Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Amari and the Great Game

Alston, B.B. Amari and the Great Game (Supernatural Investigations #2) 
August 30th 2022 by Balzer + Bray
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Amari saved the world in Amari and the Night Brothers, even though her own brother, Quinton, is still in a magical coma. She's survived the school year, and looking forward to another summer at the Bureau camp when there is a very odd time freeze. Amari isn't frozen along with everyone else, but when the freeze stops, she wants to figure out who is behind it, especially since the entire Supernatural World Congress, including the president, Merlin, is still frozen. In his place, Bane is presiding, and Amari is worried that he will do something evil. Amari still has an uneasy relationship with the Bureau; she's uninvited from summer camp, reinvited, and gets a lot of mixed messages from the staff. Luckily, her friend Elise (who is a weredragon), is with her for camp, although she is going to attend Oxford University in the fall on a scholarship to a special program. Dylan, whom Amari fought in the first book and is a born magician along with Amari, has been imprisoned in the Sightless Depths, so couldn't be behind the freeze, but when he gets out, Amari is worried, especially since he seems to be behind Quinton's curse. The League of Magicians asks Amari to lead them, but she declines, not feeling ready to hold such a position of authority. When Cozmo then offers the position to Dylan, this necessitates a Game. There are elaborate rules for this, and rings which summon the children to a battle ground, and Amari is concerned that she won't win. She's also dealing with a lot at the Bureau's camp, and is partnered with Dylan's sister Laura Van Helsing. She is determined to figure out what happened with the time freeze, learn skills at summer school, and also gets some magical lessons from Maria, all the while hoping that Quinton's curse will be lifted. It's a lot. Will Amari be able to use her powers to save the world THIS summer as well?

N.B. It is important to understand my difficult relationship with fantasy books. Everyone loves this one, but then, everyone loved Harry Potter back in 2000. I was never a Harry Potter fan. So yes, this series is great for fantasy fans, but man, did I struggle to get through this!

Strengths: Amari's magical world is well developed, with all sorts of magical creatures and supernatural beings who all play various roles in keeping the supernatural world hidden from everyone else. There are lots of fun places, classes, and powers. Amari is well known in the supernatural world, and revelling in her newfound powers. She hopes she can learn more, develop her powers, and save her brother. She has difficulties with the Bureau, but also struggles with her place in the League; this vacillating identity will speak to middle grade readers who are interested in what their own place in the world is. I liked the fact that Amari knows she has to fight Dylan because he has been doing evil things, but she also remembers the good times that they spent together. 
Weaknesses: Even as I write this, I can feel the details slipping out of my mind. There were so many things going on, and so many different types of beings, magic, and allegiances, that I just really can't quite solidify them in my mind. This says to me that die hard fantasy fans will absolutely adore this, but readers who don't read a lot of fantasy might want to work their way up to this. There are a lot of magical creatures from lots of different backgrounds, which added to my confusion. 
What I really think: We're seeing a new round of magical academy books like Dumas' Wildseed Witch, Oneyka and the Academy of the Sun, and Clayton's The Marvellers, so if you have readers who need Harry Potter methadone, this is a great book to offer them. 

Ms. Yingling


  1. It can be hard to keep all the details straight in fantasy stories. I'm super excited to read this one.

  2. I appreciate your comments about the details slipping away, I too experienced this a bit while reading Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting.