Completed 8/19/2022, Reviewed 8/20/2022
This is the second book in the Fledgling God series which began with Misfit Mage. Like the first book, this is very enjoyable. It’s a gay urban fantasy with an extremely detailed magic system. It took me nearly two weeks to read it because I was on a long driving and hiking vacation and only got about twenty pages read on some nights. But once I got back I zoomed through the rest of it. The book is really fluff, but good fluff, with much more meaty action and situations promised in the next installment.
It had been over a year since I read the first book, so it was great that the author included a synopsis to get the reader up to speed for this book. It picks up right after the events of the first book. Jason is still healing from the showdown with Isobel and her golem. Sandy is unconscious with very little magic left. John the half troll seems to have turned to stone and become unresponsive. Annabeth is in decent shape but tired. And Tyler the incubus pops in and out of the house to take care of issues as assigned by the house, which is also magic. Tyler begins a regimen for Jason and Annabeth to learn how to fight with their bodies, not just with magic. Jason and Annabeth watch over the other two in the house, trying to find ways to bring them back from their unconscious states. There is a lull in the bad activity of the bad mages until John and Annabeth find a mage who tells them about how the bad mages are consolidating their magic in an effort to take out Sandy’s house once and for all. And it’s up to Jason to figure out a way to fight this growing enemy.
The plot is pretty basic. Our hero must find a way to fight the bad guys and trains to do so. The fun is in the journey. A large chunk of the book is about Jason and Annabeth learning to fight with their fists rather than rely completely on magic. It’s sort of like a long “Rocky” montage. But just as Taggart deftly and thoroughly explains the magic system, he deftly and thoroughly explains the fight training. What could be boring was pretty exciting. I enjoyed watching Jason and Annabeth develop their fighting skills under Tyler’s tutelage. What could have boring fighting exercises turns out to be really engrossing reading.
The other thing going on is Jason’s attempts at reviving Sandy and John. He uses his magic to make little creatures that pull neutral magic and infuse it into Sandy to get her personal magic level up. And he makes other little creatures to chip away at the rock that is encasing John. How he does that is simply fascinating.
The character development continues where it left off. The relationship between Jason and the others in the House continue to grow as they become their own family. His relationship with Tyler goes in positive directions, bringing him a joy he never had in his more mortal previous life. Jason is simply lovable. At times, it seems too good to be true, with all the hugging and crying and mutual support. But on the other hand, it is nice to read an urban fantasy which does not rely on angsty moping mages waiting for the next negative experience.
I give this book three stars out of five. It reads very much like the first. The biggest problem with it is that the fight training scenes did run on a bit long and there were so many of them. In fact, the author notes in the afterward that this book had to be broken into two books because it went on so long. I bet with judicious editing, he could have gotten this and the next book hammered into a singe volume. But it is what it is and as it stands, this second book is solid fun. The next installment promises to be more action with the big confrontation with the bad guys.