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Strong fantasy sequel,
This review is from: Dangerous Gifts: A Babylon Steel Novel (Paperback)
It's several weeks after BABYLON STEEL and Babylon's got two job offers. Enthemmerlee has become the Itnunnacklish and wants to return to her home plane of Incandress with her husbands to become head of her family and advisor to the Crown. She wants Babylon to act as her bodyguard and train up the family guard while Darask Fain from the Diplomatic Section wants Babylon to spy on the situation in Incandress and report on the fall-out from Enthemmerlee's transformation.
But Babylon's gut is telling her this is a bad job and she's reluctant to leave Scalentine, which is in the middle of a food crisis as prices rise while the Chief has his hands full looking for a serial killer and yet another group is intent on whipping up tensions against non-humans. When circumstances force her to ignore her instincts, she, Darask and a new wizard called Bergast are on their way to Incandress where Babylon must navigate the hostility between the Gudain and Ikinchli, Incandress's complex moral codes and a twisted plot to eradicate Enthemmerlee and everything she stands for ...
Gaie Sebold's fantasy sequel to BABYLON STEEL is another entertaining fantasy novel whose popcorn pacing disguises serious themes of racism and bigotry that lie at the heart of the story. It remains refreshing to have a book follow a more mature woman who's comfortable with sex and who she is and who's also good at her job. I especially like the way Sebold weaves personal relationships against a broader political climate but also brings in elements from Babylon's past. I very much hope that there's a third book in this series because it really deserves one.
Racism and bigotry are front and centre in this book, both on Scalentine and Incandress. Sebold does well at exploring the thinking and emotions that lead to it and the toxic environment that it creates. I particularly liked the mistrust between the Gudain and the Ikinchli and the way that manifests in relation to Enthemmerlee. I would have liked to have seen more about the serial killer storyline, which fades into the background but nevertheless has an obvious culprit and I'd have also enjoyed more interaction between Babylon and the Chief. However it's inevitable in such a plot-rich book that some strands will suffer and the book is not weaker for it and I would recommend checking it out.