Whenever I start the second or later book in a series, I have a dilemma. Do I go back and re-read the first book(s), or just dive right into the latest release?
To help readers with this, I include a summary of the previous books. I try to make these funny, and have done this for all my novels.
BE WARNED! If you haven’t read the books being summarized, there are massive spoilers on these pages!
You can read the rest of the summaries at magitechchronicles.com/previously-on.
Let’s get to it.
In an announcer’s voice: Last time on The Magitech Chronicles…
Nefarius opened with the Talon being ambushed by a fleet of black ships as they enter the Umbral Depths at Shaya. I decided to write the ambush because if I don’t open with some action I’ll get hate mail, but also because it needed to underscore something you’d see repeatedly throughout the book.
Talifax and his minions are everywhere. They have thought of every eventuality. They’ve carefully manipulated the Krox and the Confederacy into &*%-punching each other for decades, so they’d be both weak and dependent on the Inurans. It worked smashingly well, and neither side has ever suspected a thing.
Anyway, Aran and the company win the engagement, but Aran does so by draining magic from the Inuran flagship in the same way the black ships do. This terrifies the crew, especially Crewes, because draining magic is what demons do.
That gives Aran a lot to think about as they fly to Neith’s world. Aran is hoping to find some answers there. Who is Xal? What is Aran’s connection to him, and does Nara share that connection?
Aran meets with Neith, who answers some of his questions. She confirms that a Hound of Xal exists to devour magic, and then to return it to their master. Since his master is dead, Aran will simply have to use the magic to resurrect him.
She asks Aran why Xal allowed himself to be killed. Surely he must have had a plan. Aran still isn’t sure what that is, but the idea that it involves him coming back seems likely. Spoilers, that shit is going down, yo.
Anyway, Neith confirms that Nefarius is a way worse threat than Krox, and that Aran should start with that. She also suggests Aran head back to Virkon, both because the author needed an excuse to write about samurai-dragon people again, and because it is time to wake Virkonna and get her in on the war.
Meanwhile, Voria says goodbye to Ducius, and we see that Shaya is recovering, but severely underpopulated after the devastating war.
We flip over to Nebiat, who is trying to get information out of Krox on how she can directly interact with the universe. Krox recommends that she create a guardian. They are powerful agents, and can go many places a god would fear to send an avatar directly.
Nebiat approaches her son Kaho, who is still aboard the Spellship. He tells her to screw off, because she’s Nebiat and he’s seen her screw overly literally everyone she’s ever talked to. Okay, not literally, but pretty close.
Next Nebiat tries Frit, who also tells her to screw off. But by this point the reader has also seen that Frit is terribly unhappy. Nara doesn’t have time for her, and she’s lonely…and vulnerable.
We swap to Voria and Nara who have a plan to maybe save Ternus. It’s convoluted, so we know right off the bat it’s going to fail. Voria grabs another habitable planet in the system, and moves it into synchronous orbit with Ternus.
She tries to move the last surviving refugees off, about two million of them, but Talifax totally trolls her and disintegrates the planet. Worse, he does it in a way to make it look like Voria did it. Ternus exiles her, and every news cycle is devoted to how terrible she is.
Talifax sits behind it all, laughing. He’s very good at that. He meets with Skare and we get a “is production on schedule” trope, where the reader realizes that the ritual to resurrect Nefarius is being prepared. The cover sort of gives that away, though, to be fair.
We complete our bad guy interlude chapters with Skare and Governor Austin meeting. Skare offers vague assurances that they can fix their planet if they had the right magic. And, even if they don’t want to use it, they should deny it to their enemies.
The people of Ternus are angry, and swallow this line, empowering Austin to get the fleet built and strengthened in time for the *dun dun dun* dark ritual.
We flash to the Ternus fleet over Marid, and they just wreck Drakkon and his children. He calls Voria for help, and she comes to save him…in full view of the Ternus cameras. This cements their view of her as a traitor since she’s helping a dragon they claim is a menace.
She retreats to Virkon, where Aran is already chilling. Speaking of….
Aran arrives on Virkon, and Cerberus, the giant door dog/dragon who guards Virkon, is excited to see him. Aran lands and heads to the council chamber where he had an audience with the Wyrms before.
They give him some lip, which he’s over, so he uses void to smack their emissary around. This gets exactly the type of attention he’s after, which is the fastest way to wake Virkonna.
Afterwards Astria, Aran’s sister, approaches and asks if Aran will be a spokesperson for Please Don’t Treat Outriders Like Crap. She says that he can change the way dragons view humans, and urges him to help.
He refuses the call, but don’t worry, he’ll get forced into it later.
Meanwhile, Voria is officially welcomed to Virkon at a party, where Voria catches her up on the Krox/Nefarius situation. Voria is frustrated, because she wants to deal with Nebiat and Krox but feels like her hands are tied.
We flash back to Frit, who is feeling increasingly isolated, and we already know what’s going to happen. She accepts Nebiat’s offer of having a real home and power. Nebiat convinces her that she’s changed, and we, the readers, gave a collective eye roll, ‘cause…Nebiat.
Meanwhile, Aran and Nara reach the Crucible, where they find Inura and Kazon hard at work building a giant golden mech, because why doesn’t this series already have mechs? Anyway, after our reunion, Inura gives them the middle finger and says that Voria can handle waking Virkonna, and to stop interrupting his work.
Voria performs the ritual, and Virkonna wakes. In the process, she rips free of the planet and kills tens of thousands of citizens. Aran is horrified, and finally sees that his sister is right. The humans need a champion.
After Virkonna wakes, she starts taking job applications for guardian. Much to our shock (we’re not shocked), Aran kicks the crap out of all of them. It was one of the most fun scenes I’ve ever written, with Virkonna constructing a mini “system” and them having to protect a replica of a planet.
Prior to the fight, we had a montage scene with Aran and his company training under Drakkon, so we expected some badassery.
After the fight, Virkonna offers to make Aran guardian and he refuses. He takes her to task for killing her own Outriders during her rise. She makes him guardian anyway, and gives him a bunch more air magic, because Aran totally didn’t have enough power.
Meanwhile, Frit finally agrees to take Nebiat’s offer. Nebiat gives her a MASSIVE amount of fire magic. She doesn’t just make her a guardian. She turns Frit into a full goddess. Krox is utterly pissed, but Nebiat maintains that it was the right decision. We get that she has some secret plan, but not what it is.
Frit goes to the world Nebiat, which of course she named after herself. Nebiat’s children are thriving and building a culture. Frit loves it, and loves that she gets to be a part of it. Nebiat’s bait is perfect, because now Frit has something to protect.
Frit does return to the Spellship one last time to say goodbye to Nara, and to get a vital piece of information. Nebiat has commanded her to find Neith, despite not even knowing the spider-goddess’s name.
Frit realizes that the coordinates to Neith’s world must be in the Old Texas’s computers. If she can scry that moment, then maybe she can find the world. She tries, and it is a good plan, but Neith’s geas (super powerful spell) fights her. The resulting explosion destroys the Mirror of Shaya.
Voria is not happy. She and Frit get into a divine battle, which stops only because neither wants to destroy the Spellship. Voria banishes Frit and says they are enemies now. Frit leaves and her face is all =(.
We flip over to Talifax, who is overseeing the ritual of resurrection at the Fist of Trakalon. For those keeping score, Trakalon was a titan, one of the eldest gods. His fist is the magic that will fuel Nefarius’s ascension, if our heroes can’t stop it.
During the conversation we see that Skare has some new super armor that absorbs all magic, and makes him effectively invincible against mages. Totally not going to have to fight that at the end, of course.
Meanwhile, Frit finally makes it to Neith’s world, and Neith offers to make her an apprentice. Thanks to Nebiat, Frit is one of the finest fire dreamers in existence, or will be once she’s trained. Frit is incredibly gifted at scrying and divination, which will be very important in Godswar.
Frit returns to Nebiat, and pleads with her to work with Voria against Nefarius and Krox. There is no need to be at war. Nebiat laughs, and tells Frit that, like it or not, they are at war. There can be no peace.
Annddd we’re back to Aran, Nara, and Crewes. The Talon is ready. We’re going to ride on the Fist and stop Talifax and Skare! There’s just one more problem.
It turns out Virkonna has a lot of pride. She tries to get Voria to fall in line, and we all know Voria. That’s not happening, especially not after Virkonna casually killed thousands of her own people.
So Virkonna puts Voria on time out and says she can’t come to the battle of the Fist. Voria reluctantly translocates to Drifter Rock, because who wouldn’t need a beer after dealing with Virkonna?
Virkonna rallies the rest of her troops and attacks Skare at the Fist. Any guesses on how this plays out? Yeah, not good for the heroes. Skare has a massive fleet of black ships waiting. Most of those ships are involved in the ritual, but enough are left over to hold off the heroes.
Virkonna tries to push to the fist, but Talifax executes a vicious spell and hits Inura with about 50 disintegrates through a series of opening and closing Fissures. Drakkon gets geeked too. Our heroes are losing. A powerful life goddess sure would come in handy.
Aran pulls off some crazy stuff with the Talon, and they blow up a bunch of ships, but it isn’t slowing down the ritual. He crashes the Talon through the rear of the Dragon Skull, the flagship of the Inuran fleet.
They slog their way through the Inuran’s new cyborgs, and eventually get into a boss fight with Skare in his new suit of super-spellarmor. During the fight the company suffers their first real casualty, which caught a lot of readers by surprise.
Skare kills Kezia, though the company quickly claims vengeance. They trash the inside of the Dragon Skull, but fall back when they get word that the ritual is happening.
All the magic of the Fist is consumed in one spell, and the black ships pull together into the skeletal outline of a dragon. Muscles, bone, scales, and sinew grow over the metal body like a straight Terminator dragon god chick. Thing.
Anyway, Nefarius is reborn and she starts going PEW PEW. RAWR. She crushes everyone. She badly wounds Virkonna. Aran takes his best shot, and fails. We’re losing and losing badly.
Nefarius is about to swoop in, kill Inura, and gain his life magic, so Aran takes him out with a preemptive disintegrate. Nefarius is piissssssed. She had big plans for that magic.
Then our heroes translocate back to Virkon to lick their wounds, while Nefarius vaccu-sucks up all the bodies to eat their magic.
Right after they appear on Virkon, Frit shows up. She apologies and says she is an emissary. She’s come to broker an alliance against Nefarius.
Voria, Virkonna, and Frit start to argue.
Nebiat translocates into the system, grabs the Spellship in orbit, shoves it down her pants, and yells, “See ya!” No one is in any shape to chase her, and she gets away…but poor Frit is left high and dry.
The very last chapter shows Shinura (the shade of Inura) revealing something to Kazon. Inura knew he was going to die, so he updated his shade with the latest OS, and gave that shade half his magic. The whole sector thinks he is dead, because he died. But he cheated and Shinura exists as a perfect copy, complete with up-to-date memories.
For the conclusion, read Godswar!