I really am late with this post, I know. I finished Kaleb Nation's The Specter Key Sunday, and it is now Wednesday. (Let's just not mention how long I have gone without reporting my thoughts on The Professor. . . ) So here is my take.
I enjoyed The Farfield Curse. I remember saying also that it had its "moments" of description. But I approached that book being a fan of Kaleb's websites, etc. Now The Specter Key has made me a Bran Hambric fan. The world in these pages was always its own; now Kaleb has filled it with all the minute details. We don't just hear, for instances, about gnomes from Polland himself and see some in a restaurant through windows; there are a couple on a plane that Bran defends. We are not just told that Bran, like his mother, has the capacity to choose great evil; we see how he might begin to make the wrong choices, even for the right reasons (like saving his friend, Astara). It all becomes much more solid.
Perhaps my favorite part: the humor. It was good in the first book; it only gets better in the second. Is Mabel really cleaning the wrecked Wilomas house with a fishbowl-like cover on her head? (Mabel is a clean freak, if you like -- she's always surrounding herself with pills and detoxifiers and the like). Mr. Rat shows up again? And again? (I still don't know whether Mr. Rat is a totally random character as he seems or if his strange intertwining with the plot will come to have some other meaning). Etc, etc. The humor really makes this book a blast to read.
Two things I enjoyed very much in this book: Nim and the bus scenes. Okay, so the series does involve magic, but a fairy was not something I was expecting; hence, Nim was a lot of fun. As a commuter, there was something priceless in seeing Bran having to get a ride on a bus: all of the people going on and off and the strange way conversations, when they do happen, can occur.
Now I can say with assurance that this book is worth buying, so again I ask that you help Kaleb Nation reach his goal of getting on the bestseller list by pre-ordering it. I'll be at the launch of the book tour at Changing Hands tomorrow; should be cool.