The enemy exposed. Nikselpik Nur has become the city of Hightower's staunchest - albeit unwilling - ally. He's hardly learned to cope with his debilitating bugging addiction, much less take on the duties of being the city's First Wizard. Can he embrace this new path? And will he? Meanwhile Stena Wavebreaker is pulled from her seafaring duties by the Precisor General and given command of a raggedy airship to scout the ultraworldly enemy from the perilous skies above the Southern Reaches. Her mission: gain the support of the unpredictable "swamp elves", the Giyipcias. Lastly, Niksabella Nur has set off from Hightower at the behest of the grim stonekin leader, Jontuk. The gnomestress must unlock the full potential of her invention, the recursive mirror, and her own powers to bear what might be the heaviest burden of all. What will she discover along the way? And will Jontuk be able to keep her alive long enough to save them all? This is GnomeSaga book two.
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The first book in the GnomeSaga, Rough Magick, introduced us to a tinkerer who was unaware of the worlds changing device she’s created. That story showed her accidental discovery by way of a crooked 1st Wizard and her subsequent imprisonment. While she languishes in jail, her bug-addicted brother has been sent to fight the front-line forces of an ultraworld invasion. See my review for more on that wonderful first entry in this unique series by Kenny Soward. The superb narration by Scott Aiello, as well as the fun tone and gnomish adventure continues in the sequel, Tinkermage, but it’s improvements seemed to come at a cost in areas where I felt it was less enjoyable than the first book. The improvements are centered on what we learn about Niksabella, the tinkerer and worlds saver, and her bother, Nikselpik, the wizard battling to overcome his addiction. Both of them learn new depths to their magick, which will be necessary as they near the war to come in book three. The problem was, none of the battles in this book seemed to matter. I enjoyed the listen as they happened–the narration and author’s gift of writing action were awesome–but I felt like the adventure in this book was easily forgettable. Tinkermage PaperbackThe best moments were where the two pov characters I cared about became more fleshed out (Niksabella and Nikselpik), but I wanted that AND the fight scenes stolen by the pov I didn’t care for, Stena. She’s given the journey to acquire the new ally, and while there are some inventive battle scenes against the ultraworldly monsters, I don’t remember any significant connection to her. She fought a good fight, but it was the difference between watching a fight by someone you have long rooted for and watching two strangers fight for a prize you’ve never heard of. As it leaves us going into book three, it seems like some alliances were made, some lives were lost, our cast of heroes developed their powers to sweet levels, but the main enemies have been hidden for book three. Maybe that’s unavoidable. If I could have my cake and eat it too, I’d want something like the character development of this book combined with the action to come in the next. All that to say, I’m eager to get to book three, Cogweaver (available in print and ebook, but not yet audio). I think he’s righted the course with what Niksabella and Nikselpik have to accomplish. They have learned their lessons and are ready to step into the forefront of the battle. Hopefully, this will mean less of Stena, or more of a reason to enjoy the times she takes my favorite two off the page.
The narrator was excellent and the stories continued where the previous book left off. However, it felt as though the end came very abruptly. Almost as if the author finished the book early to leave content for the next one.