Format: Hardcover 426 pages
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Modern-day Toronto: Sisters Crystal and Becca Hatcher are reunited after reclaiming the Bronze Codex and narrowly escaping death. They have no one to trust but each other, and the only thing keeping them safe is the book that sent Becca's spirit to Ancient Mytica--the same book that their enemies would kill them for.
Ancient Mytica: Maddox grapples to keep his newly discovered powers under control, while the ruthless goddess Valoria hunts him down.
Modern-day Toronto: Farrell embraces his dark side as he unwittingly falls further under the spell of Markus, the mastermind leader of the nefarious Hawkspear Society, who will stop at nothing to find Crys and Becca--and the remarkable book in their possession.
The Darkest Magic is the second installment in author Morgan Rhodes Spirits and Thieves series. In case you are new to this series, Spirits and Thieves is actually a spin-off from her Falling Kingdom series. The story continues right where A Book of Spirits and Thieves left off. This is a series that swings back and forth between modern day Toronto and Ancient Mytica. There are actually FOUR main characters: Maddox Corso who lives in Mytica; Crystal and Becca Hatcher, who live in modern Toronto along with Farrell Grayson, the rich bad boy who has made a deal with the devil.
Morgan's Ancient Mytica is actually from the time before the Falling Kingdom series began. In this era, the two Goddess Cleiona and Valoria are very much alive. Valoria is the Goddess of Earth, Water, and Wine. Cleiona, who finally makes an appearance in the series, is the Goddess of Fire and Air. Valoria very much wants to get her hands on the offspring of Eva and the only one who might actually be able to stop her is Cleiona. But, who can really trust a powerful Goddess who has made a living from searching for more power?
Maddox is the offspring that everyone is scrambling to find. As a necromancer, he has the ability to see spirits, raise the dead, and kill without a blink. Luckily for Maddox, his father Barnabas is along for the ride and keeps him from doing overly reckless things. But, he's still heading for a dark future if someone like Becca doesn't save him first. Maddox and Barnabas are joined on their journey by a mysterious woman named Liana. I'll stop right there because to go further, would spoil the surprising ending. There are those that are actually bored with Maddox's narrative. I don't count myself as one of them. Maddox, next to Becca perhaps, is the most dangerous of the four main characters. His powers haven't even began to fully wake up.
Back in Toronto, Becca's soul has found itself back in her body thanks to Crystal, and Aaron Grayson after her trip to ancient Mytica where she met Maddox. They, along with their mother, and Aunt Jackie, are hiding away keeping away from the disciples of Markus King the leader of the Hawkspear Society. Becca's connection to The Bronze Codex continues to grow stronger by the day which makes her family a bit nervous. As if there weren't already enough strange and dangerous characters running around, Rhodes adds one that is even more powerful than Markus; Damen Winter.
There has been some interesting comparisons between this series and the Falling Kingdoms. Here is my take. Crystal is Jonas. Even though Crystal has her own unique style and characterization as a photographer, she's not all that powerful and her sauciness opens her up to Farrell's mind games. Her relationship with Farrell is not unlike that of Magnus and Cleo. They hate each other, but end up working together. Like Magnus and Cleo, they might even have feelings for the other if they can move beyond his personality.
Becca to me is definitely more like Lucia than anyone else. We've yet to see Becca's real powers, except for a brief point towards the end, but I think that Rhodes is hiding her true potential from readers. Becca's connection to the Codex makes me think that she will be one of the more important cogs in the story before this series is finished. As I've already discussed Maddox, Farrell is an interesting sort. He's intentionally bound himself to Markus. He's become his second in command, but he hasn't completely lost himself. His mind games with Crystal are just a way to keep the voices in his head from going quite.
The third novel is this series doesn't have a title yet, but the book will release around the same time in 2017. Will be interesting to see how Rhodes ties up the many issues she left hanging with that wicked cliffhanger.