A gift from my nephew.Chima better hits her stride in this second volume. The reference to a staff in the amulet that annoyed me in the first book here appears in an as-yet-explained old illustration, mentioned as foreshadowing (p. 431). Despite the existence of herbal birth control and some heavy smooching, Raisa apparently will remain a virgin until she's old enough for US standards. Pleasantly, same-sex partnerships exist and don't excite much commentary, though we're told that elsewhere in the Seven Realms they might. Yes, Han is a bad boy and Raisa is a kick-ass girl, but refreshingly, Han keeps trying not to be bad and Raisa can only sometimes kick ass. Their parallel need to assume new identities and behaviors in ultimate service to their beliefs about what's best for the kingdom is amusing.Both main and secondary characters are sufficiently complex that they sometimes act in surprising ways that aren't out of character. They are sometimes stupid in their actions (as, Raisa sending a letter) and lack of critical thinking (as, Han's inability to instantly grasp what HRMAW probably stands for), but this is true of many teens as depicted in young adult novels. On the down side, there are plenty of Harry Potter-esque references (such as "Abelard's army" and white-haired evil wizards). On a personal note, this is the second book I've read this year with a mysterious character named Crow (the first being Murakami's Kafka on the Shore).