I’ve gone ahead and read other books by Jeff Wheeler before and I really like his worldbuilding and characterization so I thought I would pick up his Muirwood series while I catch up to Kingfountain. And oh boy, I think I might have found my favorite series by him!
In the ancient and mystical land of Muirwood, Lia has known only a life of servitude. Labeled a “wretched,” an outcast unwanted and unworthy of respect, Lia is forbidden to realize her dream to read or write.
All but doomed, her days are spent toiling away as a kitchen slave under the charge of the Aldermaston, the Abbey’s watchful overseer. But when an injured squire named Colvin is abandoned at the kitchen’s doorstep, an opportunity arises.
The nefarious Sheriff Almaguer soon starts a manhunt for Colvin, and Lia conspires to hide Colvin and change her fate. In the midst of a land torn by a treacherous war between a ruthless king and a rebel army, Lia finds herself on an ominous journey that will push her to wonder if her own hidden magic is enough to set things right.
At once captivating, mysterious, and magic-infused, The Wretched of Muirwood takes the classic fantasy adventure and paints it with a story instantly epic, and yet, all its own.
In this book, we’re introduced to Muirwood, a world where magic known as the Medium can be used by a select few based on their ancestry. Technically a wretched isn’t supposed to be able to use the Medium but Lia (our MC) surprises everyone time and time again with how adept she is at wielding the Medium
As a character, I really enjoyed reading about Lia and her adventures. She’s the type of heroine I want to see more of in YA titles: confident, capable, human, and not always thinking about who she wants to date. When we first meet her she’s (over)confident in her abilities because she’s always been sheltered, but when Lia finally leaves the Abbey’s protection (her home), she learns how difficult things can really be and that she has much to learn about the Medium
Aside from Lia we also meet Colvin, the Maston that ends up half-dead in the Abbey kitchen. For some reason, I’m always attracted to his type of character (ie. broody and a bit on the passionate side) and yes, I like him about 85% of the time. Sometimes he can be rather harsh with Lia but as they spend more time together on their adventures, they both help each other. Lia is creative with the Medium, showing Colvin there’s much he can still learn and Colvin teaches Lia the textbook information
I really like how they grow as a pair and how every single incident they experience isn’t wasted. Every since word in this book is important, nothing being dragged out or rushed
In terms of the audio, I really like the narration. All the characters have their own unique voices, which make it easy to follow along and even the male characters have a hint of male to them (the narrator is a woman). It’s kind of funny but because this narrator is rather good at their job, I sometimes think that Colvin is way older than he is (19 but I sometimes think he’s like 30)
If you’re looking for a fantasy book with a kickass female lead and an interesting fantasy world, this is it! It’s also a pretty short read, 4.5/5
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