Cast in Secrets and Shadow

Philomel. (Loresmith: Bk. 2). Jul. 2021. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399164231.
Gr 9 Up–When we last saw Ara, she had taken her rightful place in the Loresmith’s forge, creating weapons imbued with the magic of the gods to be given to the future Loreknights of the fallen kingdom of Saetlund. This volume continues immediately after the conclusion of Forged in Fire and Stars, with Ara and her companions on a quest to find the hidden sites of the gods where they must complete dangerous trials that test their strengths and relationships. Robertson adeptly engages readers with characters that are relatable, flawed, and in some cases, frightening. Where the first installment was set at a slow pace with large amounts of setup and explanation, this book is paced and plotted well and will leave teens on the edge of their seats. Romance and relationship angst is in full force with Ara and her male companion, Teth, as well as with the princess Nimhea and her female summoner Lahvja. The sexually charged nature of Ara and Teth’s budding relationship is innocent yet suggestive, making this story more appropriate for older teen audiences. The book ends with a shocking revelation that should set the series up for an exciting next installment.
VERDICT Fans of the first “Loresmith” book will not be disappointed with this follow-up. Detailed worldbuilding, character development, and vivid storytelling makes this a worthy addition to all fantasy collections.

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