________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 9 . . . . October 31, 2014


The Unmaking. (The Last Days of Tian Di; Book. Two).

Catherine Egan.
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 2014.
271 pp., trade pbk., pdf, epub & mobi, $12.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-55050-559-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55050-560-3 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-55050-744-7 (epub), ISBN 978-1-55050-745-4 (mobi).

Subject Headings:
Witches-Juvenile fiction.
Good and evil-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5-10 / Ages 10-15.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4


Abimbola’s study overlooked the city of Kalla, the great capital of Central Di Shang. Tonight it was a maze of lights hunched against the November rain. He used to look out over the city in triumph, a self-made king in this kingless republic. But the more you have, Abimbola thought glumly, the more you have to lose. Abimbola’s father had become wildly rich in the early years of the long war, selling fake charms supposed to protect the wearer against Magic. “One man’s tragedy is another man’s opportunity,” his father was wont to say. The lesson was not lost on young Abimbola, who started up a newspaper, peddling horrifying, apocalyptic stories of the havoc wreaked by the Xia Sorceress, her inhuman allies and the treacherous Scarpathians. He outsold all his competitors easily. Within a decade, he owned most of the major news outlets and TV stations in the Republic, as well as stock in a great many other businesses. His finances and multiple businesses were run by people who were eminently competent and, more importantly, terrified of him. Abimbola inflicted anxiety and fear on others as a matter of course. He was not used to experiencing them himself.



The second volume in the series following the first book, Shade and Sorceress, (Vol. XIX, No. 7, Oct. 19, 2012) continues the tale of the teenage schoolgirl turned Shang sorceress-in-training, Eliza, and her conflict with the evil Xia sorceress, Nia. Eliza’s powers are growing, but Nia has escaped from her prison in the Mancer’s fortress and is on the loose, causing havoc and seeking vengeance.

     In her quest, Eliza is joined by her best friend, Nell, who is bored with school, and by Charlie, the shape-shifter. Together, and sometimes separately, they journey to the alternate world of Tian Zia and follow the trail of destruction left by Nia. They are aided by a collection of strange and often magical characters, including an elf warrior and a witch. Even the dragons are on Eliza’s side. Because Eliza is not as powerful as Nia, she must use all the help she can gather to track the powerful sorceress down and try and restrain her. Part of Nia’s strong motivation for the havoc she is causing is her search and desire for the punishment of someone from her past who is also well-known to Eliza. To delay Eliza’s pursuit, Nia sends an almost unstoppable magical monster to kill the young sorceress’ mother.

     The book consists of some 270 pages, plus a one page of acknowledgments and a one page “About the Author,” including a b&w photograph. There are two black and white maps in the front pages, one map of the magical land of Tian Di, and the other of Eliza’s world, Di Shang. The story is divided into 23 chapters.

     Built around an imaginative and complex plot, the story contains well-developed characters that should engage the reader. This book will appeal to young readers who enjoy reading complicated adventure and fantasy tales, magical mythical creatures, and the not-always-straightforward struggle between Good and Evil.


Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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