Page of Tricks by A.K. Faulkner (Inheritance #5)

There’s nowhere left to run.

Quentin d’Arcy has escaped his father’s clutches for six years, but the life he has built in San Diego is about to come crashing down. The skeletons in his closet won’t stay hidden.

The Duke of Oxford’s pawns are all in place. One move triggers a catastrophic chain of events: Freddy kidnaps Laurence, and Quentin is thrust into a race against time to save both his lover’s sanity and his own.

Every family has secrets, but the d’Arcy line is built on them.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

CONTRIBUTOR(S): RJ Bayley (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Ravenswood Publishing/Mythos Press
YEAR: 2017
LENGTH: 329 pages (9 hours 30 minutes)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Main Character(s), Ace/Aro Main Character(s).

PAGE OF TRICKS is where everything comes to a head, where Laurence, Quentin, Frederick, and Michael end up colliding together in the worst way.

PAGE OF TRICKS ties together plot threads from the entire series so far, by way of alerting Laurence and Quentin to Michael's association with Frederick. Unfortunately, that notification was done by means of kidnapping and torture. Everything has been building to the problem of how to let Quentin know that his father abused him as a child. This issue is complicated by the way Quentin blacks out and doesn't retain any memory of the conversation if anyone tries to discuss it with him. Laurence is at a loss, not sure how much Quentin can be pushed to do in the process of confronting and assimilating that knowledge. While this storyline has a definite beginning middle and end, ordinarily I think it would require the earlier books in order to have emotional resonance at this point. Though the emotional catharsis will definitely be higher for anyone who has read the entire series so far, what Quentin's father did is so horrible that if someone tried to start here their experience would more closely match Quentin's, given his repeated amnesia on this topic, which may well end up as a cathartic and fairly coherent reading experience (though not the route I recommend). 

There's a mostly new storyline surrounding Frederick and Michael kidnapping and torturing Laurence in order to force Quentin to come to England and return to his father's clutches. The actual kidnapping and torture is new, but the pressures that led to this moment have been brewing at least since Frederick was first introduced, and technically since the JACK OF THORNS when Laurence first learned of Quentin's blackouts and their very specific set of triggers. 

I like this opportunity to see Frederick and Michael's relationship from the outside, though it is definitely not the focus. Michael seems content to be protected and used sometimes as his own person and other times as an extension of Frederick whenever he needs it. Quentin and Laurence's relationship has been adversely affected by Laurence knowing a secret about Quentin's past that Quentin has been unable to process or remember up until this point, leaving Laurence in an uncertain state. Laurence has been stuck in this terrible position of technically keeping a secret, but knowing with his future sight that even if he tells Quentin, it won’t matter because Quentin won’t be able to remember it. Laurence is certain that it'll just hurt Quentin over and over if he tries to break the news to him.

Until now, a lot of the worldbuilding focused on different kinds of magic and the characters' location in California. Instead, they have to travel to England. This provides an opportunity to show some of the country, but it’s definitely not trying to be a European tour. This deals at least for now with the storyline about Quentin, his father, and past abuse. This will definitely have effects in future books, as I would be shocked if Quentin is done processing everything that happens, and Laurence definitely will need to process what he’s gone through in this book. That being said, it’s likely that for at least a few books the focus will be outside Quentin's family trauma. Though, I do note that for as many times as he's been mentioned, their younger brother has yet to appear, so he will likely play some role in future books. 

This is not the last book, and the epilogue serves as a teaser for an upcoming villain. It invokes knowledge of a character who has been around in an important though generally minor role for the last few books, but whose own traumatic backstory has not yet been resolved. I like the way the epilogues have generally served this role in the series, connecting together plot threads and giving an idea of what's coming up next. Once again, it's enough information to pique my interest and get a sense of future storylines, but not in a way that would be a cliffhanger. 

Graphic/Explicit CW for grief, sexual content, drug use, drug abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, disassociation, panic attacks, blood, gore, violence, sexual assault, rape, child abuse, kidnapping, confinement, intrusive thoughts, torture.

Moderate CW for excrement, fire, injury detail, car accident, parental death, murder, death.

Minor CW for alcohol, alcoholism, ableist language, disordered eating.

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