Recommended for ages 13+
The second book in Anne M. Pillsworth’s Lovecraft-inspired Redemption’s Heir series, Fathomless, picks up where Summoned leaves off. Sean, having learned his magical heritage, is studying magic with his friend, Eddy, and a new classmate, Daniel, who has secrets of his own. The last time Sean played around with magic, though, all hell broke loose – it turns out that HP Lovecraft was writing fiction based on some pretty real happenings – so his teachers are a bit worried about Sean’s desire to jump right back into spellcasting, especially when an ever darker branch on his family tree makes itself known.
As Eddy and Sean become closer friends with Daniel, though, they find themselves mired deeper and deeper in magic and intrigue. Sean ultimately turns to Reverend Orne one more time for help – the same Reverend Orne who was responsible for Sean’s magical awakening and the fallout that followed. Family secrets and Lovecraftian beings abound in this continuing story, with plenty of intrigue and magic for everyone. If your teens have moved on from Harry Potter but haven’t dipped a toe into Lev Grossman’s The Magicians yet, this is the book for them. It’s Arkham without the mind-bending madness.
Sean is an interesting character. He’s a kid trying to figure out his place in the magical world, and he’s fully aware that the grownups in his life are either keeping things from him or holding him back. Eddy is a good sidekick – she’s more reasonable but isn’t above bending a rule or two to help her friends out, and Daniel’s the most intriguing character of all, with a family history shrouded in secrecy and magic and a conflicted relationship with both parents for very different reasons. I’d love to see a book focus on Daniel’s beginnings, maybe even a short story, along the lines of “Geldman’s Pharmacy”, set in the same world as the Redemption’s Heir adventures. (nudge, nudge)
A familiarity with HP Lovecraft isn’t necessary to enjoy this book, but reading the first book in the series is recommended. Definitely have some HP Lovecraft on hand for readers who want to learn more – his work is available for free via the H.P. Lovecraft Archive, and any library worth its salt will have at least one copy of his work.