Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

Modern Day Toronto

The Speckled Muse Bookshop is located in one of the oldest buildings in Toronto. A historical three story building, it was bought by Crystal and Becca Hatcher's great grandfather for his wife. A wealthy man at the time, it allowed his book loving wife to open a bookstore. Having lost his fortune, the bookshop was the only thing left. The first floor housed the bookshop while the top two floors comprised the Hatcher family home. The two girls live there with their mother. Becca is a bookaholic while Crystal cannot wait to graduate from high school and become a photographer. Coming home late from taking pictures while skipping school, Becca is mad at Crys for causing her to miss her book club meeting. The girls argue but decide to finish up in the shop before their mother comes home. Becca goes to shelve some new inventory while Crystal sorts the mail. She sees a parcel addressed to her mother from her aunt Jackie. Crystal rips into the package even though it is for her mother. Inside is a very old and heavy book bound in leather. There is no title on the spine. A piece of paper falls out. It tells Jules that she "finally found it. Grandma would be proud. Keep it safe, and I'll be in touch as soon as I can." Crys opens the book and it looks like one of a kind, like the monks use to work on. She doesn't recognize the language. She walks back to the children's section where Becca is working. Becca wants to know what she has. They look over the book and Crys wonders how much it is worth. Becca is studying the book when Crystal notices a funny look on her face. She asks her what is wrong and Becca comments that the book is doing something. It feels like it is pulling her in. Crystal freaks out and tries to take the book from her hands. Becca cannot let go of it. The pages begin to glow and Crystal grabs the book but is shocked. Becca is terrified and Crystal tries to help her. Becca is engulfed by the bright light. She finally drops the book but Crystal cannot get a response from her sister. She stares, breathes and blinks but her mind and soul are gone. Crystal is left alone with the book responsible.

Crystal calls 911 and leaves a frantic message for her mother. She meets her girls at the hospital. She stopped by the bookshop and chastises Crystal for opening her package. She tells her that everything will be alright and sends her home. Unable to sleep that night, she picks up the phone when it rings. Crystal overhears her mother and her sister Jackie talking. Neither knows what has happened to Becca or how to bring her back. Her mother mentions talking to the girls' father. When he left the family two years earlier, Crystal was crushed. Their mother never told them why he left. Jackie tells her to give up hope. Daniel was drawn in by the secret society and is no longer any use to them. Jackie knows that the book is the key. Markus King, who stolen everything from them, would do anything to get his hands on it. She promises to help Becca without involving Daniel. The call ends and Crystal is left with even more questions than before. Getting up, she scrolls through her cell phone until she finds her father's name. Even though he hasn't called her in two years, she sends a text to him asking if he is still in Toronto and can he meet with her. Crystal is shocked when minutes later he tells her that he is still in town and will meet her.

Northern Mytica - Year 15 of the Goddess Valoria's Reign

Maddox Corso and his guardian Livius have a pretty good racket going on. Maddox has an impeccable reputation as a spirit vanquisher. Livius owes a small fortune to the moneylenders from his days as a gambler with bad luck. While on their latest con, Maddox sees a beautiful girl in strange dress that he thinks is the daughter of their latest con, Lord Gillis. She is wearing blue, tight fitting trousers when only Mytican men wear a baggy style. He tells her that the spirit is gone and she looks at him questionably. Livius wants to know who he is speaking to. Turns out that neither man can see her. Lord Gillis tells them that he doesn't have a daughter, only sons. Maddox notices that the girl looks terribly confused. He is stupefied when Gillis walks right through her. She tells him that he is the only one who can see her. She begs him to help her. Maddox's hand passes through her. He doesn't feel anything, unlike the chill when he encounters a spirit. Unable to escape from her, the girl tells Maddox that her name is Becca Hatcher. She doesn't know what has happened to her or how she got there, but he is going to help her get back home.

Becca follows Maddox around a festival. When a commotion breaks out, Maddox goes to see what is going on. A young girl has been accused as a witch. The Goddess Valoria has outlawed elemental magic out of fear that her own powers would be overthrown. Becca is horrified and tells Maddox that if he doesn't do something to help her, she will haunt him. He has no doubt that she wouldn't do it. Unable to control his magic, Maddox is just as surprised as the crowd when the guard holding the young girl begins choking. The girl is just standing there when Maddox tells her to run. She does and Maddox turns to find a guard behind him. The guard wants to know what has just happened. Maddox attempts to play dumb when he is knocked unconscious. He wakes up looking for Becca but finds himself behind bars. Livius, as well as his moneylender, Cena, are there. Livius is arguing with the guards but Cena is looking for the reward being offered for the boy who can talk with spirits. The guard assures Cena that Maddox won't immediately be executed. The goddess wants to speak to him first.

What is the book that aunt Jackie sent to her sister? Why had they been looking for it? Where is it from? How did Becca's spirit get to ancient Mytica? Can Maddox help her get back? Will she be able to rescue Maddox? What happens when he is brought before the Goddess Valoria? Why did Daniel Hatcher leave his family? What secret society did he join? Why does Markus King want the book?

The story will be continued in 2016 with book two in this companion trilogy to the Fallen Kingdoms series.

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