Before I begin (no offense meant whatsoever to Ms. Moore), I would just like to say this to the publishers: I adore that you are still wanting to publish this series...but the cover on this one makes me feel like I am on an acid trip. It goes with the book's theme, but it's over the top and the colors glare quite unpleasantly, with a heavy slice of cheese thrown in. Previous covers were a lot better. Please keep this in mind for the next book. That is all.
Lee and Taro are now back in High Scape...a much quieter High Scape, which doesn't seem to be having natural disasters of late and are sending their Pairs elsewhere. Our pair have a strange time adjusting to the world again, but on top of that are surprised to see the latest fad that's cropped up in town: magic.
Specifically, people are casting spells, wearing spelled jewelry (which Taro insists on getting for himself and Lee), and digging up the ashes of "lucky" dead people to use in spells. There's some kind of plague going around by the riverfront, and people are feeling like they're losing control of the world. Lee is pretty well horrified by this stuff, and yet goes around getting books on magic to read up on it anyway to figure it out. She also gets rather forcibly befriended by a trader who seems to have a unique cadre of friends who want to enlist her and Taro's assistance in...what, exactly?
Now that they're back where they're known and Lee and Taro's relationship has become more public, they have to deal with both private and public flack for it. Not to mention that the fellow Lee was dating before she left town returns into her life, and he's not so much into taking no for an answer. Lee still expects that at some point Taro will lose interest in her, and is in some level of denial as to what is going on with both guys.
Oh, and the Empress has died and her shifty son is now going to be in power...and since he doesn't like Taro, this can't bode well. Especially with the new laws he has coming out against magic. I've wondered ever since reading the first book when Taro's ah...more special abilities...were going to bite him in the ass. Now that the primary person who suspected he had them isn't around any more, maybe this will never happen. But what I realized reading this book was that the author has had a different game going on all along, what with the use of magic in the last two books. At this point, two things seem to be established that are downright mind-blowing....and very, very ominous. Hoo boy.
This ends on a fairly mind-blowing cliffhanger/realization...I'll be looking forward to the next book, all right. Four stars.