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A Wizard's Forge (The Woern Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 440 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Excellent world building. Not only are the characters three dimensional and interesting, but the author has constructed a fascinating set of cultures. This is not just characters walking around in a thin world, this is how culture and upbringing influences every thought and action. What happens when those cultures collide? Every town is alive with vivid description, every battle intriguing and unusual. We see the common man, the Royal court, the military, musicians - this book is rich.
The plot sucks you along and the end sequence is a real page turner. I recommend this book, and can’t wait to read the sequel.
Setting: Three thousand years ago a crew of mineral miners set out on a mission from Earth to the planet of Gomorrah but due to sabotage were not able to make it to their destination. With the mission a failure Captain Wong of the shuttle Elesendar was forced to make an emergency stop in the orbit of what is now referred to “Knownearth.” The crew came down to the planet to search for iron, copper and other ores so that they might be able to repair the Elesendar’s failed drives. It is assumed they were unable to make the needed repairs and settled on the planet.
Plot: Victoria, “Vic,” is from Ourtown. Since a young age she has intended to become a Logkeeper. Logkeepers are in charge of preserving every record their predecessors had from space logs, to information about their space travels and home planet. The hope with this memorization and recitation is to keep all people aware of the history and remembering equations for the precise targeting of a wormhole in case they might be able to someday use it.
Being the youngest Logkeeper ever Vic starts her job in earnest and travels to many villages to recite the logs and transport letters between communities. While staying at a town called Cairo they are attacked by pirates who are also slavers. Taken into slavery Vic and those taken with her are brought to a city called Traine to be sold as slaves. Before going into the open market she is inspected and deemed to be useful as a sex slave in the service of the Remlord, Lornk Korng.
“I’ll come to you, Lornk Korng!” she shouted. “I’ll come as Kara and I’ll spit in your face!”
After enduring months of psychological torture, forms of sexual abuse, and being forced to take the new name of “Kara,” Vic is able to escape through a teletransporter to the land of Latha. After realizing the horror that Vic has been through the Royal Family of Latha has taken it upon themselves to care for and protect her. It is not all roses and sunshine for Victoria though. She is seen as a possible spy and that stigma is a stain that is hard removed. Eventually Vic starts down the path that she feels is her destiny. That she must face in order to heal and to slake her thirst for her revenge. Like a true metamorphosis she is, was, and will be the Logkeeper, The Blade, and the Wizard.
Everything Else: At the start of this book my inner trekie was very excited! I love the concept of how a civilization could start from a crew of stranded miners. What I wish was done better was the world building. Throughout the book we encounter new lands with different cultures and there are details given to support the details of the current circumstance but I feel like I am looking at a color picture but if I peak to the sides there is blank walls or a watercolor picture that is muted and far away. I love the new world but I wish it had been fully developed.
The plot is imaginative, believable and developed. The sub-plots are there but some are not tied together. Although they are not tied together in this book, they may be carried through the series and tied together at the end. Or maybe they will not be. For me I do not mind the subplots not being tied together by the end of the first book if it is woven through the overall plot. In this instance subplots are introduced and then never spoke of again, there was no weaving, no bringing it with us while we read.
The main characters are Victoria, Prince Ashel and Lornk Korng. Victoria is wonderfully written and well developed. She starts off the story as a sixteen-year-old girl but overtime develops into a courageous young woman. Prince Ashel is very unique and developed. He has no interest in running a kingdom but serves his country through being a recorder. In Latha they use music to tell their history and Prince Ashel is one of the greatest musicians in his time. A recorder and a Logkeeper are essentially historians for their people. Lornk Korng is a villain through and through. There will be no redemption for this character. His version of breaking people down and melding them into what he wants is unique. I have not read another story yet that engages this technique. It left me thinking “would that really work in real life?” At first I felt that the answer was “no” but after pondering I felt like the answer could be “yes” and that just made it sicker. There are also multiples of characters introduced in this story. Many are static characters that support the plot but there are so many of them that it is a bit overwhelming.
From the start I found this story to be descriptive, original, and full of action. It has creative concepts and includes diverse cultures, from light skin to dark skin with no racial hierarchy. The women are treated equally to the men; both genders serve in the military and both genders are forced into the sex slave industry. There is no underlying theme that women are less than men and I applaud that! This story kept my interest engaged from beginning to the end and the cliffhanger has me hanging on! This story is about ideological differences that can shape how a civilization is molded, how rash actions of the heart can lead to unconsidered consequences, and how bravery can come from the lowest of the low. I highly recommend this story!
*Thank you to Wise Ink Creative Publishing & NetGalley for this eARC of A Wizard’s Forge*
This review is based on an eARC I received from NetGalley. It is an honest review and the advanced receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
When a reader begins a book, they come in with certain expectations. In this case, I expected something along the lines of Darkover, Pern or Samari – all lost colony/magic wielder series. Ms. Justice blew those expectations away with her fabulous book!
First and foremost, Ms. Justice does more than create a world. She creates a whole culture. It can be seen in the music and Guilds, as well as the religion that one portion of the world has built around the ship's passengers coming to the planet. They have turned the ship into a god, trees that seem to be sentient into the mothers of all humans. The best example I can find to show what a culture Ms. Justice has created is the dance of the Wizard Kara that takes place about half way through during Landing, the celebration of the 'birth' of humankind on the planet. Expertly described, it was like watching a ballet done by the best company on Earth. The description of the music and dances flow into a lyrical music that surpasses regular prose or poetry. Ms. Justice also uses unique adjectives like 'black heat', creating a whole new way for the reader to experience the world she has created
This book embodies Arthur C. Clarke's quote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Vic was raised to believe that the humans on the planet were brought there by an off-course ship. She studied to become a Logkeeper, someone who memorizes the logs left by the crew of the ship. In fact, she becomes the youngest Logkeeper in history. This profession sends her out to villages, to teach and share the Logs with others. It is during one of these visits that she is kidnapped by pirates who gather slaves. She is sold to Lornk, the villain of the piece, as a Mistress – a sex slave/love bunny. Most Mistresses (male and female) are proud of their role, but the strong-willed Vic can't stand what Lornk made her into, so she escapes. I won't reveal any more because the story is too exciting to give away a single spoiler.
Ashel, a prince who abdicated his throne to become a Minstrel and a Loremaster has essentially the same purpose, to share the stories of the ancients through poetry and song. But in his part of the world, it is a religion, where the ship is a god who, with the help of moving trees, gave birth to all humans.
The plotting is tight, the characterizations amazing as they are built on a deep understanding of how the human mind works. There are actual psychological phenomena happening, from Vic's suffering Stockholm syndrome to a touch of Oedipal complex with Lornk's son.
At the heart of the matter is the question of what is love? What will it make a person do? Ms. Justice gives us real life answers on her fictional planet while presenting magic and psychic phenomena at the same time.
4 out of 5
Most recent customer reviews
“Scholar. Slave. Warrior. Wizard.”
Vic is the youngest log keeper in generations.Read more
This book had such a great synopsis and that cover!Read more