Elemental Explosions - Kailin Gow Unpleasant surprises await the trio of Wirt, Alana and Spencer in this second installment of the Alchemists. Unpleasantness in the form of a new student named Roland Black.Wirt starts his second year at the Alchemist's Academy with his two friends barely speaking to each other after a summer romance failed. To add to the drama comes a boy, Roland, who seems to only want to cause trouble between them, while working on a scheme that only he is aware of.This series is taking a life of its own and its becoming more and more exciting with each book I read. I like that there seems to be no dark wizard in this, but more a Merlin based wizardry - with Wirt starting off by dreaming about King Arthur and his famous sword, Excalibur. There isn't a lot of this legend in the book as it continues, but there is more excitement as everyone at the school fights to become one of the fourteen that go on to become part of the Elite team. I have a feeling that the King Arthur theme will be developed further in later books.I really like how this story line is developing and the similarities with other books is fading. The pace of the writing is good. I read the book in one sitting and wasn't tempted to go and read another. There's a really nice mystery developing in the series now that makes me want to find out what happens to the characters in the book and who is plotting what. I'm also interested to know if Wirt ever makes it back to his dimension - not that there's really anything there for him.The characters are still the same with Wirt still developing new, exciting skills, only in this book I think there was more tension between the character which was cleverly created by Roland. Roland has definitely been created to be a character you love to hate and I would really like to know more about him. His back story is sketchy at best, but is to be expected when he's part of the mystery component. Alana annoys me in this the worst. She's gone from quite a strong character in the first book to this almost whiny one. It's a shame because she was one of the characters I liked the most from the first book. Anyway, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes magical books.Now for my rating:-Three out of five stars.This review can be found here http://magicalmanuscriptsandwritingthings.blogspot.co.nz/