Theo completes his quest for the sage doctor in the forest and retrieves medicine for Mia, but the doctor reveals that Mia has magic that she needs to learn to control if she is going to survive. He tells Theo she needs to find a magician who can train her to control her powers. Theo has a theory that one might be living in the City of Merchants, Karatope, and he offers to travel with Mia. They gather provisions, supplies, and set out to see if Theo is correct. Along the way, they are swept up by a kindly family who harvest the nectar of flowers, and they reveal that one can only enter Karatope with an approved merchant pass. Theo and Mia exchange a day's work for this pass, and finally find themselves within the walls of the city. A few well-worded questions lead them to a fortune teller, who may know more about magic, but refuses to even hear them out.
Theo and Mia are so sweet together, and I'm glad it was addressed that they might be assaulted by bad guys the way they were setting up their tent right by the road and not keeping a watch. Where did these kids learn to travel?? The world Nicke has created is really interesting and beautiful. I appreciate the "logic" of it. Karatope is a city built on commerce, and Theo realizes his questions about a magician aren't going to lead to anyone because he's not thinking like a merchant. He changes tactics and gets results. Details like that make a world more real than if Theo was just led to the right person from the get-go.
I wish the entire volume was color watercolors, as the black and white illustrations are beautiful but could be amazing as watercolors. There is a little bit of a rough quality to them, but it makes the illustrations unique from other manga titles.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy
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