Final Grade: 94/A
Review copy purchased
BLURB: When Wayland North brings rain to a region that’s been dry for over ten years, he’s promised anything he’d like as a reward. He chooses the village elder’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she’s hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she’s heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.
The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North’s dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.
REVIEW: This is a beautifully-written book. With sparkling imagery, Alexandra Bracken creates a world filled with magic, danger, love, witches, and wizards. I’m absolutely amazed that Bracken is a first-time novelist; she has such a way with words.
Sydelle is an interesting character, so determined to escape her hum-drum life for the adventure of her realm’s capital or, at least, some place better than where she is. When the wizard North shows up and offers to take her away from it all (after saving her town from drought), she leaps at the chance, never guessing North’s ulterior motive. It’s not just her talent at weaving North is interested in (No, it’s not her as a girl, either. At least in the beginning.).
North is on a mission to stop a war and, as he and Sydelle race across the country, they battle a dark wizard from North’s past, rogue magic and their feelings for one another. I love their interactions, though most of the time, I wanted to smack North over the head with a large stick and tell him to stop being such a jackwagon. Poor Sydelle, she’s just trying to do her job as North’s assistant, to look out for him, and he’s just such a jerk. Plus, he doesn’t tell her anything about anything so she has to try to figure it out for herself. But Sydelle doesn’t take much of his crap and has no problem standing up for herself. She’s no wimpy character.
The entire book is pretty fast-paced, but the end of the book is filled with so many twists and turns and surprises and action that my head was spinning by the time I read the last sentence. This is not to say that I wanted the story to be drawn out but it was a little overwhelming. Plus, I really wasn’t expecting what happened, and I didn’t figure out Sydelle’s real secret until quite late (I knew something was off, that she was more something but I couldn’t decide how she was more or what she was).
I’m looking forward to reading whatever magic Alexandra Bracken produces next! (I know she’s writing and working hard but I couldn’t find any word of an upcoming book in my Google search. Has anyone heard anything?)
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