Book Reviews

Book Review: Harley Merlin and the Detector Fix

Title: Harley Merlin and the Detector Fix
Author: Bella Forrest
Genre: Fantasy Fiction

What it’s about: After arriving at the Smith’s house, dropping out of the sky, Harley, Finch, and Jacob tell the Smiths the whole truth about who they are and what they can do. The Smiths are very accepting of something that is so out of the norm for them. Harley, Finch and Jacob then head over to Kenzie, a friend of his, who would be able to put them in touch with Wade and find out what is going on in the SDC. Kenzie is a Morph, which is the ability to put her consciousness into that of an animal, and she has never been in a Coven as her father died and her mother was kicked out of the Coven, leaving them to fend for themselves. She deals in contraband goods as a way to help take care of her mother, who is sick with Alzheimer’s, and her human half-sister. Harley joins Kenzie as she takes over a mouse’s consciousness, and together they get into the SDC. in her consciousness to get them into the SDC.

They arrive in the infirmary, where the remnants of the Rag Team have assembled–Isadora, Alton, and Santana are in Prison. Everyone finds it weird that Levi is keeping a lid on Echidna’s disappearance, and no one is asking any questions on that front. Krieger mentions that he’s close to finishing the Magical Detector, but needs Jacob, so they discuss the possibility of bringing him in without putting him in Levi’s dangerous path. Wade notices the mouse and says that he’s going to take a walk to cafe in Waterfront Park. When Kenzie releases the mouse, Harley and Finch hatch a plan that sends Jacob back into the Coven, while they go ahead to meet with Wade.

After their meeting with Wade, Harley and Finch drive all the way up to San Francisco, where they meet with Wade and use inter-dimensional tunnels below the lake to get into the Coven. Finch then takes them through another secret passage way that takes them right into Remington’s Office, surprising both Remington and Garrett. In the meantime, Jacob notices a girl by the name of Suri, at the Science Center, and gets close to her. Naima kidnaps her, and Jacob follows them into another otherworld, where he finds Elan, his father. Elan tells him that he committed suicide upon Portaling to Lethe for Katherine, in order to slow down her rituals, and tells Jacob more about himself and Jacob’s mother. He also tells Jacob that Katherine is terrified of the Merlin Grimoire, because there are hidden pages inside that can finish her off, and as a result, she has tried many times to get it, only the Grimoire is charmed against her.

Harley asks Remington about Echidna, and he’s surprised because no one on the California Mage Council has been informed of her kidnapping. She asks him to help her get her parent’s Grimoire, which she believes may help stop Katherine, also revealing that she’s unable to read from unfinished Grimoires. Remington reveals that Harley is the closes thing to a Primus Anglicus, the first magicals who had four elemental powers, two or more abilities, and walked the line between the Light and Dark affinities. He tells her that there were rumors that the Grimoire held hidden pages, but it’s never been confirmed, and then he helps her get in.

With Elan’s help, Jacob gets close enough to see Katherine with Echidna, who had birthed a lot of Purge Monsters. It turns out that it was a trap laid out for him, in order for Katherine to try to convince him to turn to her side. Jacob declines, and a fight breaks out, but Elan distracts Katherine, and Isadora and Louella save Suri and him. Back at the SDC, Jacob reveals that the fourth ritual was completed, and they wonder whether or not Katherine has enough children with rare abilities to complete the fifth and final ritual. Krieger notes that there is a theory that if a specific ability dies out, it may not be resurrected.

Harley and Wade are in an argument over Finch, when the call comes in that the Fourth Ritual has been completed. With additional help from Isadora, Louella, Tatyana, Dylan and Remington, the group of four make their way to the New York City Coven. Jacob in the meantime assists Isadora and Krieger with the Detector, and they visit the Preceptor of Alchemy, Rita Bonnello, to discuss the ability of making the Detector more portable. She agrees to it, and creates a special battery for the Magical Detector. Jacob and Krieger work on Detector, with Suri hanging about. Isadora and Krieger allow for Suri to stay even though she’s a human because of Jacob’s feelings for her. It’s actually Suri who reveals that while she was in Lethe, she overheard Katherine and Naima talking about how well the infiltrations are going that they are able to keep Echidna’s disappearance under wrap. Isadora shows up with O’Halloran, to prove a working theory that she’s had–at any mention of Echidna, O’Halloran just appears to be buffering and tells them a generic, rehearsed answer. He tells them that Levi had given him a box of pills after the attack on the Bestiary, and the three of them wonder if Levi is working with Katherine. Jacob ends up taking Suri on a date, and after dropping her off in the infirmary, he takes a walk, overhearing Levi getting scolded by Imogene and Remington. He heads to the cells to tell Alton everything, which results in Raffe losing control over Kadar, who goes after Levi.

In New York, Wade continues to snap at Harley, as they make their way to an old, abandoned library building that is chained. Those chains are enchanted, in which they require the person touching them to answer the question honestly and fully in order to prove that the person has good intentions. Garrett and Wade pass through easily, while Finch gets kicked out. The chains give him some time to think about this answer. Harley comes last, and the chains ask her if she is willing to sacrifice everything and everyone in her pursuit to kill Katherine. After some debate, she says yes, and goes through to meet with Garrett and Wade on the other side. Since Finch is unsure if he knows the answer, the trio leave without him.

At the SDC, Jacob, Dylan, Tatyana, and Louella search for Kadar by going to Levi’s office. When the California Mage Council leaves his office, Levi gets attacked by Kadar and locks the rest of the team out of the office. Jacob portals them in, and a mini-scuffle breaks out, but Jacob and Louella pull Levi out of the office through a portal to the Infirmary while Dylan and Tatyana subdue Kadar. Krieger stabilizes Levi, but is unable to see how bad the damage is, at which point he reveals that he is an Organa, a type of magic that allows him to sense trauma in organic matter. Jacob calls Imogene and Isadora in to bring them up to speed on what happened, and when Imogene speaks about containing Raffe for being a danger, Krieger loses his temper, telling Imogene to take over the directorship of the coven. She agrees to taking over on a temporary basis, and freeing Santana and Alton, as well as working on getting Harley amnesty.

At the New York Coven, Wade continues to be a jerk to Harley, who in turn feels strange before she realizes that the feelings are the result of the Grimoire pulling her to it. An argument starts between Wade and Garrett, and Harley uses her reverse Empathy on both of them, during which she realizes that there’s something very wrong with Wade as he feels different emotions than the ones she feeds him. Together, they find their way to a charmed door, and Harley puts her hand inside a magical hand scanner, which gives her a lot of knowledge of magical spells, as well as insights into her parent’s life together. The reel breaks her Empathy connection on Wade, who attacks her and knocks her out. As a result, Harley finds herself in a nursery that should have belong to her, facing a younger version of herself. Harley’s mini-me tells her that the purpose of the Grimoire as well as the history of the Merlin bloodline. She then urges Harley to wake up, and Harley finds Wade held off by Garrett and Finch. She puts a spell on Wade, and Finch reveals that he felt that she was in danger, which gave him the kick he needed to answer the Chain of Truth’s question honestly. They make their way into the vault, grab the Grimoire, and escape the Coven.

Back at the SDC, Imogene takes over as the temporary director and gives assignments to everyone on the Rag Team. Remington speaks with Dylan, finally telling him the truth about his parents and that he is his uncle, which of course leaves Dylan angry. Louella talks with Suri and Jacob, over breakfast, urging him to let Suri go back to the human world. Isadora overhears the conversation and says that she agrees with both of them. Imogene shows back up in the infirmary to ask Krieger about Delirium, which is medicine based off of ancient herbalism, and they discuss Levi, when suddenly a portal door opens, and Harley, Finch, and Garret spill through with an unconscious Wade.

Wade wakes up and attempts to attack Harley again, at which point Imogene steps in and restrains him. Apparently he’s under a very ancient Romany Hex, which turns love into hate, so Imogene removes Harley from the infirmary to her office, where the ladies talk. Imogene is troubled by the fact that Harley took the Merlin Grimoire, but agrees to let her use it if she thinks it will help against Katherine. They find that the replica of the Merlin Heirloom is the one causing all of the fuss with Wade, so they destroy it. In the meantime, Jacob kisses Suri.

The next day, Wade wakes up as himself, and Harley and Finch catch him up on his actions, about which he feels guilty. Then they go to an empty classroom in one of the older sections of the Coven so that Harley can look through the Grimoire, where she finds more memories from her parents. At the infirmary, Jacob, Raffe, Santana, Tatyana, Dylan, Louella, Isadora, and Astrid watch the final pieces of the Detector being put together, and at first it does nothing. Louella removes a piece of metal that shouldn’t be in the Magical Detector, losing her fingers in the process, but the Magical Detector comes to life. Imogene reveals to Jacob and Isadora that the magical children were kidnapped from the LA coven, which lost its Director in the process, and went into lockdown. They decide to put Louella into protective custody in case Katherine wants her too. Isadora and Jacob take the magical detector to the banquet hall in order to test it out, while discussing Suri.

Harley pushes her self with the Grimoire, and ends up talking to her Mini-Me, who tells her that Chaos sees time differently. She also tells her to look into the Hidden Things spell, which will reveal more of the hidden pages of the book.

Jacob returns to the infirmary with Isadora, only to find Imogene with Suri. Imogene asks why Suri is in the coven, and as Jacob explains, he notices that the Detector flashes Katherine’s information when pointed to Imogene. Suri wounds Isadora, Katherine takes over the detector, and then forces Suri to tell that her abduction was a ruse to get her into the coven in order to spy on everyone working on the Detector, in exchange for Magic when Katherine ascends. Katherine kills Suri, and Isadora taunts her over Hiram, Hester, Harley and Finch, after which Katherine kills her. Katherine also reveals to Jacob that she’s the one whose been putting the Delirium pills out, and playing Imogene for years. She uses a spell on him that turns him unconscious, and turns herself back into Imogene, right before Astrid walks through the infirmary doors.

Harley is shaken out of her trance right before the classroom collapses, and O’Halloran finds her along with Wade and Finch, urging them to come to the infirmary. There she finds that Isadora is dead and Alton could not do anything to resurrect her. Tobe reveals that Katherine masqueraded as Rita Bonnello, put Jacob into a magical coma, and that the magical children were kidnapped. The whole Rag Team is distraught, but they rally around Harley.

My Verdict: I love the sweet revelations of Harley’s parents in both the coven’s wall, and the Grimoire. It makes them seem more real, and reveals that they have loved her so much. I was not expecting Imogene to be Katherine, and now I worry that she knows way too much about Harley’s plans. Will they realize this soon or will they continue to trust her?

I’m also finally starting to come around the fact that Finch may actually care about Harley, especially considering the question that the Chains of Truth ask him. But I’m not entirely convinced yet, so I guess we will have to wait for the next book in order to find out, especially if we get a chance to hear from his perspective again.

As mediocre as this series is, I’m not really one to give up on reading a series unless it’s really bad. So far, it’s been entertaining with the different character perspectives and the plot twists, so I am looking forward to the next one.

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