Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 368 Pages
Release Date: June 28th, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Signed book from BEA
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is a debut novel by Braken. I have been wanting to read this for some time and it was a great story; a wonderful fantasy story filled with magic, adventure, and romance.
Sydelle is the daughter of the village elder in a village that has been in a drought for 10 years. Wayland North is the wizard who shows up and breaks the drought, asking for Sydelle to accompany him as payment. Wayland has information that could stop an upcoming war but he needs Sydelle’s knowledge of the land to find his way cross country to deliver the information. Along the way Sydelle will learn the dark secrets that drive Wayland’s violently variable personality and she will learn that she is very special in ways she never imagined.
Sydelle is a very likable heroine. She is thoughtful and caring, yet tough enough to take action when needed and survive what she has to. I love the way her weaving is somewhat magical, yet in a subtle way. Wayland I had a bit more trouble with. In the beginning of the book his personality changes so fast that I keep looking to make sure I wasn’t missing some pages in the book or something. I know he was supposed to have a touchy personality, but I thought that the way this was done was a bit hard to follow and too broken up.
The side characters are okay, but none of them really stood out as something special.
I enjoyed the magic woven into the story and liked how different items enabled the wizards to do different types of magic. I would have like a little more detail about the magic system so that I could understand it better.
The world created is an interesting one and the prospect of war hanging over the nation adds wonderful suspense to the story. Some of the mage battles between Wayland and the evil wizard are truly spectacular to read about. There isn’t a lot here that we haven’t seen in other fantasy books of a similar type. The storyline is basically girl is forced to hang out with a boy to save the world/country from some disastrous event and ends up falling in love with him.
The romance between Sydelle and Wayland is very sweet, it grows gradually over time and they each have to give and take some to make things work out. I thought it was very well done.
The book wraps up nicely. I would be interested in reading more about Sydelle and Wayland in the future, but haven’t heard anything more about future installments in this series.
Overall this was a great read. I love fantasy stories with a strong heroine that are full of adventure, magic, and a little romance. While this book didn’t have a whole lot of really creative elements to it, it did have a well-developed world and magic system with a strong and likable heroine. The relationship between Sydelle and Wayland is sweet and fun to read about. I did think the beginning of the book was a bit inconsistent and choppy with respect to Wayland’s character, but that evened out as the story went on. Fans of Tamora Pierce or Kristin Cashore should check this book out. Fans of fantasy with a touch of romance will also find a lot here to love.