GAME OF CAGES
In this second entry of the Twenty Palaces series, the action is fast and furious as Ray confronts a slew of trigger-happy, nasty people, some armed with magic, some with guns. Despite the slam-bam action, the plot crawls along initially, developing so slowly that the book begins to feel claustrophobic and repetitive before finally bursting free. Connolly handles the noir aspects well, and Ray is an interesting anti-hero, conflicted about his role in society and the choices it forces on him. Readers unfamiliar with Ray’s previous adventure, however, will possibly struggle with this book, as Connolly provides little in the way of backstory for new readers.
Three days before Christmas, Twenty Palaces member Ray Lilly is summoned to assist another member with an emergency. Neither is properly equipped to cope with what they find in tiny Washaway: a once-captive alien predator due to be auctioned has escaped and is causing mayhem throughout the town, and the auction attendees are heavily armed and willing to kill anyone who attempts to capture or destroy it. (DEL REY, Sep., 338 pp., $7.99)