Silicon Mage (The Windrose Chronicles, Volume Two)

Silicon Mage (The Windrose Chronicles, Volume Two)
Barbara Hambly, 1988

Premise: Sequel to The Silent Tower. Joanna is back home in California, but she might be the only one who knows that the periods of formless depression that seem to strike the entire world are not her imagination, but the machinations of a wizard from another dimension. With an explanation like that who could she tell? Horrified by her part in the events at the end of The Silent Tower and sick with worry, she plans to try to get back across the worlds, to find someone to help her, and try to rescue her love.

I liked this book quite a bit. It was full of complicated characters, all both abrasive and likable, who are trying to do their best, but sometimes screw up. And there's two sweet subtle romances, one of two young people both trapped by their choices and their oaths, one of two adults who care about each other beyond all logic, but know they can't promise more than right now. All of that is dealt with such a light touch alongside the plotting, action and danger that I just adored it.

It had been a while since I read the first book in this series, but I was absorbed back into this world almost before I realized it. Joanna and Caris and Antryg came back to me very quickly.

A few quibbles: I really liked Pella, an ally Joanna finds unexpectedly, but she was introduced so quickly that she felt a bit shoved in to the narrative. And then she disappeared again just as abruptly, which was odd.

Also the formatting on my Kindle copy had some serious issues. Occasionally there's a typo, but more annoying is that mid-chapter breaks often appear a paragraph before or after the break is clearly supposed to go. Sometimes this crashed the flow of reading and was very confusing, because a change of scene, character or time should be indicated by the break.

Despite this, I am glad I returned to this story and these characters. The blend between technology and magic is still well handled. The relationship between math, magic, logic and intuition works beautifully. Joanna is still a wonderfully unlikely heroine; I love the way she approaches her problems with her stubborn determination and her logical mind.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book

One semi-spoiler: after the cliffhanger of book one, I was expecting the same here. However, this book and The Silent Tower make a little duology. A third book tells the further adventures of these characters, but this doesn't read like the second book in a trilogy.


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