Locked away inside the fortified walls of Oxford’s St Wilfred’s College, surrounded by alchemists sworn to protect them, Taylor and Sacha are safe from the Darkness. For now.
But time is short. In seven days Sacha will turn 18, and the ancient curse that once made him invincible will kill him, unleashing unimaginable demonic horror upon the world.
There is one way to stop it.
Taylor and Sacha must go to where the curse was first cast – the medieval French city of Carcassonne – and face the demons.
The journey will be dangerous. And monsters are waiting for them.
But as Darkness descends on Oxford, their choice is stark. They must face everything that scares them or lose everything they love.
The Secret City picks right up where The Secret Fire left off, with Taylor learning how to control her magic while she and Sascha and the alchemists of St Winifred’s are searching for the key to breaking Sascha’s curse.
There’s a lot more action in this one when Taylor and Sascha have to race through France to Carcassone to beat a villain who is trying to raise a demon. It felt like the ending was rushed – they found the solution all at once and then it seemed to be over very quickly but the rest of the book was exciting without moving too fast. There was time to get to know the characters and I loved following them on their journey through France. Their relationship is sweet, they don’t fall in love at first sight, and they are very likeable both separately and together.
The villain though was cartoonish and underwhelming. He wasn’t fleshed out enough, and if I don’t know the villain’s motivations it’s difficult for me to see them as actual people or to find them threatening. He was just something and nothing that popped up every so often to leer at them a bit.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this. It’s interesting and a bit different and exciting enough to hold it’s own against the more obvious series in this genre. I want to know more about the alchemist society though and life at St Winifred’s!