“Word of advice. Put your team together. You’re going to want them for what’s coming.”
That’s what Father Arturo Menchu’s own personal demon (well, seemingly), now referring to itself as Hannah, tells him in episode 2 of season 3 of Serial Box’s Bookburners. It’d be a daunting task in its own right, but considering the fact that Team Three, everyone’s favorite group of misfit toys in the Societas Librorum Occultorum, a super-secret section of the Vatican dedicated to defending the world from magic, has been effectively split right down the middle.
So, yeah, Menchu’s definitely got his work cut out for him.
Bookburners, the series co-written by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Brian Francis Slattery, Andrea Phillips, and Mur Lafferty, returns for its third season on July 19. Gladstone, the series’ co-creator with Julian Yap, took the reins on episode 1, and wasted no time in throwing us into the action.
We learn that after being arrested, put on trial, and threatened with death at the end of season 2, Asanti is still working with Team Three, but has also secretly teamed up with her former archival assistant, Frances (who now has tentacles instead of legs, and is confined to a wheelchair) and Perry, Sal’s brother/angel combo, to revamp the once-defunct Team Four. On top of that, Grace has left Team Three for the more violent, shoot-first-ask-questions-later Team One, claiming that she’d be of better use there. Liam and Sal are still part of the team, but definitely shaken from the sudden reorganization of the Society.
Like all the best Netflix series, season 3 of Bookburners has so far been irresistibly binge-worthy. One of my favorites aspects of the series is seeing the different kinds of magic and supernatural beings the Bookburners team comes across, and season 3 has started off strong on that front: during the first four episodes, we’ve seen a town full of werewolves, a hydra off the coast of New Zealand, magic that causes cave paintings to come to life (and can throw visitors into said cave paintings), weird little servants released by the newly minted Team Four, and a return to the infamous Market Arcanum.
Other than learning more about what Hannah is warning Menchu about, the thing that I’m most looking forward to this season is Grace coming to terms with her mortality… or lack thereof. Her life is tied to a candle (she’s only awake when it burns) and she’s practically invincible.
Ever since she transferred to Team One, it seems like she’s been hit harder than ever with the fact that she’ll be losing friends to death and old age while staying relatively the same herself, and is almost tempting fate with her decisions. She was swallowed by a hydra as part of what looked like a potential suicide mission more than anything else, volunteered to sacrifice herself at the Market Arcanum, and calculated just how much time she had left.
It’s a common enough plotline in general, but with a character as complex as Grace, I think it’ll be ramped up a notch, and really hope we get more of it later on in the season.
Season 3 of Bookburners was released on July 19, but there’s still plenty of time for you to catch up with everything going on in the Vatican. Check out our review of season 1, then download a few episodes of the series for yourself—I guarantee you’ll be caught up faster than you can say Societas Librorum Occultorum.
3.5 out of 5 stars
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