This stellar sequel to The Cabinet of Wonders surpasses its predecessor by navigating the intelligent fantasy adventure outside 16th-century Bohemia and deepening the scope of its magic. After an attack, feisty 13-year-old Petra's mind connection to British spy John Dee enables him to rescue her to London through a "Loophole" that allows instant time-space travel. Another Loophole casts two supporting players into central roles when her childhood friend and magician Tomik passes to Portugal only to be captured by Roma pirates, including Petra's friend Neel. These pirates possess one of two magical globes and are searching for the second; combined, they offer "the power to guide anyone through hundreds of Loopholes." Their quest leads back to Petra and pits them against Bohemia's evil Prince Rodolfo and a complex web of British traitors. Using a winning combination of history and magic, Rutkoski builds on what worked in the first novel and heightens the stakes, as Petra matures under Dee's enigmatic tutelage. Strong characters and fast-paced plotting let this compelling installment stand independently, but the ending will leave readers eager for the next. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)[Page 132]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5-8--This historical fantasy, a follow-up to The Cabinet of Wonders (Farrar, 2008), brings magic and mystery to life. When British spy John Dee, advisor to Queen Elizabeth, spirits young Petra Kronos away from Prince Rodolfo's monsters in Bohemia, Petra's only concern is returning home to London and rescuing her father. Instead, Dee keeps her captive and trains her as both a magician and a spy. On the other side of the world, Petra's friends Neel and Tomik unwillingly join forces to find not only Petra but also the Celestial Globe. Evil Prince Rodolfo also seeks the Globe, half of a set that reveals mysterious pathways through the world. Petra and the other characters have matured, and romance begins to play a role, but friendship and adventure remain at the forefront. While the multiple narratives dilute the action somewhat, the fantastical journey of Tomik and Neel, and Petra's struggles with her captor, her education, and her love interest will engage fans of the first book and bring new readers to the series. An author's note (cunningly penned by Astrophil, Petra's clockwork spider) explains which characters and events are rooted in historical fact.--Karen E. Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA[Page 167]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.