I wish I could put my finger on what it is about Jeff Wheeler’s writing that I find so compelling, because most books that I’d consider similar don’t do it for me at all. Also, there’s so much going on that after the fact, I have a really hard time even remembering what happened! I think it must all come down to three things: compelling characters, a world so rich with detail that I feel like I could get lost in it, and the sense that I’m reading rich spiritual allegory peppered with wisdom. A normal novel is entertaining but offers no lasting satisfaction. Wheeler’s books are full of paraphrased scripture verses, profound insights into human nature, and beautiful descriptions of the character of God (though in the Muirwood series, God is called the Medium, just as in the Kingfountain series, He was called the Fountain.)
13-year old Lia is a servant, a “wretched,” in the abbey called Muirwood. She’s ignored and despised, and yet embued with magic from watching and imitating the Aldermaston whom she serves. Then one day, an injured squire turns up on her doorstep, and she has to help hide him from prying eyes. He despises her too, but she is willing to help him if in exchange he will provide the means for her to receive the thing she wants most: to learn to read. The two embark on a grand adventure, the details of which I can now no longer recall. And yet, I have the non-specific sense that good triumphs, virtue is rewarded, and all is right with the world, without being cheesy. I look forward to continuing the series!
My rating: ****1/2
Political content: none
Sexual content: none
Violence: fantasy only (none to speak of)