Cassandra Rose Clarke originally published two novels, The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish, which were later collected in the omnibus Magic of Blood and Sea. The omnibus Magic of Wind and Mist (2017) collects two more novels, The Wizard’s Promise and its previously-unpublished sequel, The Nobleman’s Revenge. Magic of Wind and Mist is directly affected by the events within Magic of Blood and Sea, and certain events and characters will make far more sense if you’ve read the first two books (featuring the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji), but I’ll try to avoid as many spoilers as I can.
The Wizard’s Promise begins one generation after Ananna and Naji fought against the curse laid upon them, Hanna Euli — named for “one of the greatest pirates of the Pirate’s Confederation” — sails out with Kolur Icebreak on his ship, the Penelope. Hanna has some affinity for magic and her dearest wish is to study under a wizard, but girls aren’t allowed to train magical skills, so instead she’s been apprenticed to a dour old grump of a fisherman. What should be a 2 or 3 day trip to their usual fishing spot instead becomes a lengthy adventure, when a bad storm blows them to an unfamiliar port and Hanna discovers that Kolur has been keeping some very serious secrets. Along the way, Hanna meets Isolfr, a strange young man who seems to live in the sea, and Frida, a woman with admirable magic and a strange connection to Kolur; Isolfr warns Hanna not to trust Frida or Kolur, and luckily, she has the brains not to trust any of them, especially as more and more information about Isolfr, Kolur, and Frida comes to light.
The Nobleman’s Revenge pits Hanna and Isolfr against the Lord of the Mists (a figure who readers of Magic of Blood and Sea will recognize). The two of them must work together to stop the Lord’s plan to marry the mortal Queen of Jandanvar, which will grant him power from Hanna’s world in addition to his own tremendous power from the Mists. Hanna and Isolfr are accidentally transported to the Mists themselves, a terrifying land where enormous scaly beasts fly and breathe fire, and all kinds of magic are possible. If Ananna and Naji couldn’t truly defeat the Lord of the Mists, how are an untrained young witch and a mysterious sea-boy supposed to do the job?
Hanna and her family live in the far northern region of this world, where ice berries and pine trees abound. Her travels with Kolur and, later, a fishing crew, are restricted to waters that are thick with ice, as opposed to Ananna’s far more tropical voyages. The greater society is still oppressive, with rigidly-enforced gender roles, though I delighted in Hanna’s determination to work hard and trust in her own abilities rather than simply accepting the prohibitions against her training as an official wizard’s apprentice. Her travels take her to some very interesting places, particularly the Mists, all of which are rendered as realistically as possible (despite the often fantastic occurrences) in Clarke’s smooth prose. I appreciated how naturally Hanna reacts to situations, especially when other characters refuse to share information with her and she’s powerless to force them; she’s smart enough to know she shouldn’t trust anyone who keeps secrets from her, but has a hard time keeping her temper and impatience in check. In short, she behaves like a teenager would in difficult and frustrating situations, without becoming overbearing or annoying.
As with Magic of Blood and Sea, there’s an overwhelming sense of adventure in Magic of Wind and Mist, carrying readers from one exciting moment to the next with plenty of opportunities for self-reflection and conversation in between. Hanna is happiest when she’s productive and proactive, but so much of what’s happening and affecting her life is beyond her control — again, much like being a teenager in the real world. If she’s to succeed, she must trust in her own abilities and allow herself to trust in her friends, and that journey for her is written with compassion and an understanding that such a level of trust (or even some deeper feelings) can’t happen in a day.
Magic of Wind and Mist was genuinely fun to read, and I’m so glad that readers who enjoyed The Wizard’s Promise when it was first published in 2014 can finally find out how Hanna’s story ends. I promise that it was well worth the wait.