Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7795-6 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7797-0 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5-7
Running a restaurant is hard enough in the kitchen, but for Lailu Loganberry, one of the most promising young chefs in all of Twin Rivers, a large part of the job is hunting down mystic but deadly creatures—e.g., giant griffin, seven-headed hydra, and fyrian chicken—that make for the most rare and delectable dishes in her restaurant. In this sequel to A Dash of Dragon (BCCB 7/17), a week of costumed festivities, known as the “Week of Masks,” makes for a menacing backdrop to the murder mystery (a scientist is killed and elves are the main suspects) that Lailu gets dragged into, despite being much more interested in her recipes and her would-be suitors. Lang and Bartkowski are masterful in presenting a well-balanced story of a crafty young protagonist who tackles fire-breathing cockatrices and the mischievous winks of cute boys just as wholeheartedly as she prepares a meal for the royal family or confronts her absentee mother—all while a techno-magical conflict brews. Lailu’s prior relationships and events from the previous book in the series play an important role in this story, but solving the magical whodunit and battling against steampunk-inspired automatons easily reinforce Lailu’s heroism and allow for an engaging, self-contained adventure.