Dec 1, 2015

The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood 1)

The Banished of Muirwood book cover

by Jeff Wheeler
book review rating 2.5 out of 5

“NONE OF THE girls of the seven realms were allowed to learn the secret art of reading and engraving. That was a privilege only allowed to boys and men.”

For whatever reason, reading this disturbs me to no end. Of all the possible things to damper a female’s magic, why choose illiteracy? The story tries to explain the logic behind this. It failed. With great power, even boys and men are just as easily corruptible.

But, I digress.

In the kingdom of Comoros, chaos spreads after the king expelled the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar. Exiled by her father, Princess Marciana, or Maia, embarks on a dangerous journey to save her realm. To survive, she must use a forbidden magic she can barely control. Can she save her people before the forces of evil consume her?

I am quite surprise that The Banished of Muirwood, left me so unsatisfied—frustrated even. This has many elements that I generally enjoy in a fantasy novel: a new and imaginative world; ancient powers and forbidden magic; a bit of romance; and perils at every turn. Yet, these variables are underdeveloped and not married well. Perhaps, this is because the story is told out of chronological order. Unless I’m reading about time travel, this technique is probably one of my least favorites. The story alternates ceaselessly between Maia’s present and past. I get that Mr. Wheeler is showing us her painful history. Yet, it is an unoriginal backstory that borderlines dangerously close to the classic Cinderella story of poverty, servitude, an evil stepmother, and two cruel stepsisters.

I kept pushing forward nonetheless because the characters were somewhat magnetic, even though I didn't find them particularly rich or complex. Maia's companions included a kishion—a killer; Tayt—her guide—and his adorable bearhound; and Collier—her eccentric lover. They each have their own hidden agenda; however, their devotion to Maia was admirable. Maia’s character was also enjoyable until she turned her back on one of her companions because “the Medium willed it”—an action that was selfish, mindless, and too deeply rooted in religious beliefs. I don’t think she will stay with me beyond the scope of this review.

I mean no respect to Mr. Wheeler but I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I thought I would. However, it has a lot of good elements, and I’m sure it will find favor with many other fans.

{I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.}

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