The Fire Opal Mechanism (The Jewel Series book 2) by Fran Wilde (book review)

July 27, 2019 | By | Reply More

‘The Fire Opal Mechanism’ is the sequel to ‘The Jewel And Her Lapidary’. While it is set in the same world, it follows different characters.

Ania is a librarian at a university. She values the individuality of books and other aspects of education such as teaching and debate. But the pressmen, a group of people who are trying to eradicate books and universities, have come to her university to take all their books. Can Ania save her books?

Jorit was marked a thief by the pressmen after she refused to help them. So she’s become one to survive. She meets Ania, while trying to steal books from her library and they hide from the pressmen together. Can Jorit save herself and maybe Ania and her books? This book is such an improvement on the first one.

The world-building and story from the previous book are further expanded on by this book. While not a direct sequel, the first story is definitely relevant and this story would struggle to make sense without much of what is learnt in the first one. Author Fran Wilde also expands the world in ways that are meaningful and intriguing.

Interestingly, Wilde keeps the idea of having information from after the story has ended interspersed throughout. This time, it’s a transcript from interviews mostly with Jorit and Ania about what happened in the story. As with the first book, this plays an interesting role in the story.

Aside from the start of the book being a bit slow, I actually feel that the pacing is fairly good. Lots of action and intrigue keep the reader engaged throughout.

This book features multiple viewpoint characters. These are Ania, Jorit and another character called Xachar, who was one of Ania’s students before the pressmen arrived. This helps to keep the book varied and interesting, as well as offering multiple perspectives on the events.

The characters themselves are fairly well-developed and engaging. Despite this being a novella, there is a good amount of back story that helps the reader to understand the characters.

Overall, I think this is a great book. I think it’s a very good come back after the first one, which I didn’t feel was a great start to the series. If you like magic, books about books or have enjoyed Fran Wilde’s other books, this one may be worth a read. Even if you didn’t enjoy the first book in the series, I would say this one is still worth a try, as it’s completely different.

Rebecca Thorne

July 2019

(pub: TOR. 200 page paperback, 2019. Price: $14.99 (US), £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-25019-654-5)

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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