The fourth book in the Magisterium series begins in a dark place for Call and his friends. After the traumatic events of The Bronze Key the entire mage world is forever changed. For six months Call has been imprisoned in the Panopticon with everyone treating him like The Enemy of Death. With no visitors, not even his father, Call is truly alone.
Every day he is interrogated, continually being accused of lying. Finally, he’s allowed to see Master Rufus, who understands why Call kept the truth secret. On returning to his cell, Call finds Alastair waiting for him. He assures Call the Assembly don’t hold him responsible for Aaron’s death and won’t execute him, they’re merely scared of him. The next day Call receives a visit from the last person he was expecting; Jasper. He explains that he broke up with Celia and wants someone to talk to, someone who can’t run away. This scene was very assuming; Jasper is complaining about his love-life while Call just sits in his cell, rolling his eyes. Jasper’s problems are so minor compared to Call’s, showing that something that seems petty to someone can be the end of the world to someone else. The characterisation was impressive; Jasper is holding true to his personality even though he’s grown over the series.
Before Jasper can finish he’s ranting the Panopticon is on fire. Ravan is creating absolute chaos while Tamara appears, explaining that she and Anastasia formulated a jailbreak. The group are thrown into a van, where to Call’s delight, Havoc is waiting. Arriving at Anastasia’s house, they find Master Joseph and Alex, now wielding chaos, waiting. They kidnap the group and take them to The Enemy of Death’s stronghold. After attempting to escape the fortress, and failing, Master Joseph explains what he wants Call to do; to resurrect Aaron.
This is an interesting point of contrast for Call and Tamara. Call if horrified at first but the idea of having his best friend back, his counterweight, his brother, sway him. He knows it’s wrong, that it would make him even closer to being Constantine, (which is Master Joseph’s plan) but his guilt and need for atonement overrides everything else. Even Tamara’s opposition. Though the two admit their feelings for each other, Call’s intentions for Aaron continuously get in the way. It was heart-warming to see the young couple together after so many obstacles, and I wanted more than anything for them to overcome the newest and most confronting challenge yet.
Tamara and Jasper are determined to escape while Call is refusing to leave Aaron’s body. After discovering the secret that may lead to resurrecting Aaron, Call finally does the unthinkable and raises Aaron. But Aaron isn’t the same. He’s different; distant, cold and unemotional. Tamara is confronted with the truth, that Call is the Enemy of Death, despite everything she wanted to believe. The writing was very well done throughout this section, demonstrating the complicated emotions and tension without being melodramatic or cliqued like many YA books. The stakes are high, the danger is real, everyone’s motives are strong, yet it’s not simple for them to follow through.
Under cover of night, Tamara and Jasper escape with the help of Ravan. Leaving Call even more alone than in the Panopticon with a man who wants him to be The Evil Overlord, the guy who killed his best friend, a friend who’s not himself, a woman who believes he’s her son. . . And don’t forget about the hordes of chaos-ridden. But at least he has Havoc. I pitied Call during this. In the same situation, most people would’ve done the same thing as Call. The guilt he suffered over Aaron’s death would’ve been soul-shattering, and he tried to fix it only to turn his friend into someone cold, like the spark of life is missing.
Everything boils over into a genuinely action-packed climax. It was well worth the four-book build-up. This was one of my all-time favourites because it was action-packed right from the start with emotional highs through-out. I give it 5/5 and am already counting down to the final instalment.
*The entire time I kept chanting don’t-let-Havoc-die-don’t-let-him-die