Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference events in the first book. If you haven’t started this series yet check out VBC’s review of book 1, The Golden City.
After solving the mystery/murders of the houses under the sea, Oriana was called back to her people. She promised Duilio she would return. That was two weeks ago and he’s heard nothing from her. His talent tells him that Oriana is anything but safe and secure, but he has no idea where to even start looking for her.
Besides worrying over Oriana, Duilio’s cousin Joaquim requires his assistance in uncovering a series of mysterious murders and disappearances occurring throughout the Golden City. Duilio is drawn even further into the investigation when it is discovered one of the missing girls is part of his brother Erdano’s selkie harem. Now he has to discover if the girl being a selkie was just a coincidence or if she was taken for a specific reason.
J. Kathleen Cheney does a good job of making Oriana’s whereabouts foremost in everyone’s mind, even with the missing/murdered girls. Finding out where Oriana is drives the first part of the book, but I think it’s safe enough to say that Oriana does return. I’ll try to keep the details of Oriana’s return under wraps as much as possible, but it may prove a difficult task seeing as how much of the mystery involving the missing girls and Oriana’s own confinement are linked together, which also turns out to be my biggest complaint about the book. I oftentimes found the coincidences and links to be a little too convenient (people happening to be in the same place at the same time with the same connections). But when I step back and look at the bigger picture of what’s going on I suppose I can be forgiving if some happenstance feels a little too plotted out because The Seat of Magic did keep my attention very well.
Something I can talk about with little censor is Duilio and Oriana’s relationship. I was very happy with the progression of things between them in this book. The attraction, even hesitantly, was there in The Golden City, but was very reserved for society’s sake. Neither Duilio nor Oriana knows what the future will bring, but they are both in agreement that they don’t want to waste time waiting. Where the conundrum comes in is the fact that Oriana is a sereia, and they both end up going about the courtship in different ways. One of the best things about the series so far is that Oriana is treated as an equal to Duilio and all the other men of authority so why shouldn’t she be the pursuer in regards to courting Duilio? I love the way it all plays out.
The Seat of Magic is a very pivotal book in the series because it ties up a lot of story threads started in The Golden City. Certain events cause unavoidable changes, and I’m interested to find out what the general feelings are towards said changes. It prepares for our characters to go off on new assignments and adventures, which will hopefully lead us away from The Golden City and to sereia land, which is something I’ve wanted to happen for two books now.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex