The second book in the Gateways to Alissia series where a stage magician from our modern world travels to a world where magic actually works!

Publication year: 2017
Format: ebook
Page count: 317
Publisher: Harper Voyager

I got an eARC from the publisher. Thanks!

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, the Rogue Retrieval, and this sequel didn’t disappoint. However, you really need to read that first book before diving into this one.

Quinn Bradley is a stage magician who had dreamed his whole life of getting to perform on the big stages in Las Vegas. Now, he’s finally made it: a slot on Bellagio Casino. However, when an agent from CASE Global asks him to come back, Quinn doesn’t hesitate to agree.

CASE Global is one of the big international corporations and it has found a gateway to another world, called Alissia. It’s all top secret but the company has been sending people to spy on Alissia for 15 years. But then their top operative and Alissa expert, Dr. Richard Holt, defected. He disappeared into Alissia with a backpack full of modern technology. Now, he has reappeared – as the head of the most powerful country in that world. Of course, the company wants him taken out. But that’s not easy because Holt has friends all over the place and now even real wizards ensuring his safety.

Quinn and his friends from the first book return: anthropologist Veena Chaudri is as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as before and the tough soldiers, Lieutenant Kiara and Paul Logan, continue to kick ass when needed. They’re joined by another soldier Julio Mendez who instantly likes Chaudri and the feelings are mutual. Their mission is to locate and capture Holt and the advanced tech he has. But to do that, they need to gather information. Quinn’s specific mission is to get back to the Enclave, where the local magicians live and train, and set a beacon in it so that the company can find the place. Soon, they find information which forces the group to divide with Quinn, Chaudri, and Mendez going one way while Kiara and Logan go another. Also, when Quinn finds a way to maybe get into the magicians’ island, he has to go there alone.

The story has three point-of-view characters: Quinn, Logan, and Chaudri. They have communication devices so they can keep up with each other. They’re all also important to the plot and the pacing is pretty quick. They’re all likable and interesting.

Quinn is starting to get second thoughts about fulfilling his mission and he gets mixed up in the Enclave’s politics which could be very dangerous. He’s fascinated by real magic. Even though he has come up with interesting gadgets to mimic magic, now that he knows the real thing is possible, nothing else with do. As in the first book, he’s glib and charming, quick to smile and joke.

Near the start of the story, Kiara gives Mendez an order to kill one a spy from a rivaling company. This doesn’t sit well with Logan even though he doesn’t question his loyalty to CASE Global. Also, Chaudri has to struggle with her own conscience.

The vast majority of the story is set in Alissia. Still, all the major characters are from our modern world, so we get a lot of contrast between the Renaissance like world and our world which I liked. The team has lots of modern tech with them, from binoculars disguised as opera glasses to tablets disguised as books. Logan drills Quinn and the others in combat but Quinn is much better with a bow than a sword because Quinn’s grandfather taught him how to use it.

The Alissian people aren’t depicted as being ignorant or backwards which was good. Some of them are good, some of them are pirates looking for loot. This time, the group uses bribes more than their weapons.

The story does end in a couple of cliffhangers so I’m hoping the third book will be out quickly.