Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eff is Off: Across the Great Barrier

Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic, Book 2), the second book about Eff, thirteenth child in a very magic-intense family, spends a lot of time roaming about the countryside, which is more pleasant than it sounds.  After the first book covered her entire childhood, the next installment slows down to observe Eff's deliberate attempts to define herself.  She resists her brother's love of college and instead attaches herself to the professors at the local institute, earning herself a place on several expeditions so that we all get to see the complex magic/natural ecosystem and the new animals Patricia Wrede seeded her alternate North America with -- saber toothed lions and petrified field mice included.

I liked hanging out inside Eff's head -- she's modest but capable, and starting to take a more active role in understanding her magic rather than surprising herself with constant failures and occasional spectacular successes.  She continues to love her dangerous brother with an unerring loyalty, but she's emotionally more aware of herself and him as distinct people, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  I'm looking forward to the next installment of the Frontier Magic books.

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