A few months ago, I had a conversation on Twitter with JL Clayton (@JLClaytonBooks) and since then, she has become a lovely friend. The magic of social media! Having read her first two books in the Chosen Saga, A Spark of Magic and A Blaze of Magic, in quick succession, casting aside another sequel from another author that I had been eagerly awaiting, I was really keen to see where she would take Charlie and her band of lust-filled boys on her magical journey.
I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Clayton has developed Charlie from the obstinate, innocent teenager of book one to a determined, feisty young lady in book three. That’s not to say that Charlie has fully evolved into someone who knows what she wants and goes for it, but she has most certainly made a progression from book one and two, as she becomes more aware of her powers and what she can do with them.
At the end of A Blaze of Magic, Nikko was struck by a spell by the evil Kate and Charlie unsuccessfully tried to revive him, instead making him a ghost who was tethered to Charlie’s magic. In A Ghost of Magic, Nikko is getting used to life as a ghost while Charlie is determined to try and find a solution to his ghostly state. However, Nikko is just one of her worries as Crispin, the Traveller, looms large. Disguised as new boy, Cris, he weaves his way into Charlie’s life in order to gain her powers and toy with her along the way. As he manipulates her friends and manages to quell any suspicions raised about who he really is, Crispin finds himself fighting a burgeoning feeling of affection for Charlie.
Clayton’s real talent is in the way she changes the narrative voice to suit each character so that they could have been written by different authors, they are all so distinctive. In this book, the story is told in turn by Nikko, Charlie and Crispin. Clayton doesn’t try and make Nikko and Charlie appear older than they are. Whilst they are on the cusp of adulthood, their naivety is displayed through the narrative, whereas Crispin is more formal, an adult in every sense of the word.
There is a real sense throughout the book that this book is a build up to something big and although there are climactic episodes in A Ghost of Magic, it still feels like this is an ongoing journey and certainly the ending of the book leaves more questions than answers, which is a good way to leave it when, as I understand it, this will be a four book series. Clayton keeps the reader gripped throughout as Charlie is duped on regular occasions then enlightened to her powers and to those surrounding her.
The men in Charlie’s life play the largest presence as Tru, Jace, Asher and Crispin fight for Charlie’s affections. I have my own opinion on who Charlie should end up with but time will tell! That’s assuming that these suitors really are in love with her and not being drawn to her by magical means. However, I think that this will be addressed in the next book. At least, I hope so!
Ultimately, this book is a rollercoaster journey between the mortal and magical worlds. Clayton navigates Charlie through her confusion over her powers and emotions by juxtaposing Charlie’s ever-changeable thoughts to Crispin stoic determination and arrogance that he reigns supreme. Clayton has answered questions raised by A Blaze of Magic and left plenty of questions to be answered in the next book. I, for one, can’t wait to read it.