Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing Mimic Arcanist by Shami Stovall. I enjoyed the first book in this series and was looking forward to seeing what Gray, Twain, and all the others got up to next.
School life. Camping. And a mysterious graveyard beneath the sea.
Gray and Sorin Lexly started Astra Academy with a bang. During their first few weeks, a professor tried to kill them, and even opened a portal to the abyssal hells—where the dead dwell.
But that’s all behind them! The portal was destroyed. Time to focus on classes and studies. Or so Gray hopes.
During an Academy camping trip, Gray finds a fragment of the portal… and a few abyssal monsters that somehow crept their way into the world of the living. Determined to set things right, Gray informs Professor Helmith of what he found.
Unfortunately, there may be more fragments of the portal than just the one, which means more trouble lurks around every corner… including the possibility of a Death Lord arriving in the mortal world.
This was a fun sequel, but I didn’t love it quite as much as the first book. I think it was largely due to the plot. The story started with the students and professors going on a camping trip. I was excited to see what they would encounter and wanted a whole story of them out in the wilderness learning more magic. The first part of the story gave me that experience, and I enjoyed it a lot. Then it came to an end a third of the way through the book, and the students were back at school. It felt a bit like a bait and switch, and I was left wondering about the point of the camping trip in the first place, especially since the middle of the book did drag a bit at times. The end was epic, though, and I’m curious to see where the story goes next.
I still loved all the magical creatures! Twain was as adorable as ever, and I really want to know what his true form will turn out to be. Hopefully, it’ll be as big and powerful as his personality. Although, so much sass packed into such a tiny body is part of his immense charm. I did feel like we got less of the other creatures in this one, though. I loved getting to know each of them in the first book, and I really wanted even more of them here. I did like all the new and interesting tidbits added to the world-building and magic system. I know this series shares a world with Stovall’s other series, but I’ve never read it. So, the inclusion of more history on the death lords and the abyssal hells was much appreciated, and I found it all fascinating.
I enjoyed the human character dynamics a bit more in this one. Gray was still a brat, but he wasn’t quite as insufferable as at the beginning of the first book. Twain has been a good influence on him. lol. Sorin was still an absolute cinnamon roll, and I want nothing but the absolute best for him. We got a bit more background on Ashlyn, and I liked seeing her relationship with Gray develop some depth. The friendship between Nini and Sorin also grew into something more complex, and it was fun getting to witness how they learned to navigate it all. I’m hopeful other characters will continue to get more depth as the series continues because this book did a good job with Ashlyn and Nini, and I really want to get to know some of the other characters as well as we’ve gotten to know them.
Overall, this was a solid second installment. The writing continued to be engaging, and I loved learning more about the characters and their world. The story had its faults, but it set things up in a way that makes me excited to pick up the next book. Therefore, I rate this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.