Game of Cages by Harry Connolly, review by K. Bird Lincoln
Ray Lilly is picked up from his blue collar job by Catherine, an investigator for the Twenty Palaces Society, a ruthless group of humans who will stop at nothing to keep other people from using magic.
Ray is a Wooden Man, a magically protected servant of a sorceror who, after the first book, Child of Fire, was sure he was going to end up in jail due to the crimes he had to commit in the name of "protection."
But the Twenty Palaces society is not done with him yet. Catherine takes him to the small town of Washaway, where Ray will have to decide how far he is willing to go, and who he is willing to kill, in order to both stay "in the know" about magic in our world, as well as protect others from a horrible, alien predator.
I'm not an action-oriented reader. I like relationships, and plots revealing themselves slowly.
However, the breathless pace with which Ray finds himself drawn into the action (you keep thinking things will get better, or that a sorceror will arrive and clean everything up, but it never quite reaches that point) and held spellbound as Ray makes decision after decision about death and pain and what he's willing to bear.
Excellent read. The only dissatisfaction I have is that I wanted more development between Ray and Catherine (and that is brought to a screeching halt partway through the book due to something I can't say without spoilerage) or Ray and Annalise (she comes in way too late for very much there) to set the backdrop for his moral quandaries.
This Book's Food Designation Rating: Chips and salsa, for the way that you start eating them, and then look up a moment later and realize you've eaten the whole bag and your mouth is smarting from the spicy salsa.