There’s a ton of differences between the old and new editions in this chapter. Most of it is Kara’s inner dialogue, but some of it falls under “infodump”.
Instead of going to her local computer guru or downloading a new antivirus program, Kara runs to Ravenswood Manor and meets up with the rest of the party. She shows them her laptop, but the scariest thing on it (according to Adriane) is her photoshopped Linny Lewis wallpaper. Kara then recounts everything that’s happened to her for the past 16 chapters, which I’m not going to bother recapping because I’ve been doing that for the past few weeks.
When Kara mentions the banshees, the party decides to look them up on their fancy new magitek computer. The entry on banshees confirms that, yes, the ones that are following Kara are irradiated. They took Kara’s sweater because they “foretell dark magic and the fate of those who are touched by evil” by washing articles of clothing belonging to a tainted person. The books also give two different origins for banshees: the original edition says they’re “phantasms, always female, usually tied to water magic” (which explains why they appear in water), while the new edition says they’re “creatures of fairy that have been cursed”.
The party then wonders how the banshees got radiation poisoning. The refugees explain that the banshees came from the Shadowlands, which used to be a beautiful forest before the Dark Sorceress destroyed it. (In the original edition, the Sorceress isn’t responsible for the Shadowlands’ creation; all the refugees say about the Shadowlands is that it’s “a place where magic has gone horribly wrong, destroying everything around it.”)
The conversation then turns to why the Sorceress is stealing magic from magical animals. Magic only works properly if a mage works with an animal, so….
“Trying to force animals to make magic,” Ozzie grimaced. “It’s a complete perversion of the magic. Horrible!”
“But we know our magic is stronger with our animal friends,” Emily reasoned.
“And the legends that say humans and animals once worked together to make strong magic,” Balthazar agreed.
“Well, now the animals have defenders to protect them!” Adriane punched her fist into her palm for emphasis.
“That’s right!” Ozzie sprang to his feet. “Let’s go!”
“Ozzie.” Emily caught his tale [sic] and pulled the agitated ferret back. “We don’t know what we’re up against yet.”
Hmm, so working with an animal friend is a good thing, but ordering a magical animal to make you do magic is a bad thing. (But that latter method is how warlocks cast spells, and as we’ll eventually see in Warlock Diaries, most warlocks aren’t bad people. They just do magic differently.)
Of course, Kara realizes that she’s just like one of the magical animals: having her in the party amplifies everyone’s spells. And she notices that the creepy reflection lady is only after her and the Sparkly Horn. Which leads to this in the new edition:
“Kara, don’t you think there’s something odd about your jewel?” Emily asked.
“What do you mean?”
“What did it look like when you first found it?” Adriane asked Kara.
“Just like this.” Kara held out the dazzling gem.
“Ours changed as we used them, as if they became tuned to us.”
“That would make sense,” Ozzie added. “Magic jewels are tuned to a specific person. Only they can use it.”
“Well, mine got here all powerful and ready to go. So what?”
Okay, so Sparkly Rocks change shape depending on who uses them, and when they do morph, they’re attuned to their user, and nobody else can use them. Yet oddly enough, there are cases later in the series where Sparkly Rocks are passed from one user to another (here be spoilers): Kara’s was once used by one of her distant ancestors, and Sierra (a minor character who features briefly in Song of the Unicorns and “Legend of the LAOA”) has a stone given to her by her grandfather. So Sparkly Rocks can be used by mages other than those they are originally tuned to….
All right, logistics rant over.
Anyway, the party concludes that a) the Sparkly Horn is probably a test for Kara, and b) they have no idea what the hell a Blazing Star is. Kara is determined to fill that role in the party, though (she gets a lengthy inner monologue on the subject in the new edition) — but she’s had enough of this crazy shit, so she goes home.
An aside: I’m going to need to make a post on all the different mage types and magic users. So far we’ve got warriors, healers, and blazing stars; and later we’ll run into dragon riders, dark mages, dual-classed mages, sorcerers, witches, wizards, warlocks, warlock mages, and arcanists … damn, that’s a long list. If I do make this post, expect it to be under the Encyclopedia tab.
EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition
- Ozzie’s line about forcing animals to make magic is removed.
Next time: Kara goes to the mall to do relatively normal things.