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…
Void Wyrm kicked off with Voria returning home to find herself on trial. We’re introduced to the tribunal, which consists of Admiral Nimitz from Ternus, Skare from the Inuran Consortium, and Ducius from Shaya.
Ducius turns out to be Thalas (Dick Sock)’s father, and is more than a little pissed that his son died. He’s determined to see Voria executed, and lobbies hard for that. Skare, who looks a bit like Rick from Rick and Morty, remains impartial. Nimitz wants Voria prosecuted, because of the catastrophic losses to the marines on Marid.
Mid-trial the Tender and Voria’s famous war mage father, Dirk, show up to offer testimony. Aurelia (the Tender) reveals that it was her augury that caused Voria to act as she did, and begs leniency. There’s some posturing, a vote, and Voria is stripped of command and demoted to the rank of captain.
She’s understandably discouraged, but Aurelia and her father offer hope. Aurelia has another augury, this one pointing to a world in the Umbral Depths. They can get her a broken down piece of crap ship, if she can find a crew. Voria realizes that a loophole will allow everyone to take four weeks of leave after their campaign on Marid.
While all this has been going on, Aran has been enrolled in a war mage Kamiza (martial arts dojo), under the tutelage of Ree, an insufferable Shayan noble who addresses Aran as Mongrel. She’s racist against drifters, and she’s mean to Nara. Yeah, we don’t like her.
The master of the Kamiza, Erika, is one of the most famous war mages in the sector. She’s also working for Nebiat, and has been bound for decades. She dangles Aran’s past in front of him, offering to tell him about the Outriders. But first, he needs to prove himself through training.
He gets a montage (montage!), and improves his physical conditioning and combat abilities. Then, we switch over to Nara.
Nara has been enrolled at the Temple of Enlightenment, the Shayan university devoted to magic. She’s greeted by a strange flaming girl who introduces herself as Frit. Frit is the emo goth kid from every CW show, except that she’s an Ifrit, with void flame. She becomes Nara’s only friend and ally at the temple, against her new Master…a dick by the name of Eros.
Eros is the archmage who runs the Temple, and one of the foremost mages in the sector. He refers to Nara as Pirate Girl, and generally treats her like garbage. But he does teach her how to duel, and how to hard cast spells. The very first thing he does is disintegrate her spellpistol so she’ll have to rely on her own casting.
After Nara’s montage, Aran gets word that one of the stipulations in Voria’s trial concerned him. Instead of being awarded a whole bunch of medals, he’s being given no special commendation. Instead, all his medals are going to Thalas posthumously. They’re honoring the racist guy who expended marines like bullets, and Aran is less than thrilled.
He rushes off to Voria, and she, of course, ropes him into this new quest to go into the Umbral Depths. This time they’re after a world there that Aurelia discovered, and she believes there is a tool of incalculable power there (spoilers, there is). She asks Aran to convinces Crewes, Bord, and Kezia to join them, while she heads off to convince Nara.
Aran starts with Crewes, and we get our first look at Crewes’s home life. He’s staying with his mom, who’s not at all impressed by him, and likes to drink warm beer (who does that?). He’s more than happy to go with Aran just to get out of there, particularly because it turns out the prosecutor in Voria’s trial was his own brother.
Aran has less luck with Bord and Kezia. Kez is unwilling to leave her family without more to go on, and it’s clear that Bord has it bad for Kezia, so he stays too. Aran and Crewes return alone to Voria’s new ship…the Big Texas.
The Big Texas is a broken down Ternus cruiser that the Serenity would look down her nose at, and it comes complete with its own mechanic. Pickus is a technological wiz, but knows absolutely nothing about magic.
They leave Shaya, but on their way to the planet’s umbral shadow they’re attacked by a massive air Wyrm. It turns out to be Khalahk, a Wyrm from Virkonna. He’s there because Nebiat told him about Aran, who Khal blames for killing his grandson Rolf (see The Heart of Nefarius for details).
Khal far outclasses the Texas, but Aran launches a daring plan and they manage to slip away into the darkness while something large, dark, and tentacled wrestles with the Wyrm.
The Texas is a huge mess badly in need of repairs, and Pickus proves his ingenuity. He keeps the vessel limping along long enough for them to find the planet from Aurelia’s augury. It is shrouded in darkness, but as they approach, magma balls streak up from the surface and slam into the Texas.
The already damaged vessel breaks into two pieces, with Nara and Aran being flung one way, while Pickus, Crewes, and Voria are flung another. When they land they are assaulted by arachnidrakes, which are just what they sound like…disgusting spider dragons. Eww.
Nara summons a giant illusion of Drakkon, which scares them off long enough for our heroes to sneak away. They find a little cave and batten down while they try to figure out where they are and what they’re supposed to do.
Aurelia’s augury is guiding them toward a large mountain, which they can see in the distance. Unfortunately, in order for them to fly the several kilometers to get there they need to brave the arachnidrakes again. That’s suicidal without some sort of distraction. Crewes volunteers, but before he can do so they hear a commotion in the distance.
Khalahk has arrived, and is tearing apart arachnidrakes and the remains of the Texas, clearly searching for them. They use him as a distraction and make a break for the mountain.
Yay, they make it! They’re greeted by a more civilized looking arachnidrake who claims to be a custodian. They are, unsurprisingly, expected by the goddess it works for. He gives them quarters to rest in, so they may prepare for an audience with the Keeper of Secrets, Neith.
Voria is brought first. Before arriving she spends a little time in the library, which purports to hold all knowledge, all the way back to the beginning of time. Voria investigates Nebiat, and learns that she’s loose on Shaya. Not only is Erika bound, but she helps Nebiat bind Voria’s father, Dirk. Her plan is to not only murder the Tender, but cause a civil war between the drifters and the Shayans.
Voria is understandably pissed, and also emotionally scarred, since she saw her father naked. She goes to her audience with Neith, who is *drumroll* a really big arachnidrake. Shocking, I know. Neith explains to Voria that she has manipulated events to lead to this moment, that Khalahk attacking was necessary to them being able to reach this place.
He explains about the First Spellship, which Voria will need to find if she’s ever to beat Krox. To this end, Neith gives her the ability to perceive possibilities like a god. He also gives her a potent Eldimagus with its own personality…which likes poop jokes. Ikadra the staff is the key to the First Spellship, and also acts as a spell matrix for the Talon, the vessel Neith provides them to get home. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Aran also has an audience with Neith, and finally learns about his past. Neith shows him formative scenes from Aran’s upbringing on Virkonna, and drops the shocking revelation that Aran’s entire life has been sabotaged to make him unremarkable. This hid him from Neith’s enemies, and allowed him to reach this moment.
Aran was an unremarkable Outrider, but now Neith needs him to be an unstoppable killing machine. Neith grants Aran upgraded fire magic, which allows him to be both faster and stronger. He also enhances Aran’s armor with the same ability, and catalyzes Aran’s as yet unnamed sword with fire magic, making it even stronger.
Nara has a similar audience, and is given vastly increased cognitive ability. She’s offered her past, but declines, saying she doesn’t really want to be that woman any more. The past is best left right where it is.
Pickus and Crewes also get cool fire magic powers, and the crew rockets back to Virkonna. Khalahk ambushes them again, of course, but this time they’re armed with a state of the art spellship, and thanks largely to Aran’s ingenuity they whoop his scaly ass.
They arrive back at Shaya and immediately divide forces. Voria takes Ikadra to see if she can reach Aurelia before Nebiat begins her attack. Everyone else goes with Aran to stop Voria’s father from igniting a civil war by crushing one of the largest drifter cities with one of Shaya’s own limbs.
Aran, Nara, and Crewes join forces with snotty Ree and her war mages. They battle their own master, Erika, who cuts down most of the war mages and flees to join Dirk. Aran presses the attack, and they catch up to Dirk, Erika, and Eros. They’ve all been bound, and are working together on a potent ritual.
Erika and Dirk engage Aran and his ragtag band, while Nara tries to stop Eros from finishing his ritual. She realizes that, if completed, it will summon the heart of a star into the tree, causing a massive explosion. The second burl will be blown off the tree, and onto the community below.
Nara quickly modifies the spell to convert heat into light, reducing the power of the explosion. Aran has an epic fight with Dirk. He and Crewes barely take him down, but Aran pulls it out at the last second. Almost as if the author planned it that way, somehow.
The explosion happens and they’re sent spinning out into the air miles above the ground. Pickus uses his new fire magic to pilot the Talon to them, and they use it to blast the second burl into chunks of wood. Those chunks land safely outside the city, and not only does this save the drifters, but they’re able to loot the hyper valuable shayawood, and bring a massive amount of wealth into their impoverished community.
Dirk dies, but Erika and Eros are both saved.
Meanwhile Voria and Ikadra show up at the Tender’s palace and witness a massive magical battle between Aurelia and Nebiat. The palace is shredded as Voria uses Ikadra to add her own powerful spells.
Aurelia has clearly been poisoned, and badly needs the help. Together they drive Nebiat off, but Aurelia is killed in the process. Nebiat has won. She morphs into a bird and leads the Shayan spellfighters on a chase before escaping back into the city below.
Eros is selected by Aurelia as the new Tender, once the bindings have successfully been removed. Nara and Aran both go back to studying in their respective schools, and Voria’s rank and reputation are reinstated.
The final chapter of the book was from Frit’s point of view. She seemed like a minor character, but in this scene she longs to be free. While she is pining, a tiny dragon lands outside her window, and introduces herself as Nebiat. She has plans for Frit. Very important plans, muhahahahha.
Three months have passed. Aran and his company have been called upon countless times to hunt down binders. They are doing everything in their power to eradicate the Krox influence on their world, but it isn’t enough.
On to Spellship!