Now, we start out with someone who wants to gain power at all costs, and in so doing, she pretty much destroys the planet (but slowly, so it takes a while for people to notice). The hierarchy of power on Lor Mandela is full of fun terminology, such as "vritesse," "atoc," "Trysta," and "Brashnellan." If you decide to get into the world of Lor Mandela, there is a glossary at the back of book one to assist you in your understanding of this foreign world.
This story also takes place on Earth, and a seemingly unrelated teenage girl is in the middle.
What is cool about this book is that there is a richly detailed fantasy world, but also humdrum Iowa, and the two interfere. Four Hundred Days also takes place in both worlds. To get from one world to the other, you usually need a Squanki to open a portal. A squanki is a lovely little bug eating creature, and both books are infested with them. The magic of Lor Mandela is unlike magic in many fantasy novels in some ways; for instance, they can transform people into other people. And they can do it permanently. Not like a fey glamour.
One thing I found amusing was that when Lor Mandelans try to fit in on Earth, they kind of . . . act like idiots. One in particular adopts this 90s Surfer speech which is particularly hilarious.
There are so many characters in the first book that it takes a while to figure out who is more important. The second book is more centralized around young Audril, who has lived on both planets. Since she's had certain types of magic preformed on her, she doesn't always know how to do things. She knows she has to do things, figure things out, but just like it is for any teenager who has to save the world, she doesn't always get it right. In the words of a specific Iowa teacher, "if at first you don't succeed, that's what I expected;" because honestly, hardly anyone gets it right the first time.
Oh, and let's take a look at the cover of Four Hundred Days again:
OMG! IT'S SO PRETTY!