||I had a lot of trouble coming up with a
"catch" line, above, for this book. What is written on the back cover
doesn't describe the book, and in fact, if is completely wrong in a lot
of what it says. However, I can't blame the writer of that blurb,
because I still can't figure out what the book was about.
The description on the back cover begins
with events that take place more than halfway through the book
-because absolutely nothing happens in the first half!
The main character, an evil man named
Irasmus, decides to take control of the people in a fair land. He
learned wizardry in The Place of Learning, and when the Good Guys there
find out what he plans, they do a lot of talking about how they can't do
anything to stop him. Huh? Yeah, that's what I said, too.
There is a lot of talk about the past,
about how the Wind was used as a weapon against evil that was ravaging
the land, but that it didn't care if innocents were in the way of the
evil it was wiping out, so a lot of good people died in that war. So a
Covenant was brought into being, restricting them all, even the Wind.
That doesn't explain why they couldn't use their magic to defeat the
man. They are not forbidden to use their magic, as they use it to do
many things, including spying on Irasmus.
For his part, Irasmus seems to be
dealing with the devil. Parts of this book felt like the Forgotten
Realms, as demons were summoned so easily. He uses them to dispatch the
people in the fair land, who have the potential for talent, but refuse
to learn magic. There were a couple of people who did Dream, however,
and they received warnings, not that anybody did anything about it.
When Irasmus came, why didn't the
people of Firthdun flee into the Forest? The Forest already discussed
among its own kind that it would accept refugees, yet nobody tried until
Irasmus put up some barriers against such escapees.
It seemed that the powers for good
would wait too long to weave their magic, for they did more nothing as
the book went along. If they had confronted Irasmus before he took the
people of Styrmyr, they would have saved the people there a dozen years
of slavery and death. As they waited and waited, I felt that Irasmus
would grow too powerful for them to defeat.
Instead, it turned out that Irasmus was
an idiot. After using his magic to force a young man to rape a distant
cousin (even that wasn't clear upon first glance), he decides to wait
until the baby is born, taking him as an apprentice. He spends thirteen
years, then, doing nothing! Are we supposed to believe that he raised
the child on his own? Ha! Fogar was taught lessons as he grew, but he
refused to bend to the dark, somehow keeping his will secret from his
master. I don't believe that, either. In all that time, I also want to
know how the people of the land survived, since there was nothing left
to grow after
the first summer, let alone the following winter. But somehow they kept
having babies and those children also grew up, without any sustenance to
This book was very difficult to read,
mainly because of the author's style. It seemed as if she was trying to
write in an ancient style, but it came across too complicated. Worse,
there were way too many people, lands, and demons with names like "she
who had come", and "he who should not be named", and so on. Yuck.
The characters throughout were
one-dimensional, or less. I never saw any motivation for Irasmus to make
deals with the Dark, and we are never told why he turned out this way,
really. None of the characters have any motivation, except what the
story dictates to them. Nobody has a will of their own. Irasmus has
everybody perform mindlessly, especially in his two attempts at breeding
experiments. It is even implied that Irasmus might be manipulated by
some other, but that thread is left hanging, even after the curious
attack on the Forest by his demons, something that he suspects was
authorized by another Being.
The second half of the book was
marginally better in terms of storytelling, but there was still no
point. I actually liked seeing Irasmus' plans backfire on him, like the
spiral of stones (sabotaged by Fogar), and his chat with the gargoyle
creature. I also enjoyed Fogar's thoughts; they were the most
interesting part of the book, by far. His cousin Cerlyn also started
being interesting, but never really went anywhere. I suppose Fogar and
Cerlyn will be married when they are old enough.
The climax of the book, for what it is,
bored me as much as the rest. Fogar has a twin sister, whom Irasmus knew
nothing about. Growing up among the Forest people, Falice is as naive as
they come. Yet the Wind teaches her everything about everything in a
matter of months, so that she can ... well, she doesn't really do
anything. She leads a group of Forest beasts to confront Irasmus, yet
they don't do anything. Fogar and Cerlyn defeat the monster that Irasmus
summons, as easily as the monster defeated Irasmus, and tossed him
Then Falice gets swept off by the Wind,
and becomes part of a higher being. Uh-huh. The villagers return to
normal, and the Good Guys from The Place of Learning say that the world
will never be the same. Why? Were other things happening that we weren't
told about? Maybe they were more interesting.
What we got, however, were a bunch of
boring people thinking about doing something about an incompetent evil
man. It is implied that they used their power to create twins and a
bunch of other things, but I didn't see how any of what they did
mattered, except perhaps the tutoring of Cerlyn for a few hours in her
cell (though somehow she got to know the study "very well by now" in
that short stay). I never understood why the people of Styrmyr had to
get themselves out of the mess, since they didn't get themselves into
it, except by denying their power -which is their right.
Ah, well. I raced through this book as
fast as I could, to get it over with. I cannot recommend it to anybody.
Some of the description was interesting, and Fogar was by far the most
interesting of the non-characters, but even those were barely above my
threshold. Good-bye, book.