Thursday, January 9, 2014

Two'fer - Conspiracies and Sacrifices by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Published: July 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 342
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads
The second book in the Shadow Grail series by the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
Spirit and her friends Burke, Loch, Muirin, and Addie have managed to defeat the evil force that has been killing students at Oakhurst Academy for the past forty years—or so they think. When a series of magical attacks disrupts the school, Doctor Ambrosius calls upon alumnus Mark Rider to secure the campus—and start training the students for war. The only student without magic, Spirit doesn’t trust Mark or his methods. She knows that Oakhurst isn’t safe. And if Spirit and her friends want to live long enough to graduate, they have to find out what is really going on—before it’s too late.

Published: April 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 304
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

The third book in the Shadow Grail series by the New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

The students of Oakhurst Academy believe they have triumphed over the Shadow Knights. But Spirit, Burke, Muirin, Loch, and Addie know better. Under the guise of a company called Breakthrough Adventure Systems, the Shadow Knights have actually taken over the campus. The new regime is brutal, designed to turn the students into soldiers wielding both weapons and magic. Anyone who protests disappears.

Desperate, the group decides that Muirin should go undercover to spy on Breakthrough. But Muirin’s act is a little too good, and Spirit begins to fear that her friend’s loyalties might have truly changed. Surrounded by enemies and friends who suddenly seem like strangers, Spirit has decide who can—and cannot—be trusted.

I recently reviewed the first book in this series by Lackey and Edghill, Legacies - you'll find it HERE if you're interested - and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The bonus being that the 2nd and 3rd volumes of this 4 part series were already published.  Since I read them back to back, I thought I'd cheat and make it one review for two books.

I'm happy to report that the tight plot lines and sense of all-pervading menace have not disappeared in Conspiracies and Sacrifices.  In fact, these two talented writers have upped the ante considerably.  As the story progresses through these volumes the mystery just keeps getting deeper and deeper.  Woven around old Arthurian legends, it is very obvious that the ladies have done their research.  The further into the books that you read, the deeper into legend you go and the stranger and more twisted the plot line becomes.  This could become confusing, but thankfully did not. 

Main characters Spirit, Burke, Muirin, Addie and Loch spend time researching and rarely leap to conclusions.  They are puzzled and frightened and nasty people keep arriving at their school, Oakhurst, and even nastier things keep happening, but  there was always a reason behind the action which I just loved. 

Towards the end of Sacrifices the reader becomes aware of something that the characters haven't figured out yet, which results in a bit of an AHA! moment.  We all know that Spirit is destined for something, but up until this point, no-one has a clue just exactly what that is.  Ok, let's face it, I still really don't know, but I have a very strong idea and I'm going to be champing at the bit until April to find out.

The relationships between the main characters always stays real and interesting.  There is no insta love or unreasoning hatred, but the characters continue to develop and grow along with the story.  All in all I'm loving this series.  School/orphanage for magical teens coming into their abilities and fighting the bad guys. FUN.  This is also a fairly clean read that is more than suitable for younger teens.  In fact if I have anything bad to say about the series so far, it's that very occasionally the characters thoughts seemed a little young, but that could just be from my older perspective.

Keep your eyes open for this series and for the final volume, Victories, which appears to be hitting bookstores in April.  I can't wait.

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