Sunday, December 3, 2017

Review: A Meddle of Wizards by Alexandra Rushe

Title: A Meddle of Wizards
Author: Alexandra Rushe
Genre/Age: Fantasy/Adult
Series: Fledgling Magic (Book One)
Publisher: Rebel Base Books
Format: ebook via NetGalley
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisWelcome to Tandara, where gods are fickle, nightmares are real, and trolls make excellent bakers . . .

Raine Stewart is convinced she’ll die young and alone in Alabama, the victim of a chronic, mysterious illness. Until a man in a shabby cloak steps out of her mirror and demands her help to defeat a bloodthirsty wizard.

Raine shrugs it off as a hallucination—just one more insult from her failing body—and orders her intruder to take a hike. But the handsome figment of her imagination won’t take no for an answer, and kidnaps her anyway, launching her into a world of utmost danger—and urgent purpose.

Ruled by unpredictable gods and unstable nations, Tandara is a land of shapeshifters and weather-workers, queens and legends. Ravenous monsters and greedy bounty hunters patrol unforgiving mountains. Riverboats pulled by sea-cattle trade down broad waterways. And creatures of nightmare stalk Raine herself, vicious in the pursuit of her blood.

But Raine isn’t helpless or alone. She’s part of a band as resourceful as it is odd: a mage-shy warrior, a tattered wizard, a tenderhearted giant, and a prickly troll sorceress. Her new friends swear she has powers of her own. If she can stay under their protection, she might just live long enough to find out . . .

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

This book had it all!

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Raine knows she isn't like everyone else. She's been sick with an unidentified illness for her entire life and now she can see the ghost of her dead aunt. Yeah, you can say that she isn't your average girl next door. But when a strange man shows up, claiming she is from another world, Raine just can't believe it's real. She's a lost twin and a wizard? No way.

And then Raine has no choice but to accept her fate when she's unexpectedly thrust into another world and right into the middle of their chaos. A magical stone is missing, she has power she can't control or wield, oh and there is a troll with an attitude who keeps ordering her around. Not to mention, beasts keep trying to kill her and a giant is her ride across the countryside. If she can keep her sanity, she might be able to survive Tandara and learn the truth about herself and her family.

I can't lie. I really only became interested in this book because it has trolls. Seriously. It seems that fantasy books with wizards have become so common that I actually have found myself avoiding them. That's strange considering I love books with magic. This particular book caught my attention with the description because it has a fantasy creature I scarcely get to read about that those are trolls. Highly misunderstood creatures, I dare say.

In the story being woven here, we actually have dozens of species of mystical creatures and many different types of evil beasts. And those are just the animals. As for the people, there are different races of humans and wizards, some who use magic and some who hate it. This does graze the high fantasy genre with all of the worlds and creatures. And while it's easy to get confused by all of this, I still found myself able to keep up without getting bored by the dry details, which I usually do when reading high fantasy.

And I've seen another reviewer mention the story was ruined by romance. I'm not sure we were reading the same book, considering I didn't get enough romance in this one. I wanted to see Raine connect with one of the several male characters and the author kept it pretty platonic. So if too much romance bothers you, I see no reason why this story would. I do hope the romance angle picks up in future installments though. I already have my favorite.

Raine is a character I found easy to like. She didn't immediately accept the odd things that happened, something that annoys me in other books. I hate it when the main character is thrust into a new realm and just says 'oh, okay', going on as if it's nothing. And this does happen. I point it out every time I see it, but it's still rare to find a story where the character questions her sanity for longer than five seconds. Raine already sees ghosts before being sucked into Tandara and she still isn't quick to accept it as real. I appreciate that.

As for the plot, it's busy. There is downtime, here and there, but the story never really slows and it definitely doesn't ever become predictable. In fact, the entire last couple of chapters shocked the heck out of me. The twists and turns were always a surprise. I can honestly say that I finished the book, sat back, and just took a deep breath. It was that much of a wild ride. I had to decompress afterward. I consider that to be a great book!

In closing...
When is the next book coming? I'm not sure I can wait another year for it. May have to re-read this in the meantime. Five fantasy suns!

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