cover image Season of Spells

Season of Spells

Sylvia Izzo Hunter. Ace, $15 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-425-27247-3

The third chapter of Hunter’s Noctic Magicae fantasy series (after The Midnight Queen) launches readers into fresh intrigue and magic in an alternate 19th-century London. After working to develop their magical abilities at the University of Din Edin, Britain’s Princess Royal Sophie and her husband, Gray Marshall, are returning to London and escorting Lucia MacNeill, the heiress of Alba—soon to be Sophie’s sister-in-law—for her first meeting with her betrothed, 17-year-old Prince Roland, and the rest of the royal family. After months of correspondence, forthright Lucia and dreamer Roland know they have little in common. Sophie hopes that she can change that by having them help her reopen the long-shuttered women’s college at Oxford, a decidedly unpopular plan with orthodox scholars who insist women can’t learn to use magic responsibly. Complications ensue when the rebels responsible for an attempt on King Henry’s life somehow escape from prison and can’t be found. After two previous books, Hunter’s characters and setting feel fully formed, and the story moves briskly through its twists and turns. This compelling blend of fantasy, intrigue, and Regency romance adds up to a thoroughly satisfying adventure. (Dec.)