Review of Rin Chupeco’s AN UNRELIABLE MAGIC

An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ms. Chupeco’s expansive dive into the diverse world of fairy tales run amok continues to deliver on its promise of entertainment and amusement. Her characters span the spectrum in a way that feels natural, progressing with their lives and backgrounds a reader comes to expect from the second book in a series. And she braided additional strands into the complicated tapestry of dooms laid out in the first volume, teasing out hints of the drama yet to come. From the standpoint of that “middle bridge,” everything checks the boxes perfectly.

I even applaud her digs at the current political climate (done masterfully, I might add).

But the plot, what there is of it, fell short of the promise of the first volume. While there’s plenty of intrigue and action to move the story forward and keep the reader engaged, it meanders from one detail to the next with no coherent question to answer. Are they attempting to solve Alex’s curse by reaching Buyan? Do they need to unravel the mystery of OzCorp? Is the Snow Queen’s plan of primary concern? Or are they attempting to negotiate a political truce?

The questions are all valid, of course, but they muddy the waters and leave you wandering from one chapter to the next in a dull haze. Where is everyone going? Are they working in concert or focused on individual projects? Is the “team” formed so carefully in the first book even functional anymore? It came across as much weaker, which is a shame. (Everyone knows my feelings on “second book syndrome”)

There’s nothing wrong with a braided plot tackling more than one complication. But it helps if everything moves in ONE direction versus six. Otherwise, you dump your readers out at the end with an unsatisfied sensation – and not because of the Epilogue.

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