Eff could be a powerful magician if she wanted to. Except she's not sure she wants that kind of responsibility. Everyone keeps waiting for her to do something amazing — or to fail in a spectacular way. Worse, her twin brother, Lan, a powerful double seventh son, is jealous of all the attention she's been getting. Even as Eff protests that she's just an ordinary girl, she's asked to travel past the Barrier Spell with one of the new professors at her father's school. The land west of the Barrier is full of dangers, both magical and wild. Eff will need to use all her strength—magical and otherwise—to come safely back home.
This book provides examples of:
- All of the Other Reindeer: Eff's teachers and classmates bully her after she ends the mirror bug plague.
- Berserk Button: Wash has a thing about settlers doing their protection spells properly.
- Blessed With Suck: Lan finds out that there's a downside to having so much power
- Fantastic Flora: Magical plants are a staple of the setting. Sometimes as staple foodstuffs, even.
- Germanic Efficiency: The leader of the saber-cat hunting group is vaguely Aryan-looking and comes from a settlement with a German name. He's very efficient about the whole business.
- Hope Sprouts Eternal: The grub-eaten land is slowly recovering from the mirror-bug plague.
- How Unscientific!: Torgeson has a problem with publishing untested hypotheses.
- Mr. Exposition: Wash about Promised Land settlement
- Old Maid: Allie starts worrying about not getting any younger when Mr Boden starts walking Eff home.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Against animals because they are immune to magic.
- Single Specimen Species: A few things in the menagerie. They hope to change this.