This is the second I have read of this series, and although I am not a fan of series, and this one is definitely outside of my age range, I found it to be as entertaining as the first, which I rated positively. There were a couple of portions where I became bored, notably when Anna spends so much time with her grandmother, Baba Yaga before she goes on her quest. This wasn't entertaining to me. I am not a fan of Baba Yaga stories at all, which was one reason this bored me. The time spent in this endeavor seemed to really drag and produce very little fruit, and there were, for me, far too many pages expended on Baba. The quest was much more fun, and really kicked the story back into high gear, but then we hit another tedious section where Anna is involved with this really annoying cat, and frankly I skipped most of that because it was even more boring than the time she was with Baba.
Those sections aside, I enjoyed the story very much and consider it a worthy read for the intended age range. Anna continues to be a strong young girl who wants to do good even as she fears that using magic is somehow allowing the same darkness into her heart which has overtaken and possessed her grandmother. It's a bit scary for Anna, who is trying to find where her father is and rescue him. Can Anna rebel against her grandmother - who is seeking to own her as she tried to own her father - without letting either that darkness or her grandmother take her over?
Anna learns a lot more about her family history in this volume and frankly, it was a bit too much for my taste. Maybe others will like the firehose of family history, but I would have preferred the same volume delivered as a trickle over the length of the story. It was interesting in some ways, but it rather deadened the mind when so much of it was unloaded all at once, and it really brought the story-flow to a bit of a halt.
There are moments of good humor, though, which helped to lighten the load, despite the rather oppressive tone of the volume as a whole, such as when I read "...the sound of an enraged tiger in the taiga." which made me laugh out loud. Anna is an impressive character who fears the consequences of her use of magic, but who also wants to do some good with it if she can. Besides there's a father to rescue, and a matching hand for her disembodied helper, Squire, to be found. I recommend this for the age range, but it's not a series I am interested in following for myself, especially when I have so much else to read!