Stars: 4 out of 5.
I really liked the first book in the series, so I picked up the next installment with a lot of trepidation. Too many times I was left disappointed by the direction in which authors took their series after the opening book. I am glad to say that it is not the case with the Unorthodox Chronicles. This book delivers everything I liked in the first one and ramps it up a notch.
We begin our story about six months after the events of the last book, and Grimsby finally got his dream of becoming an Auditor. Only the job isn’t exactly what he had dreamed it to be, since he is stuck doing house calls and babysitting various Unorthodox whom the Department wants to keep an eye on. It’s boring and mind-numbing, and makes Grimsby wonder if his life in the fast food industry was any better.
One of the reasons he is stuck with rookie jobs is because Mayflower, his partner, hasn’t shown up for work in six months. And doesn’t plan on showing up any time soon… That is until Grimsby does something desperate and steals a case intended for another Auditor. A case that has a lot of similarities with one that Mayflower encountered over 20 years ago. A case that Mayflower thought was closed, since the main perpetrator had her brains blown out…
This was a roller-coaster of a story. So many things happen, and the action keeps moving along. It was also a better plotted story than the first book, in my opinion. Even though there was a lot of action, all of it served to further the story and move it along, and we got some nice character development throughout as well.
I admit that Grimsby can be a little infuriating in his absolute lack of faith in himself. His self-esteem is lower than the location of Underton, and that place is buried deep under Boston. But even though I found his mopping around and self-doubt ratter irritating at times, I also understood where it was coming from. All his life he’d felt like he has less than everyone else. Because of his scars interfering with his magic, because of his inability to learn any other spells than the 3 he knows. And when Mansgraf kicked him out of the Auditor program, it only reinforced his belief that he was a failed witch and a failed human being.
So I understand that he feels like he didn’t earn his badge so to say, that he is an impostor in ill-fitting clothes just playing at being an Auditor. I like that by the end of this book, he’d made peace with that idea, and decided that he will be the best Auditor he can be with the abilities he’s given. Granted, by then, he has bigger issues to deal with than his self-doubt, but it’s still a nice piece of character growth.
I loved that Grimsby stays true to his core believes – that violence, especially the terminal kind that Mayflower is so good at, is a last resort. Or that you should always try to do your best to help your friends. He demonstrates that over and over again when he helps Wudge, then does everything to save both Wudge and Mayflower from Mother Frost, or even when he rescues the familiar. Speaking of Mansgraf’s familiar, I wonder if it will have a role to play in future books?
We learn a lot about Rayne in this book as well, and I’m sad that things happened the way they did. Because both her and Grimsby could have been the friend each of them needed, but that is probably not in the cards anymore. I would like to know what is that birthright she worked so hard to suppress all her life. I’m sure we will hear more of that in the next books.
As it stands, I am definitely eagerly awaiting book 3, even though it probably won’t come out until next year.
PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.