Cass and Max-Ernest make a welcome return in the second book in the ‘Secrets’ series. In continuing their battles against the Midnight Sun group and the villainous Dr L, they form an alliance with the enigmatic Terces Society. The quest to locate the legendary homunculus forms the central thrust for the story and this is embedded cleverly and creatively throughout the book.
As with its predecessor, the success of this book lies in its playfulness. The frequent placement of footnotes adds irreverent and direct addresses to the reader. There is an immense level of detail given to the book – the reversal of chapter numbering, the typographic effects – and its production, making this a distinctive and highly unusual book both in feel and in form.
The playful nature via which it reveals and withholds information makes for an engaging – and at times frustrating – narrative. Aping the gothic horror tradition, it successfully draws upon those literary traditions whilst also satirising them, guaranteeing readers an inventive and stylish read.