The Books of Magic: Summonings
by John Ney Rieber, various artists
(DC/Vertigo, 1996)

Summonings begins with a possible-future version of Tim Hunter, a closet full of Mollys, a luxurious home (or a box, depending on your point of view) and a fat, blue, babylike demon who is future Hunter's servant or master.

This next installment in The Books of Magic introduces an evil master of tears and mirrors, a subjugated succubus with a California tan and Happy, a golem. And then there's Molly, Tim's willful would-be girlfriend, who has none of his power but an excess of personality.

Tim is forced to address his power more directly after an attack on him targets his father instead ... and temptation moves in next door. Some foolish childhood beliefs turn out to be real -- and at least one is vaguely threatening to the rest. And a top-hatted street urchin out of time threatens to "do for" Tim over a girl. Meanwhile, Auberon leaves Faerie and gets his soul trapped in a factory globe, and Tim must escape a flood beneath London.

If this sounds confusing -- well, The Books of Magic don't necessarily progress in a linear fashion, and plot twists demand a certain vagueness in explanation. But John Ney Rieber, who followed in Neil Gaiman's footsteps and turned Tim's story into an ongoing series, has definitely found his footing with the characters and their world. Summonings sets various plot threads twisting into Tim's story, some of which will be resolved here while others have long-reaching implications.

This is definitely a series for anyone who loves the Gaiman mindset and realizes that, heck, Gaiman alone can't write enough to keep us all sated year-round.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 25 October 2003

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