The second book in Rosemary Edghill’s Bast series is Book of Moons. We continue to see the pagan community as it actually is, not with a layer of paranormal atop.
Bast is still working at Houston Graphics, still in her coffin-shaped apartment, still frequenting the same pagan haunts as in Speak Daggers to Her. She is puzzled by the disappearance of several Books of Shadow (a witch’s personal spellbook). A strange sort of guy is hankering for admission into her coven, there’s talk around town of the witch status of Mary, Queen of Scots, someone is stealing all the rare books from the NYC occult shops and then to top it all off, a couple of her friends end up dead.
Before he is murdered, Ned Skelton (the oddball looking to join the coven) hands off a box containing a mysterious book reputed to be Mary’s BoS to Bast. Her stewardship of the box, and therefore the book, puts her in grave danger.
This book was less focused and lacked some of the cohesiveness of the first book. While the basic plot is a good one, the connection with Mary, Queen of Scots, makes it less believable and weaker. I found this book a more difficult read, in terms of it just keeping my attention, than I found Speak Daggers to Her. Edghill brings in quite a few more characters, and it found a bit difficult to keep them, their pagan slant and other pertinent details straight.
Once again, her description of the Craft and pagan community is accurate. This plotline dealt less with the supernatural aspects of the Craft than Speak Daggers to Her did.
One thing that is bothering me so far is that even in this, the second book, I still don’t have a clear idea of what Bast looks like. Her emotions run a little flat to me. She’s witty and clever, but I don’t feel anything from her. She’s a tad dry and a little detached. I want to have a character who is more colorful than Bast. The closest I’ve gotten to feeling like I was experiencing things through Bast’s eyes (which surprises me, since these books are in first person POV) was in this novel when she is being threatened by the book thief. He has her at gunpoint at Houston Graphics and Edghill’s descriptions of Bast’s physical sensations are good. However, I was not emotionally invested.
Despite this shortcoming, I still love the Bast books for their portrayal of the pagan community.