Douglass absolutely enchants with her world of magic and monsters right outside your front door. Set against the backdrop of World War II, in London from 1939-1941, this book shows the true horror of the Troy Game.
Catling is the game incarnate, and she holds Grace Orr prisoner in her own body through a hex she placed on Grace as a child -- by keeping Grace unaware of her power and of her importance. Catling torments her and, by doing so, those around her -- including Jack Skeleton, who has returned to London after hundreds of years of isolation in America. He is bombarded with all of the memories and friends, lovers and enemies from his past lives. They are all there to end the game and stop Catling, but Jack discovers Grace, not just the key to the game, but the woman who is the key to his heart.
The characters are so full of layers that it's impossible to walk away from them. Readers may have the urge to skip ahead, but they'll be glad if they go page by page, absorbing all of the details and struggles at the same pace as the characters. Even if one has not read any of the other books in the Troy Game series, it's easy to follow the lives of each character and to visualize all that they bring to life with magic. Readers will fall in love with Jack, grow strong like Grace and maybe even conquer a little demon or two in the process. (May, 608 pp., $27.95)