This book reminded me of Harry Potter. Not in the broad sense, they aren't witches but in the smaller sense that a young child is forced into a position where they have to be so much wiser and older than their years. Poor Belladonna is still only 12 years old - this story is only months away from the previous. The adventure is far more dangerous. The sad part is that those who have put Belladonna in this position really don't care if she lives or dies, she's replaceable as the Spellbinder. She has people who love her and want to protect her but they are not in positions to really help her.
There were things I loved about this story. Belladonna and Steve take their missions very seriously but there seems to be loose ends from one book to the next. In the first book, the oracle gives them two riddles to solve and they only solve one. That second riddle doesn't come up in this book. Aside from that, it's very good.
Belladonna is forced to live with foster parents but her new family is not what they appear to be. So many things happen but I worry about spilling any of the surprises. Early on you figure there is something wrong with her foster family and you find yourself very suspicious of hot chocolate but what is going on has so many details and twists that you can't guess it all.
I love the way Helen Stringer mixes in all types of mythology. There's so many more creatures in this book than in the last one. I really need a good mythology book but that will have to wait until after I finish my growing reading pile.