Power Tools in the Sacred Grove (Arcanum Faire #2) Review
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In the first book in the Arcanum Faire series, Camp Arcanum, author Josef Matulich set up a literary world filled with romance, carpentry, and the supernatural. In the follow-up, Power Tools in the Sacred Grove, he takes a step back to recover from the characters’ first adventure—and prepare for the next.

The story returns to Arcanum, Ohio, where work on the town’s new renaissance faire is well behind schedule, thanks to a pretty wild demon attack that was conjured up by Jeremiah Stone. Hospitalized for life-threatening wounds that were all but healed by the town’s resident witches, Marc Sindri is forced to take it easy while his team continues work without him. But every step of the way seems filled with obstacles—from bureaucrats to slimy squirrel zombies. And it’s all complicated even more by his troubled relationship with beautiful witch Brenwyn.

  
 
Following the over-the-top series introduction in Camp Arcanum, the follow-up tones things down a bit. As Marc recovers from his run-in with Brenwyn’s ex and his beastly army, he focuses on two things: his work and his relationship. The project is behind schedule and over budget, and he has to do everything he can to get the work done on time—even if it means setting up a remote control room, with cameras and microphones to help him keep an eye on the progress. Even though this part of the novel has its share of bumps and quirks, it’s a pretty straightforward story—especially since Marc’s bickering assistants seem just as focused on their work.

Meanwhile, the drama between Marc and Brenwyn continues to grow and change with their complicated relationship. Any relationship has its ups and downs—but one between a carpenter and a witch takes a little extra work. So much of this second novel—probably more than necessary—is spend dealing with the challenges they face.

Along the way, some of the other aspects of this eccentric series are lost in the shuffle—from the imaginative action to the quirky townspeople. The supernatural thrills take a backseat to the drama—and while it’s clear that the series is building to something big, this second book sometimes feels more like a transition than a standalone story.

Power Tools in the Sacred Grove continues the entertaining adventures of this construction crew camped out in the middle of a town full of witches and demonologists. Fans of the series will enjoy following along with Marc and Brenwyn as their story plays out—but you may find yourself missing the action, suspense, and supernatural craziness of its predecessor.


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