Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Wysard by Deborah J. Lightfoot

Buy the book: Amazon US

I wasn’t actually intending on reading this second book of the trilogy so soon after having finished the first, The Warlock. I found, however, the tantalising pull of Carin’s unsure fate to be too strong to resist and I put off my reading schedule for two days to allow myself to get caught up again in the world of Ladrahdin (I hope I spelt that right).

Title: The Wysard
Author: Deborah J. Lightfoot
Series: Waterspell #2
Publisher: Seven Rivers Publishing
Target Audience: YA?
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 444 pages

Story: After blundering into the last stronghold of magic, Carin discovers that she is right to fear the wizard Verek. He is using her to seal the ruptures in the void, and she may be nothing more to him than an expendable weapon. What will he do with her—or to her—when his world is again secure? Or has he erred in believing that the last bridge has been broken? The quest may not, in fact, be over … and Lord Verek may find himself not quite as willing to dispose of his fiery water-sylph, Carin, as he once believed himself to be.

Thoughts and impressions: In the prologue things pick up exactly where they left off at the end of the first book and the reader is afforded some answers to their questions. As of the first chapter, though, events jump forward a few weeks and the reader is fed any necessary information to paint a clear picture of what happened in that lost time mostly through dialogue.

In contrast to the first book, which was almost entirely in the stationary setting of the manor house, this second book sees the four characters (Verek, Lanse – his stable boy, Carin and the woodsprite) on a long journey through the dead of winter.  I enjoyed this new setting and the different dimensions that it gave t the characters. Myra, one of my favourite characters from the first book, was of course absent, but if I’m honest I think that this book probably profited as much from her absence as there was no temptation to allow things to get caught up in her endless inane prattlings. Besides, the woodsprite prattles as well and I’m not sure that more than one such character is really a good thing.

The Wysard felt more concise than The Warlock. The author certainly grew and it seemed to me that she had better control over what is necessary to weave a really intriguing fantasy tale in this one. I found myself more interested in events, though Carin’s inability to see past the end of her own nose when it came to the riddles she was trying to unravel was just infuriating. She latched onto all the wrong verses and completely ignored those that really drew parallels between the texts she was trying to understand.

The characters all grew in this book, each becoming more aware of certain shortcomings and repenting them. Both main characters had difficult choices to make that are like as not to come back to haunt them in the final book of the trilogy.

The promised romance does come to a head in this book but in such a way that the exploration of it has been left for the last book. I have to admit that I’m not entirely comfortable with the age difference between the two characters: Carin is in her mid-teens while Verek is in his mid-forties. It explained away by the fact that Verek is a wizard, wizards are long-lived and so it’s like Verek is only in his twenties… but he’s still lived for forty-odd years and Carin is still only little more than a child. Having Carin just a few years older at, say, 20 would have dispelled this discomfort, but at just 15 I couldn’t get over the feeling that she was just too young. Beyond this, I didn’t actually feel her feelings growing for Verek. She was still afraid of him fairly close to the end of the book, but then when she goes to save him she’s accepting of him kissing her without even questioning his actions. Verek I could sense, though, and I liked the slow evolution of him coming to terms with his feelings.

I’m not entirely sure where things are going to go in the next book, but I’m definitely interested in finding out!

Style: There are not as many lengthy, unnatural spiels of dialogue in this book, which I felt improved the style vastly. However, the author picked up a habit of opening sentences with the indirect object, though, which is something that I dislike in English.

Final verdict: A very interesting sequel that I felt improved on the first book. 4.5 stars

Extra notes: Some invented bad language. No sex.


  1. It sounds interesting, I didn't know this one. It's always great to have a story that begins just we it was left. I can understand the problem of the age, I don"t have often it, but I think you're right 15 is a little too young.

  2. Thanks for the great review. I'll keep the series in mind when shopping for my next read. :-)

  3. Thanks, Rea, for the review. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.

    Regarding Carin’s age: I feel I should point out that her age is never definitely determined. Early in Book 1, Myra guesses that Carin “can’t have seen sixteen winters yet.” But it’s only a guess, and Carin can neither deny nor confirm it, since she does not remember her early childhood. You’ll recall that she’s very thin when Myra first sees her -- nearly starved, in fact -- and so she might appear to be younger than she actually is.

    Then in Book 2, a definite element of time distortion accompanies Carin’s journeys. (This is one of those science-fictional elements that I deliberately included.) Remember that from Myra’s point of view, Carin has been away for a year and a half. And when Carin finds Verek, she tells him:

    “I’ve traveled the void, and out there everything’s different. Time is meaningless. In some ways it passes quickly, and in other ways it doesn’t pass at all … I’ve been away from you for a time that I don’t know how to measure.”

    Taken together, these elements suggest that, for Carin, time has passed. She’s had time to mature.

    Part of my underlying purpose throughout the trilogy is to address certain ageist attitudes that I believe permeate Western culture. I do not accept that people are defined by their ages. Verek is not defined by his, nor Carin by hers.

    That’s my take on their relationship, anyhow. Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thinking. I’ve been hoping to engage with readers on the “age” question. I’m glad you brought it up. :-)


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