The Wooden Prince is Pinocchio re-imagined. He’s a construct of wood and gears, a robot servant in the palace of the doge. But suddenly he has ideas of his own and a person to find: an alchemist named Geppetto. Fascinating world-building. Steampunk and alchemy, with a island where “half-beasts” and elementals live under the peaceful reign of a benevolent eternal. Lots to discover and action aplenty. In Den of the White Fox, Zenta and Matsuzo travel into a valley where people believe in legends of a trickster fox. In order to help the young woman who offers them shelter, the two ronin seek to unravel a mystery involving several thefts. A (much-welcomed) final story from Namioka, which was probably not included in the main series simply because it’s shorter than the previous books. Jinx’s Fire is the final installment in the Jinx trilogy. He may not be the most tactful boy in the Urwald, but he’s certainly the most powerful. But he can’t end a war and save a friend without help. Complex, unique, and very satisfying to my curmudgeon-loving soul.