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In the wake of the disastrous attack on the Golden City, Lady Light Spinner has become Grand Sorceress and Elaine, the Bookworm, has been settling into her positions as Head Librarian and Privy Councillor. But any hope of vanishing into her books is negated when a new magician of staggering power appears in the city, one whose abilities seem to defy the known laws of magic.
Johan is a Powerless, a person born to a magical family yet lacking powers of his own. His dreams of a better life are curbed by his family, who see him as a cripple at best and a burden at worst. But when a political protest goes horrifically wrong, Johan discovers that his true powers have merely been buried, waiting for their chance to explode into the world. As he comes to grips with his newfound talents, he discovers that he finally has a chance to realize his ambitions....
But for the Golden City, reeling after the devastation of six months earlier, he may be the greatest threat the city has ever seen. Elaine must unlock the mystery behind his powers before the political factions can kill him...or use him to unleash a nightmare.
Returning to well-loved characters from Christopher Nuttall's best-selling Bookworm and introducing new ones, Bookworm II: The Very Ugly Duckling explores power - and the effect it has on the human mind.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Trudy Owens on 01-26-18
fear leads to hate and hate leads to the dark side
This long and rambling book introduces Johan, a Powerless born into an aristocratic magical family. He has spent his shamed life hidden from society for his physical protection as well as his family's social protection. Abandoned by his narcissistic mother, ignored by his severe autocratic father, tormented by his cruel magical siblings, teenaged Johan suddenly displays immense magical powers, and now everyone is out to either kill him or use him for their own purposes. Elaine, the Bookworm librarian takes him under her wing.
This overly long, watery, and rambling story full of tedious author talk and explanations of the characters' thinking could have been enjoyably shortened just by eliminating the repetitious parts. Johan discovers that he can now exact revenge on all those who ever tortured or disdained him, and you see him leaning fondly towards the dark. Elaine is the only light-side influence he has. In the end they go off to hide and train in opposition to the Grand Council's recommendations. If Johan will return to bring balance to the world of Mundanes and Magicals or if he will upset the Force by turning evil waits to be seen in the next volume.
Johan's magic is totally different from everyone else's and they can't figure out how to teach him to control it. There is no discussion of the possible connection between the appearance of Johan's magic and the correlating situation, and then Johan's motivations when he attempts to use it. This was the only deep, important message, and it was completely undealt-with. The only discussion of the nature of his power takes place when he starts to hurt people. All the other magical people hurt Mundanes and nobody cares.
The narration takes some getting used to. Ms. Naqvi's high voice and overly-precise pronunciation, combined with numerous incorrect sentence intonation, make listening a chore.
By Greg on 01-02-18
Not as good as the first...but eh.
Logic problems. Plot driven decisions, with expounded explanations. I have this feeling that the editor read the book, found the decision problems, and instead of cleaning them properly, the author took the approach of creating long winded justifications.
On the plus side, its still has some draw with the plot...but it is dwindling fast. I am not sure if I will get the third in the series..depends on how desperate I am.
I would say that if you really enjoyed the first book, this still has some fun. If you were wishy-washy on the first and thought the second would pull you in further...no.