cover image The Fire Opal Mechanism

The Fire Opal Mechanism

Fran Wilde., $14.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-19654-5

This standalone sequel to 2016’s The Jewel and Her Lapidary keenly explores a dark age when nearly all the magic gems in the former Six Kingdoms are gone. The kingdom-conquering Pressmen are seizing countless books to feed a Great Press that steals words. To save both books and themselves, librarian Ania and thief Jorit’s unlikely partnership sends them time traveling via the titular mechanism, piecing together the riddle of the Great Press’s existence so they can shut it down forever. Wilde’s lean storytelling never missteps throughout Ania and Jorit’s dangerous chronological jumps, with each era fleshed out despite the sections’ frenetic brevity. As in the first book, the traditional ideas of magic gems are skewed in ways that add their own entertainment and tension, to the point where the few surviving stones nearly become characters. Courageous Ania grows into great strength, and Jorit is the standout, transforming from refugee to guardian hero. Readers who loved Jewel will be delighted by this outing. (June)