Magic and Science Blend Together in a Time-Warping Adventure in D.O.D.O.’s Sequel, Master of the Revels

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The first installment of Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland’s The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. threw me into the most zany and wondrous loop of witches, quantum physics, secret government societies, and everything in between.

Set in a universe perfect for fans of Hellboy and A Discovery of Witches, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O follows Melisande, an expert linguist who has an unexpected run in with Tristan—a military intelligence officer—in a Harvard University hallway. Their reason for meeting? Tristan wants her to translate old documents that prove that magic existed in the past and was faded out from history through the introduction of the scientific revolution.

What happens afterward is nothing less than a fantastic adventure of time travel, witchcraft, and mind-shattering science that threatens to alter the very history of the world as we know it—an absolutely memorable read that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

When I learned that Master of the Revels, the sequel to D.O.D.O., would be publishing in 2021, I couldn’t wait to dive back into Tristan and Melisande’s world—especially after the simply devilish cliffhanger the previous novel left off on. For readers who haven’t yet read The Rise And Fall Of D.O.D.O, be warned: there be spoilers ahead.

**Spoiler Warning for The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.**

Master of the Revels swiftly picks back up where The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O left off: with the dangerous and powerful witch Gráinne threatening the altar the very nature of history itself through her stronghold over Edmund Tilney: the king’s Master of Revels, and the controller of all staged performances in London.

But what is Gráinne’s endgame? Well, for one thing, she aims to infuse “cataclysmic spells” into famous plays like Shakespeare’s “cursed play” MacBeth, and sow chaos magic across the cosmos and very fabric of time and space. With no other options, Tristan is forced to send his sister Robin into the fray, and help Mel reset the mess they’ve created and hopefully save the world (and our very reality as we know it) with their sanity intact.

For a second novel, Master of the Revels masterfully managed to create an entirely new story that breathed life into new potential mythos and fantasies, while still fleshing out the character arcs of Tristan and Mel in a satisfying, fast-paced way. It’s interesting to note that Nicole Galland has taken the reins from Neal Stephenson in this sequel and gone solo—though despite that, the novel still feels as fun and immersive as the first, with the same strong voice that initially drew me in; whether Stephenson will come on again in later installments, or Galland will continue on alone, I’m confident the story will only continue to strengthen, which I personally find exciting.

Also important to mention is that at its core, the D.O.D.O series is a love story, and as a hopeless romantic, I found myself rooting for Tristan and Mel no matter how far away they seemed to be straying from each other. Romance is imbued in such a clever inherent way that even as dark as things may seem, I never felt as if there wouldn’t be the possibility of a happily ever after.

And while this novel also ends in a simply rude cliffhanger that promises only more wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey shenanigans to come, I’m certainly ready to strap in for the ride.

Let’s just hope this next installment arrives before we know it, because the one thing I’m not looking forward to is the wait to find out just how the heck this ragtag gang of disaster agents are gonna fix this new series of messes they’ve stirred up.

Make sure to add Master of the Revels and, if you haven’t read it yet, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. to your TBR lists when you next get the chance!

(featured image: William Morrow)

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Image of Larissa Irankunda
Larissa Irankunda
Larissa Irankunda (she/her) is an East African star child and writer based in Brooklyn. Fantasy and Science-Fiction are her first loves, and her writing focuses on amplifying diversity and inclusion in storytelling. You are most likely to find her nose-deep in a good book, or professing her love for Danny Devito and Jeff Goldblum on the interwebs.