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Blue Spell


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John Harvey returns to the world of Cirrus with the second Jack Scatter novel. Blue Spell delivers on the promises of Broken Sky.

In Broken Sky, John Harvey introduced us to Jack Scatter and the race to save the world as the date of Isaac Newton's predicted apocalypse nears. In Blue Spell, Harvey returns to this near-future setting in post-Newton time. Pieter Reynard is out there, whether on Earth or Cirrus is unknown, and he's not happy with Jack and his friends. In pre-Newton days, the authorities might have been able to track Reynard through Little Brother's surveillance cameras. Now, Earth and Cirrus are effectively cut off from each other and the usual surveillance network no longer works. The crystals that allow for wormhole-based "portal" technology have been destroyed. Luckily, Jack Scatter's grandfather has saved some working portals, and Jack can start exploring his unique "powers" as a Traveller.

Harvey's second novel, Blue Spell builds on the skills he displayed in his debut. I thought that the pacing of this one was better, the characters grew and blossomed naturally, and the world retained its sheer coolness. Harvey has a clear understanding of the portal technology he's created in his world, and you can tell that he has thought through all its implications.

If I have one significant critique of Harvey's writing, it's that he might even go a bit too in-depth with the details. That's often indicative of an author who worries that their readers won't completely believe in the world they've created. I very much enjoyed most of the exposition and explanation that Harvey gives us, but the details of portal tech (or intricate plans to escape the baddies) occasionally run on and detract from the flow of the narrative.

That said, Blue Spell usually clips along. There are several cool moments played to perfection, even an intriguing car chase that uses portal technology for some awesome, cinematic choreography. I won't say whether the book ends with the good guys or the bad guys winning, but I will say that it ends satisfyingly. I never felt like Harvey tried to dodge any consequences or that he relied on deus ex machina devices to get him out of jams. Instead, the character development and plot lines were allowed to run their courses and go where they wanted to go.

If you're a fan of sci-fi at all, or if you like detailed world-building and fast-paced action, you've gotta check out The Chronicles of Cirrus immediately.

Reviewed by

I am a self-published author, content writer at a digital marketing agency, and freelance writer/editor. On my website/blog, I write long-form reviews of books as well as short review blurbs for every book I read each year.

About the author

John Harvey is a First Nations author and part-time editor from Canada. He writes mostly science-fiction and fantasy. His first published series is The Chronicles of Cirrus. view profile

Published on November 20, 2021

Published by On-site Creative

90000 words

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by