Tales of Mundane Magic: Volume Two by Shaina Krevat
*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.
Tales of Mundane Magic: Volume Two keeps a lot of the fun and wonder from Vol 1, while expanding Gertie's and Bridget's world to new destinations, challenges, and dangers. We get more of a sense of magic's place in this world, and it isn't all benign.
There's a subtle shift between Volume One and Volume Two: Gertie and Bridget feel a little older, a little more mature but still definitely kids. Part of that is that they've changed (they're growing up, gaining magical and non-magical mastery), and part of it is that we get the beginnings of a set of antagonists. It's not some grand Big Bad, but it's also clearly not trying to be, and it works well. It's perhaps better to say that in Volume One there were people in their lives with different purposes and goals from them but they mostly co-existed, and here we start to have people with conflicting purposes, making them get in each other's way. It's a small change, but I like it.
Their problems get bigger (some of them are pretty dangerous this time), and the girls definitely have a more serious air when figuring out how to solve them. Before there was some pretty serious stuff too, but it had the sense that they didn't know how much danger they were in. Now they know a little better, but they're still excited and confident. It keeps a lot of the fun feeling from the first book while also letting them mature as people. Where the first book felt like a lot of random events with a few connecting threads, this collection feels more focused (or maybe it's that there was more room for complex narratives since volume one had the basics handled). The three-part vacation sequence is my favorite narrative, with the middle portion as my favorite story in the entire book (Gertie And Bridget Go To The Beach).