Format: E-Galley, 307 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2016 Book
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
A boy with seven days to live. An ancient curse. And one girl with the power to stop it.
Hunted by Dark Alchemy and forced to leave their homes to protect their families, Taylor Montclair and Sacha Winters have arrived at Oxford’s St Wilfred’s College. Surrounded by Alchemists sworn to protect them, they are safe for now.
But time is short. In seven days Sacha will turn 18, and the ancient curse that once made him invincible will kill him. And unleash a wave of destruction on the earth. Sacha and Taylor need answers – fast.
When the safety of the college is breached, the alchemists are faced with a terrifying possibility. Could the source of the darkness be one of their own?
Sacha and Taylor’s only chance is to go to where the curse was first cast - the medieval French city of Carcassonne. There they will face the darkest alchemy the world has ever seen, armed with only the power of their bloodlines. In Carcassonne, this will end.
The Secret City is the second installment in authors CJ Daugherty & Carina Rozenfeld's The Alchemist Chronicles. The story picks up (3) weeks after the ending of The Secret Fire. For those who may be new to this series, welcome. This series focuses on two main characters. Sacha Winters and Taylor Montclair. Sacha and Taylor have only 7 days to find a way to solve the curse that will kill Sacha on his 18th birthday and unleash a Demon on Earth. His only real hope in all things that really matter may be Taylor, who has learned that she may be one of the more powerful Alchemists currently living thanks to being a descendant of Isabelle. the originator of the curse against Sacha's descendants 300 years ago.
Taylor has little time to find a way to eliminate the curse that could not only kill Sacha, but unleash hell on earth thanks to the machinations of one Mortimer Pierce. She not only has to take a crash course in Alchemy, but also learn how to learn to fight against the monsters that may come for her and Sacha again. Sacha's life depends on Taylor learning everything she possibly can, from as many sources as she can, before time runs out for Sacha. While Taylor is learning, Sacha is feeling like a third wheel and chafes against the restrictions placed on him. Sacha and Taylor are connected through the most intriguing party. Not necessarily goodness, but perhaps a bit of darkness that may set them on a difficult path.
Pierce refuses to let them have Five minutes, let alone Seven days to find a way to destroy the curse and save the day. By attacking the school, and nearly killing or capturing Sacha and Taylor, he sends a message loud and clear that he can not be easily defeated. If you read the first book, that was the missing piece of the puzzle as to who was responsible for wanting to get their hands on Sacha. Now that Sacha, Taylor, and the Alchemists at St. Wilfred's College, including Louisa and Alastair, know who they are facing, it becomes even more important to stay ahead of Pierce and ensure that he doesn't get his hands on Sacha. A path that leads Taylor, Sacha, Louisa, and Alastair into a face to face fight to the death against Pierce in a small town in France called Carcassonne.
I really like Taylor and Sacha together. Brought together by strange circumstances, they have more than made up for being from different countries (England vs France). Sacha is one of the more intriguing characters because of the fact that he literally can not die. Oh sure, plenty have tried, but he keeps coming back to life. I like that Taylor isn't head strong where she believes she is better than Sacha. They are linked by friendship, by love, and by fate. I loved that the authors gave Louisa a narrative in this book. Her relationship with Sacha and Taylor may not be what you might think, but I dare say she has some respect for them. She even has her own romantic interlude with Alastair and may I just say, Hell Yes!
The Secret City ends with little or no questions left over for another book in this series, plus a surprising twist that I totally did not see coming. So, I am not sure at this time whether or not the authors or publisher intend to release a third installment. If I get an update, I shall update this review.