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Wysard: Part One of The Ryel Saga Kindle Edition
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The focus of this book is the story of a young man, a young wysard (magic user), going through a difficult time in his life. He just lost his teacher, whom he loved like a father, and now he's hearing a voice in his head that's tormenting him and begins to manipulate him. A good part of this book is flashbacks explaining how the wysard ended up in the situation he's in. Another large part of this book is him traveling from place to place in order to face threats or get information. Once he's at these places more time is spent on meeting or reconnecting with people and building relationships than is on the action, confrontations and intrigue.
I like this book. I plan on reading the sequel and probably as many more books as this series will have. It's a good book for what it is, but it's not what most people would expect from a fantasy book.
I am extremely picky about the types of fantasy novels that I enjoy. They must be skillfully written within a world that I can picture and feel as though I am a part. I don't like a whole bunch of sword fighting or wizards throwing fire balls without a good, solid story behind it.
Ms. Kephart has met my criteria with ease. She has created an imaginary world that the reader can step into, feel, and taste.
I wanted the whole thing with the Overreacher eyes to be better explained. Hopefully, this will happen in the sequel.
Character Development: 5 Stars
The main character evokes sympathy and empathy. He is a deep character with hopefully further depths that will be plumbed in the sequel.
I loved the way the novel started off. When I started reading, my first thought was that the protagonist was going to be a murderer that I would not like. I was pleasantly surprised to find differently.
Writing Style: 5 Stars
Many fantasy authors overdo the 'other language' thing by interjecting way too many words where the reader feels like they have to learn an entire language just to read the book. At no time did M. Kephart do this. The main character does know several languages and demonstrates a time or two. However, the translations are plentiful and the 'made-up' language words are easily understood.
Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars
An excellent beginning to a fantasy series.
Length: Short Novel
Rating: PG-13, or perhaps R - Hard to say, but definitely a novel for adults
The social structures in Wysard are open enough to allow one to fill in the details; in my mind, this novel is set in the central Asian Steppes, the Wysard city of Markul/Moscow and in an exotic, glorious Almancar/Persepolis. There was enough detail to bring the surroundings and people to life and I found myself wanting more details on the all the people an places in this tale.
The actual story of Ryel Mirai is well done and full of unexpected turns; it didn't just take standard formulas and run with them. Instead the author provided an interesting, complicated story populated with equally complicated people. The only downside to the overall story is these well thought out sub-plots and characters came and went quickly. I wanted to linger and savor the details ...
The use of magic arts in the novel is (thankfully) used as a subtext to the more important issues of personal character, friendship, kinship and love.
A piece of advice often given to journalists is to write a piece, and then take out the best line in the edit. Because this is likely to be the most self-indulgent writing. If I were to edit Wysard I would cut the first line to ribbons. I found it intimidating. But don't be put off by it. The rest of the book is really well written, unlike that frightening opening line.
When the book ended I felt I was only getting a feel for Ryel Mirai, and others have commented on the inappropriateness of the cut of this book into two volumes. Publishers- what can I say!
Wysard does not suffer from that disease of many fantasy writers, the interminable need to build world upon world until the books run to multiple volumes (we could call it WOT syndrome). Her world is drawn with a few simple brush strokes, but is no less colorful or detailed for all the brevity. Surely the mark of a great writer. And may we please see more?
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