|Martha Wells: The Wizard Hunters|
Eos (Paperback), ISBN 038080798X
Imagine a war fought against a nameless enemy whose weapons destroy your every defense, mechanical or magical. Imagine family and friends wounded, killed or missing. Imagine knowing that you may be the only hope left for a country poised to be overrun by a ruthless army. Imagine you are almost too heartsick and weary to care.
Tremaine Valiarde, heroine of The Wizard Hunters, Book One of Martha Wells's series "The Fall of Ile-Rien," grew up surrounded by powerful sorcerers. But after years of a war fought against an army that appears out of nowhere and returns there, leaving ruins in its wake, she lives alone. She doesn't think about it much, but she also possesses a strange toy, a magical sphere constructed by Arisilde Damal, the greatest sorcerer in the history of her country, Ile-Rien.
Late one evening a sorcerer friend of her father's asks to borrow the sphere for one last desperate attempt to save Ile-Rien. Tremaine agrees. The resulting adventure finds her mixed up in translocation spells, making contact with a new sorcerer-hating civilization, striking a vanguard blow against the enemy, and uncovering clues to the disappearance of both Arisilde and her father.
From the very first sentence Tremaine presents herself as an exasperating, witty, nutty and fully endearing heroine. Each character, from the sorcerer Gerard and the student witch Florian to the sorcerer hunters Ilias and Giliead, stands apart as an individual. Wells creates intricate and detailed worlds for her characters to move through, from an underground enemy bunker to an abandoned hotel converted to an army outpost. The novel picks up swiftly from the opening scene and rarely slows down, carrying the reader through a complicated but carefully constructed plot.
So, did I like the book? No. I loved the book. Wells demonstrates her ability to develop characters and weave a plot from the opening page, and she never looks back. Her latest book typifies the best that fantasy can offer. I don't know how many more books she plans for her series. Part of me hopes for only one, so I may learn how the story ends. The other part hopes for more time to spend with these characters -- not such a bad position to be in.
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