Recently, I read New Tricks by John Levitt. This is the sequel to Dog Days which I previously reviewed. The short version is, I liked it. John retained the bits that I really liked in Dog Days and many of the things I didn't care for weren't present in this book. There were a few new things I wasn't fond of, but this is a good, solid sequel to the first.
This still isn't a book for Fluffy. Like the first and by the nature of this book, animals get hurt. Somewhat more graphically in this one, but that puts it well out of her reading range. Which is fine for me, because I thought the scenes were integral to the plot and not gratuitous. In this case, the horror of those scenes actually hits a lot harder than the first.
People get hurt in this story also. I found the human suffering scenes to be briefer than the animals, but they also didn't have the emotional impact that John built up throughout the story. You really feel for the spirit animals, the ifrits. Just not as much with the humans.
There is a fair amount of relationships in this book. I can't honestly say I felt anything for them. The romance was somewhat bland. Characters with a history together, even after a few years, didn't really connect in any aspect. Part of it was the plot itself, but I felt that John didn't really show that history.
Now, the new relationships, those were nice and raw, when they dealt with the main character. There is a wonderful sense of newness in his interactions, with interesting characters and quirks. The know-it-all showed up and was cryptic, but I really can't describe how much I don't like insufferable know-it-alls who won't tell things. Beside that, there were nice reveals of people's personalities and the little details really add to the story. Mr. Levitt also did a nice job of showing the dark magic users as "not evil" which I do appreciate. It is a trend continued from the last book and it is developed nicely in here.
The new revelations in the world's cosmology are very nice. I like it as the main character finds out more about the world and things behind the relatively limited area of the first. It shows depths in world building and a lot of promise in future books.
This is also a book where people don't magically heal from their wound, physically or mentally. While this is a trait that Fluffy isn't fond of, I really enjoy it. We are a combination of our pasts and I think this book really works on showing that.
One of the questions in the first book pops up in this book: where do ifrits come from? It got kind of annoying in places, because it seems like every single person in the world keeps asking that question. While it is developed better here, and I like the cosmology behind it, the question itself got tedious.
I still liked the story. John's writing style is very easy for me, I can lose myself in the words for a couple hours and come out feeling like I didn't waste my time. I've re-read parts of it already, as I like to do, and I still enjoy it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes their urban fiction a bit on the dark side, but I would highly recommend they read Dog Days first.