When Jonah was seven, a mysterious mass poisoning swept through the Thorn Hill commune, leaving the adults dead and most of the children either dead or altered, their innate magical abilities mutated in unpredictable ways. Jonah himself, for instance, can kill with a soothing, bliss-filled touch. Gabriel Mandrake has formed a school for the survivors near Trinity, Ohio, where, as readers of the first three Heir Chronicles (The Warrior Heir, BCCB 7/06, etc.) will recall, the Weir Council has formed a shaky peace among the still suspicious and antagonistic guilds. Now, however, wizards are being killed, and Gabriel has assembled a group of young assassins to dispatch the undead spirits of Jonah’s commune, who have also migrated to Ohio and are seeking bodies to possess. Jonah excels at this task, but he’s having second thoughts about both Gabriel’s motives and his tactics. While compulsively readable and full of features that make readers glom on to the paranormal romances, this entry has a good many gaps in the world-building that will leave even committed readers frustrated. New terminology regarding the guilds is introduced without explanation, the timeline doesn’t clearly correlate to the other books’, and the ending offers no intermediate closure. The romance is also problematic: Emma, a girl who somehow survived the Thorn Hill Massacre with no knowledge of the Weir world of which her parents were a part, placidly accepts the new information about her heritage without so much as a blink and inexplicably falls in love with Jonah while he is tying her up and setting out to interrogate her father. These flaws may not bother readers previously blinded by sparkly vampires, but as those readers are less likely to commit to series as complex as this one, expect some mild disappointment along with howling clamors for the next book.