- File Size: 1190 KB
- Print Length: 320 pages
- Publication Date: March 13, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004S3CW88
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #441,260 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Wood Nymph and the Cranky Saint (The Royal Wizard of Yurt Book 2) Kindle Edition
|Length: 320 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The Wood Nymph takes place a couple years after the events in ABSIY. Daimbert has settled into his role as Royal Wizard nicely, and seems a bit less stressed about his less-than-stellar grasp of magic. His friendship with Joachim, the Royal Chaplain, is comfortable, and he's still got a teensy little enormous crush on the most unavailable woman in the kingdom. All in all, things are nice.
Well, we can't have that, can we?
In the beginning chapters, the king and queen have gone on vacation, leaving the Royal Heir in charge. So when Joachim asks for company on a short trip for some church business, Daimbert readily agrees...and from there, things degenerate into the chaos we probably ought to have expected.
ABSIY was ultimately a mystery. This one is too...or rather, it's several little mysteries all wrapped up in one little package. Where did the great horned rabbits come from? Who's the stranger the duchess seems to have taken such a shine to? Where did the monster come from? Does the cranky saint want to leave his valley or not? And what in the world does the wood nymph have to do with all this?
I read several reviews of book one written by readers who were disappointed in how un-comical they thought ABSIY was; they thought they were getting a comic fantasy and were surprised at how dark or intense or something it got. Now, I didn't think that at all; even though Daimbert very nearly died in book one (it's not a spoiler if there's a sequel, right?), the tone of the whole book seemed pleasantly jovial to me...and while I didn't think it was funny in the sense that I was laughing out loud, I did a lot of smiling. It was light. It was breezy. It didn't stir up a great deal of emotion. I found it to be a happy escape.
The Wood Nymph has a similar tone throughout most of the book, but I will say that the ending was darker and more intense than the previous book. If you were one who thought book one was a bit too dark, you'll probably think that even more about this one.
To recap a portion of my review of book one, since it's relevant: I had two issues with ABSIY. The first was the importation of Christianity into a fantasy kingdom. The Yurt universe doesn't just have a religion that resembles Christianity, it has actual Christianity. It felt like a jarring sort of anachronism; the immersion in reading a fantasy book set in a made up world full of wizards and royalty and dragons and stuff evaporated when Joachim would start going on about Christ dying for their sins. In The Wood Nymph, I will say that although that aspect didn't change or go away, I found it less...unharmonious. I suppose I just got used to it, but in any case, it didn't bother me nearly as much.
My other issue, though, persisted. Daimbert was (is?) at times a hard character to relate to. This came up in several respects, but probably the most grating was his interpersonal relationships. Daimbert simply doesn't react to other people the way I would. In book one, the primary manifestation of this was in his friendship with Joachim - Daimbert decided that they shall be friends, and he spent the rest of the book taking that for granted...even though Brittain didn't portray the priest as particularly likeable. I couldn't figure out why Daimbert *wanted* to be his friend. Like the religion thing, I guess I made my peace with the chaplain, because I didn't find him nearly as unpleasant in this book. (He rather grew out of his piousness, which no doubt made a difference.) No, but now, Daimbert has a new ducal wizard to contend with, a young man he'd gone to school with named Evrard. I think the author was trying for cheerful and impish, but Evrard mostly struck me as rude and exasperating. I could understand to a point why Daimbert would want to have a good relationship with his colleague, after two years of only having the priest around to talk to, but I lost my patience with Evrard about five minutes after Daimbert and I both met him, and it was hard to understand how Daimbert could be so...forgiving.
Daimbert's slightly dissonant personal relationships might not have been such a big issue for me had the book not been written in first person. The advantage of a first person story is that we're right there in the main character's head. When being right there in his head still isn't enough to relate to his thought processes, then we've got a problem.
Eh. I'm giving this four stars, so clearly it's an overlookable problem. I won't call this book perfect any more than I thought ABSIY was perfect, but it was still a fairly light, amusing, pleasant couple of days of entertainment. If you liked the first book, you'll almost certainly like this one too.
And now that I've typed a review that's longer than the book itself, I'm off to go read book three.
The included Christian church continued to rub me the wrong way. I don't know if the church in the book is supposed to annoy me, but maybe that was me portraying my personal feelings about the church into the book.
The interaction with the Nymph seemed a little light, as well as all the action in the Valley.
The "cranky saint" seemed like a strange character, but it was nice to give the church some dimension in this series/world.
At times, the plotlines were telegraphed. But it is light fantasy.