The Wizard's Ward
Luna, 2004 (2004)
Reviewed by Martina Bexte
anish invaders have taken over the peaceful country of Umbria and its citizens, and set its able-bodied men to work in the mines. Magic and the '
' are not permitted, nor are whisperings of the legendary '
'. But there are those who still believe that one day the King and his '
' will set Umbria free. Maura Woodbury has lived her whole life with the wizard Langbard, who has taught her much of magic and the old ways. He shocks Maura with his announcement that she is the
and has only until the midsummer's moon to find her
. How can a girl who's never set foot outside her village have such a high destiny? But no sooner does the aging wizard utter his prophetic words than Maura's humble life changes.
hile out gathering herbs she saves wounded outlaw Rath from Hanish troops, cloaking them both in invisibility until the danger passes. While recuperating, Rath finds himself enjoying not only the warmth of hearth and home but also the company of his hosts, particularly the outspoken Maura. Beholden to the young woman for saving his life (and though he's not a believer in the
), Rath promises Langbard to aid Maura in her quest. When the Hanish kill the wizard, Maura is heartbroken, yet realizes that the success of their quest is even more pressing. As she and Rath travel deeper and deeper into the lands of Prum, they fall in love, though they both know that Maura is promised to the
hile the story starts on a high note with lively characterizations, dialogue and action, it bogs down halfway through. Maura and Rath spend too much time either arguing or complimenting each other about their '
'. Maura casts spells to the point of redundancy - after the fifth or sixth use of invisibility the novelty is gone - as well as spending far too much time searching out flora and fauna needed for her magic, when a simple transition would have sufficed. The author displays a fine fantasy voice and presents a steadfast, single-minded heroine in Maura and a charming, honorable outlaw in Rath. Unfortunately there is little genuinely fantastic or different about the plot (including the identity of the
) and the
fizzles out before it's even begun.
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