Jaye Wells is getting better. Mage in Black is the sequel to Wells’ debut novel, Red-Headed Stepchild. In Red-Headed Stepchild, Sabina Kane foiled a plot by the head of the vampires (her own grandmother) and is now on the run from vampire assassins.
In Mage in Black, war is brewing between mages and vampires. Sabina, who was raised by vampires, is caught in the middle. Having discovered that she has a twin sister who was raised by mages, she visits mage headquarters in New York, where she runs afoul of a pack of werewolves and is targeted for assassination by a traitor within the mage camp.
While Mage in Black embraces many of the tropes of the urban fantasy genre, the story remains fresh and the plot speeds along nicely. Sabina is a great protagonist, and she’s surrounded with an exceptional supporting cast. I especially like her demon familiar.
While I enjoyed Wells’ debut novel, Red-Headed Stepchild, I think Mage in Black is markedly better: the humor is funnier, the suspense is tighter, and the plot is paced more smoothly and has more complexities. The Sabina Kane novels remind me of some of the early novels of Jeaniene Frost or Karen Chance. I recommend them to anyone who enjoys that style of book and I eagerly await the sequel.