Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Banished of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler

The Basics:
The Banished of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
Book One of the Covenant of Muirwood series
Published August 18, 2015
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads 

Why I picked up this book:

I wanted to read some fantasy, I liked the blurb.


In a stand-alone series set in the world of Muirwood, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her father’s ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret—despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves—even if that realm has forgotten her?

My Thoughts:

The Banished of Muirwood revolves around a really cool idea (origins of which are explained in the Author's Note at the end of the book), set in a really cool world. It features a main character, Maia, with a couple of secondary ones supporting and/or hindering her in her quest. There's some great magic-flavour, and some deep worldbuilding--really, all the elements of great fantasy fiction. The book ticks lots of important boxes.

I really did enjoy reading The Banished of Muirwood. Even the pacing was good, which written that way, I realize, makes it sound like a surprise. Really, it's that in last year or two, I've often had a hard time transitioning between romance/new adult books that have a different pace to them then fantasy tends to. 

That said, I did have an issue with The Banished of Muirwood that resulted in my 3.5 star rating for the book. Namely, there's a plot point used to bring the story together that I thought really reduced or negated a lot of the main character's agency. It's not to say that it minimized Maia's struggle or quest, rather I felt a little cheated by it. Now, in the bigger picture--because this is the first book in a trilogy--maybe this will be an amazing choice, and I'll come to realize how necessary it was. But at the moment... I kind of wish the book had gone in a different direction.

What else can I say? There's some great travel sequences, and some very well-written, tense moments. There's also some slower spots that provide some key bits and pieces about the world that I didn't absorb as well as I should have. But overall, it's a really well-written story. If not for that one crucial reveal... 

Bottom line:

If you love fantasy, and you're looking for something a little different, The Banished of Muirwood could be the book for you. There's a lot to love in it, and I will be back for the second book.

3.5 stars
For fans of fantasy, quest stories, journey stories

But don't just take my word for it! I grabbed a few links to other blog reviews of The Banished of Muirwood:

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