Ossus Library Index
Fantasy Index


A novel by Melissa Wright
(2017, Melissa Wright)

Frey, Book 1

A woman whose magic was bound because she's half-human in an elf world goes on the run after her power starts to manifest itself.


-- First reading (ebook)
October 1st to 6th, 2017


An easy read, but with little substance and muddy details, which highlights the need for communication between characters. If only two of the characters would have talked about what happened, or what was going to happen, most of the inane parts of the story would have disappeared and it would have been more enjoyable. It was obvious how wrong the main character’s assumptions were, which made it really annoying to go through her misconceptions chapter after chapter, repeated but never confirmed by asking a simple question of her companion.

Spoiler review:

I can’t say that I didn’t like this novel, but neither can I say that I enjoyed it. I thought the main character was interesting for the first few chapters, as she’s trying to learn magic, and finally accomplishes something in her teacher’s house, not to mention unintentionally growing a thistle in the throat of a girl who was really exasperating in her selfishness. Frey's further exploration was also interesting, until the point where she becomes obsessed with the man (elf) who shows up at her teacher’s doorstep one day.

The book moves along at a quick pace, not really giving us the time to stop and think about what’s not given. There is a lot that is not given, from dialog to details about what's happening. One such question is how old is Frey, to be obsessed with Chevelle? For most of the story, I assumed he was much older than her, but then they started getting closer, and I began to rethink it. Of course, these people are elves (and to many of them, humans are an unlikely legend), so it’s possible that age doesn’t matter at all, because they’ll all live forever. Still, this seems to be a young adult novel, and as such, I’d say that it’s more usual to have lovers around the same age -and Frey seems to be quite young, but maybe that’s just her human side.

The book hops from topic to topic, without giving us real reasons for why the character is doing things. Seeing Chevelle, she starts to research the northern tribes, but only because of a rumor and without researching the other, closer, tribes in much detail. By the time she runs away from her village, she still doesn’t know anything about him.

Of course, when she’s caught, she only thinks of escape, not listening to anything that’s said, or the meaningful emotions that are expressed. It’s obvious that the author has put these emotions in Chevelle’s face and body language because he cares about Frey, and is leading her away from the village and the danger, not toward it. But through the long journey, she continuously turns his words around, interpreting them exactly opposite to what he said. How delusional does the main character have to be, only because she wants to believe the worst in Chevelle, before we stop believing in the character? I stopped very early on.

Then there’s the diary, which was probably the best part of the novel. Unfortunately, it seems extremely implausible that Frey could read it without anybody seeing or noticing. This crowd of elves is oblivious to everything -it’s a wonder they make any progress at all. In the middle of a discussion, she’ll just reach into her bag, roll over, and start reading, leaving the outside world completely -and nobody cares.

The story completely stalls when they meet up with a group of northerners, who plan to travel to the peak of the mountain, which if I’ve understood correctly is where the castle stands. Only every time she asks about their destination, the group gives her a meaningful look, as if they’re afraid to tell her. They are attacked several times by members of the Council and the High Council (who bound her from magic), but manage to defeat them easily every time. Frey is able to transfer her consciousness into an eagle for one attack, and to find her missing newfound “friends”. It even saves her life before the end, as she’s so bored (like the reader at this point) that she goes inside the mind of her horse, and stays there as the attack on her body takes place. She transfers back afterwards, and is slightly sick, but recovers -after which she promptly continues to read the diary.

The diary scenes detail Frey’s mother as she goes from favorite daughter to the man in the castle, to training in magic, putting her mentor to sleep while she goes out to explore where her sister was going (the sister being the woman who ended up raising Frey), and discovering a colony of humans. Frey’s mother begins an intimate relationship with one of the humans, not realizing that she could become pregnant with a half-breed. When she does, she’s held captive by her own family, and her father wants to exploit the powers that must surely come from such a union- Frey. So in the backstory that is not in the diary, we know that Frey’s mother killed all the northern clans, including Chevelle’s family, as he held Frey back from trying to save her mother (and getting killed in the process). The diary tells us why.

Unfortunately, Frey’s story wasn’t all that interesting, especially with her internal struggle that could have been easily rectified by having an actual conversation with her “captor”. The people she meets along the way could have been interesting, except that they are all filtered through Frey’s eyes, and show little depth beyond that. I don’t really have any interest in continuing this story.


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