“The Trickster’s Sister” by R. Chris Reeder

This is a YA Fantasy, following the plotline of the teenager who discovers she is not like all the other humans. In this case, it’s not all nicey-nicey like usual, because Brynn and her family are goblins. This is Book Two in the series, so the newness has worn off, and she is left to deal with the trauma caused by the events of the first story.

The other main character is Makayla, her human friend, who has been dragged into the supernatural world without the cushion of any magical heritage. She has a more interesting story arc, because she is suffering a serious case of PTSD.

The strength of the story is in the developing relationship between the two girls, laced with a realistic amount of jealousy, bitchiness, wacky humour and a lot of other natural aspects of any close friendship.

However, this causes a bit of a problem for readers because the two girls are so much alike that it is difficult to keep track of which point of view we are following in any given chapter. We would prefer it if there was more delineation as to what each girl’s objectives are and how their characters differ.

Another strength of the novel is the world building. A lot of creativity has gone into the magical realm, and the descriptions are concise and evocative.

In any mystery, the author has to decide how much to keep readers in the dark and how much to tell us. We don’t want to know everything, because then there are no surprises. However, it is not a good idea to tell us absolutely nothing, because then we have no entry point where we might take hold of the conflict. In this novel, there is just a bit too much unknown magical power at play. There seems to be no point in the reader trying to predict what might happen at any given moment, because the characters have absolutely no effect on the events that are occurring. This actually reduces the suspense.

I have not read the first book, but I did not find it difficult to pick up the storyline, despite the welcome minimum of backstory in the opening chapters.

Good YA fantasy with gritty sections suitable for older readers. The ending solves the present mystery, but leaves plenty of scope for a third in the series.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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