“Being good is a choice, and it’s one you have to keep making.”
So Maria Van Helsing tells Amari, and this theme is threaded throughout the book as Amari, surrounded by enemies, old and new, must choose between right and wrong, being selfless or self-interested, or showing forgiveness and mercy to those she has reason to resent.
Amaria and the Great Game is the second book in the series by B.B. Alston. I really enjoyed the first book (see my review here) so I was happy to revisit the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. The story opens many months after book one. It’s almost time for summer camp, and Amari is looking forward to returning, this time as a junior agent. Unfortunately for her, a time freeze occurs on the last day of ordinary school term, a freeze that lasts only for a few seconds for everyone except Amari (who is not affected by it) and the Supernatural World Congress (who remain frozen indefinitely). The new prime minister Bane (formerly Deputy, fortunately not at the council meeting that day) is convinced that magicians are responsible and so is determined to root out all “unwanteds”(supernaturals who fought on the Night Brothers side in the ancient war as well as magicians, including Amari). Meanwhile the secret League of Magicians is pressurising Amari, as one of only two born magicians, to take the crown of magicians and engage in a war with Bane. When she refuses, she is faced with the Great Game, a fight to the death for the crown against the other living born magician, her adversary from book one. On top of that, her brother Quinton is still in a coma, her best friend Elsie is moving to England, and she is forced to partner with her tormentor from book one. Will she manage to win the game, solve the time freeze, save her brother and protect the unwanteds, and sort out her own status at the bureau?
Amari and the Great Game is another hugely enjoyable story from this author. The Bureau of Supernatural Affairs has a huge Men in Black vibe, which I love. B.B. Alston skilfully depicts this world with its magic and array of unworldly creatures, from zombies to aliens to wraiths, and my disbelief remained suspended to the end. Amari is a wonderful heroine, Elsie a super best friend, and I loved that Jayden, Amari’s neighbourhood friend from book one, has now joined the bureau. Although the identity of the antagonist won’t surprise, the method and means are fun to discover, and I particularly like Amari’s relationship with each of the Van Helsing siblings. The ending left me eager for book three.
TOTP and I hugely recommend this series and award Amari and the Great Game 9 out of 10 Diamonds