'm still trying to remember who is who, and then this is tossed in, like a grenade in a green salad. It's crunchy, but you certainly don't expect it.
After that the book picks up steam quickly. I'm looking forward to finding out what the Maskers (and their new associates) get up to in book 3.
Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2021
Heroes and bad guys trying to stop the hero from obtaining the treasure or steal it from him. Hero must overcome deadly traps, solve ancient mysteries, travel through dangerous lands with difficult partners. It's a great story, fun to read.