Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A book published in the second half of 2023
Skate the Seeker, by Jeff Ayers
This is the sequel to Skate the Thief (reviewed here for last year's challenge). It's a series that needs to be read in order. Skate leaves the familiar city on a desperate cross-country journey to rescue Skate's wizard mentor, Bellamy. She's accompanied by her friends Twitch (fellow underage thief), Petre (guy trapped in a glass globe) and Rattle (a sort of bat-spider creature created by magic, who does scouting with its giant eyeball and makes great pancakes).
They make friends and enemies along the way - and there are twists where a seeming enemy turns out to be a friend, and vice versa. (Curiously, this is the third book I've read recently with a good-hearted prince who doesn't really believe in monarchy.) This book has a darker feel than the first one, with some scary moments. Skate and friends battle on, with courage and persistence.
As with the first book, this one wraps up its main plot in a satisfying way, and opens a door in the final chapter to set up the next book. The hints are there throughout the book, but only come clear at the end.