Book Review: Bonnie Wynne ups the ante in The Price of Magic sequel, A Wind From the Rift

Gwyn just wants to go home. After months of imprisonment, first in the Clockwork City’s Bird Tower prison, then its horrific Charnel Vaults, her control over her magic is weakening, and the sooner she’s safe amongst friends, the better. But the Mancers of the Syndicate have come to a decision.

Too dangerous to be freed, too valuable to kill, a third option presents itself. Enroll Gwyn in the Syndicate and train her as one of their own.

But as the rumour of a sorceress in their midst spreads amongst the students, Gwyn finds that their distrust of her is the least of her worries. A Scion, one of five released by Gwyn herself, is preparing to attack, and Gwyn has no plans to be in the Clockwork City when he does.

A Wind from the Rift is a fast-paced, bloody, and gripping YA high fantasy from author Bonnie Wynne. Building on the impressive and expansive lore of The Ninth Sorceress, this sequel is darker still, with Gwyn’s frightening powers growing ever more unpredictable.

Once again framed by interludes that give brief glimpses of a worrying future event, A Wind from the Rift keeps readers on its toes much like its predecessor did. And, there’s more than a few stings in the tail (figuratively and otherwise) between its pages too.

Loss of self features keenly in the novel, as Gwyn tries to balance who she was with who she might become. New friendships at the Syndicate pull her one way, old faces in another. And, underneath it all, the bubbling red magic that sends her careening towards a fate too terrible to contemplate. It’s all handled well by Wynne, who nimbly leads her young heroine down a truly perilous path.

Alongside fantastic world-building, Wynne also shows a great flair for writing what can only be termed as magical carnage. Pain, blood, and destruction reign from the get-go, as dark forces come to the fore. It’s unnerving and uncomfortable – in all the right ways – and a skill for pacing makes the sheer excess of the final chapters admittedly a lot, but never overwhelming.

There’s an odd repetitive streak to chapter closes, with Gwyn (and occasionally other characters) blacking out – whether from pain, emotion, or magical overexertion. But, that’s just a minor gripe in a fine fantasy work that is building momentum with each publication.

One to tout as a solid YA introduction to the often heavy world of high fantasy, Bonnie Wynne’s The Price of Magic series is already going from strength to strength. Well-paced, exciting, and with just the right amount of blood soaking the pages, A Wind from the Rift is a great follow-up to The Ninth Sorceress, and leaves plenty dangling ahead of the next installment.

Bonnie Wynne’s A Wind from the Rift is out now, published by Talem Press.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.
Review originally published by The AU Review on 05/11/20

View my review policies here

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