Unwanteds #4. Author: Lisa McMann.
As Alex grows more confident in his role as the mage of Artime, he expands his skills and brings his first creature to life with results that are both painful and wonderful. A team from Artime heads out to rescue Sky and Crow’s mother from underwater Pirate Island and discovers there are more creatures than they ever imagined in the ocean surrounding the islands and not all of them are friendly. Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron faces threats to his leadership as Gondoleery hones her rediscovered magical abilities and Eva and Liam form a secret alliance against him. But Aaron’s distracted with a discovery of his own, a hidden jungle that holds a dangerous secret. His time there yields a startling truth about himself, and a potential opportunity to increase his power.
There’s a little less of the lovely world-building here in a sense; no new spells, no more exploration of Artime. However, we get to venture out into the surrounding sea and get a glimpse of what’s in the ocean around them. The character building is as steady as before, perhaps even stronger; I appreciated how she shows the difficulty of relationships versus authority, and yet showed how a young mage would handle this; i.e., badly, bumblingly, and unhappily, but trying to do what’s right.
Sexual content: Two kisses, some hugging. Some attraction between two statues.
Language: 6 crud, 2 heck, one exclamation of ‘Holy moly!’ one of ‘Holy smokes!’ and one adjectival use of blasted.
Violence: One battle from which there are ‘some injuries’ with no details. Later a medic reports it’s mostly scrapes and bruises, with a few gashes, concussions and a couple of broken bones. MC’s side uses non-lethal spells. One punch. A whale nearly drowns before being transported to water. Giant eel attacks ship, flings some people around, is beaten off. Eel is stabbed twice. Eel is shot through the eye and killed. A statue-cat gives up one of her nine lives to save another that was killed by the eel. Several characters are kidnapped by an eel. Ship falls off a waterfall.