Hong Kong teenager Wilf just wants to be “A Normal” and play soccer; even though his magic keeps getting in the way. In fact, “He wanted to tell his best friend the truth. That he’d been to a Magical Realm full of witches and wizards, and that he had himself become a powerful wizard. About how he’d recovered the formula to stop the witches from losing their magic. But who would believe it? He wasn’t sure he did, and he’d lived through it.”
It does sound pretty unbelievable, doesn’t it? And that’s only the beginning. C.B. Lyall’s second installation to the Virus of Beauty series, The Veil of Corruption (Hazel Publishing Company), returns with all the witches, wizards and whodunnits of its predecessor, taking us along as it travels through an enchanted Veil to the Magical Realm, and within that realm, deep into the warring worlds of the supernaturals who populate it.
HOW DOES A TEEN FIX NOT ONE, BUT TWO, WORLDS?
Wilf is struggling after the events of the previous novel, The Virus of Beauty. His stepsister Myra murdered their father Reginald. He’s having a harder and harder time controlling his own magic (he’s already got his hands full trying to hide his powers from his teammates). He shares a bond of attraction with his girlfriend, the young witch Katryna (but is he only into her because of this bond?). The Veil that’s the crux of the magical and mundane worlds is going rogue and turning upon the witches and wizards. Oh, and that last thing? It’s Wilf’s fault. Wilf is determined to fix the issue while also hunting down the treacherous Myra, two tasks far easier said than done.
Meanwhile, Myra has her own perspective on these recent happenings, and her own mission to accomplish. One of her secrets is that she never meant to kill Reginald, just to stun him, but she lost control of her own spell. I don’t dare reveal any of her other secrets without spoiling some major plot points; I can reveal, however, that she’s having trouble finding a portal that will allow her to return to the magical realm, and in the meantime, increasingly relying on precious vials of elixir to maintain her powers. She might be dangerously addicted but she refuses to admit it to herself.
TEAMWORK AND TRUST
We as readers are able to experience Myra’s inner and outer turmoil because Lyall switches up the points of view, adding a layer of intrigue to the narrative. We also get Katryna’s perspective, and this third lens contributes to both the action and the humor; she really just can’t understand why Wilf cares so much about kicking a black and white ball around, or why the girls in the normal land of Hong Kong don’t want warts and chin hair. In spite of the war around them and the magic within them, the protagonists are teenagers trying to begin living their adult lives, and their personal conflicts dovetail nicely with the large-scale political ones.
Lyall’s magic realms are jam-packed and the plot is lightning-quick. She throws a lot at her cast of characters, who seem to only be able to win their battles by teaming up and working together. There’s the rub; how can anyone lock down an ally when the players keep switching teams? This theme of trusting others, and more poignantly, trusting oneself, is a central point of contention in Lyall’s novel.
To make matters worse, the rules of the game are constantly changing as the very structure of existence is progressively jeopardized. Every few chapters the plot thickens, the sides switch, and the stakes get higher. If you want to see what happens next, you’ll have to wait for the release of the third book of this series, which will no doubt be an equally magical and mind-bending ride.
Learn more about Lyall on her BookTrib author profile page.
“The Virus of Beauty” and the Teenager Caught in a Magical War