By Amy Kuivalainen
The Sea of the Dead is book two of The Magicians of Venice trilogy, so while this review doesn’t contain any spoilers, being the second in the series, it will contain spoilers (and a wrap up) for book one. If you haven’t read that and are interested, check out my review for The Immortal City instead.
At the end of book one, Alexis and the other magicians have won the battle to save Venice against Thevetat and his followers, though at a cost. Penelope has decided to stay and is now the new Archivist, having swallowed some of Nereus’ magic on accepting the role. Book two opens mere days (two weeks max) after the close of book one.
One of Penelope’s friend Tim is an archaeologist, as obsessed with the Dead Sea as she was of Atlantis. He finds a scroll behind a hidden section in a cave he has been excavating, goes a little mad (is there a curse on the scroll) and ends up posting the scroll to Penelope with the message to keep it safe. The scroll turns out to be a prophecy that is linked to both Thevetat and the Atlantean magicians (can you say coincidence?). By the time Penelope gets the scroll, Tim is missing and when Penelope rings her old flatmate, and Tim’s ex, Carolyn, concern for Tim increases and Carolyn hops on a plane to join in the search for him – which will take them to Tel Aviv, from where he posted the scroll.
Penelope, Carolyn and the magicians must find Tim before Thevetat does, take their next steps in finding and defeating Thevetat’s followers, and decipher the prophecy which appears to hold a clue as to how they can ultimately banish/kill Thevetat. At the same time, Penelope tries to hide the truth of the magicians and her “new job” from Carolyn. And Carolyn shows her true nature as not a true friend – instead as someone who wants to be the friend who shines and less so when Penelope is thriving.
This book wasn’t as good as the first book but it was interesting to see how the story progressed and the further development of the relationship between Penelope and Alexis. My favourite part of the book though included the interaction between Alexis and the basically-immortal cat. I’m interested to see where the story goes, and I’m hoping the conclusion ends up landing. But on the whole this is an easy-read series that is enjoyable, but is never going to be a favourite or anything special. But not all books/series need to be – I own (and reread) potato chip books for a reason.