When book 2 ends, you have learned that Burdie is an anomaly by having two magics inside of her. She is a witch and a sorcerer. From what you learn throughout the entire series, these two magics are at odds inside of Burdie because witchcraft uses the earth itself and heals the earth while sorcery uses materials and depletes the energy within them. In other words, witchcraft heals and sorcery kills. No wonder Burdie is struggling to use either sets of power and why they don't want to be used together. Burdie is also special in that she can control all five elements where most sorcerers can only use one. For example, Josephine is a metalurgist and can work with metals only. Burdie however can work with metals and wood among other things. It turns out that all sorcerers at one point could use all five, but they have pretty much died out. She and Jack are all that are left for the most part.
Jack has become consumed with the living metal by the time this book starts and Burdie has discovered that she has become infected as well. Now they have to find a way not to lose themselves to the living metal and to figure out where it even came from. Samuel, the sorcerer that started this whole infection knew only enough to get them all into big trouble and decided he knew enough. He didn't really look into how the metal works or why it takes over the bodies of sorcerers. He didn't even bother to find out what would happen to someone who is infected by the living metal when the metal itself does not approve of that person's soul. Hugh gets to find out about this personally and you will be shocked what the living metal does to him.
This book really centers on keeping Burdie from being taken over completely. The group now includes Kate (Hugh's sister witch), Burdie's brothers Pharo and Damon, a traveling group of Maji, Vasek the Maji, Stella the ninja, Josephine the sorcerer, Jack the sorcerer/Maji, Burdie the sorcerer/witch, and Sassafras the demonic cat. They come to realization that the living metal cannot be stopped and will eventually kill them all. However, Kate finds a solution and is able to turn the world around for better or for worse.
I loved the entire series. It was a great set of books and I only hope I can read more by Patti Larsen since she is a wonderful author!