Picking up right where The Banished of Muirwood leaves off, The Ciphers of Muirwood, or at least Jeff Wheeler, has given me hope for the middle novel of a trilogy. Wheeler talks about this in the afterword of this novel and The Blight of Muirwood and how he loves the middle novel and how it allows for characters to expand and the story to move forward. I can’t wait to re-read The Lord of the Rings and think of it this way rather than my usual, ugh the middle book. Hopefully, it’ll give me a new perspective.
This book gives us more of Maia. It goes more in-depth into her family history and answers some of the outstanding questions of the first book. I was concerned at first as it appeared to be mirroring a bit too much Lia’s journey in the Legends of Muirwood trilogy, but ultimately it was different. There will be potential spoilers to the first book in this series and to the Legends of Muirwood trilogy, so be aware.
I should keep track of when I eat my words on this blog. I thought for sure it would be some time before I revisited Muirwood, but lo and behold here I am not even a month later delving right back in.
Having access to early releases is both a boon and the bane of book bloggers. Occasionally you get access to works you’re desperate to read (i.e. any Margaret Atwood, keep an eye out) and you get access to books you’re not sure you’re going to read, but when given the opportunity you jump and this was one of those occasions.
I’m grateful to the publisher, 47North, for providing access to Jeff Wheeler’s new Muirwood trilogy: The Covenant of Muirwood, even if it did mess up my reading schedule. They provided these in return for an honest opinion and I’ve received no compensation. I’m sad I missed the window on The Lost Abbey (#1), but I think I’d rather read that in one go rather than as a serial comic.
I loved this series and it’s kind of obvious in that I read it in less than five days. I would’ve read it faster, but pesky work and being somewhat sociable got in the way. I’m glad I read the series, as it gave me three squares on my BOTNS Bingo card so I at least feel like I made an effort! Plus having read the first few paragraphs of this and learning the publishing history behind this series, I’m glad I gave it a chance because of my women with weapons are awesome mindset.
Picking up where The Blight of Muirwood left off there is no downtime in this novel; here is no year of discovery or growth off the pages. It may as well be part two of book two and that works really well for this series, and that could answer what it is about the middle book of this trilogy being so good.
This is just one of those series I’m going to BLAZE through. It’s good because it gets my Goodreads “challenge goal” count up, but it’s even better because it’s so enthralling that I can’t put it down!
I’ll start with what’s great about this novel. Wheeler wrote at the end of the novel that he loves middle novels in trilogies and that he thinks they are often times the strongest. For me, I generally do NOT like the middle novel and dread reading them as I feel they’re often the weakest. I’m still trying to figure this out, but Wheeler was able to keep the crescendo building from The Wretched of Muirwood and I cannot wait to see where he takes it in the last book of the Legends of Muirwood trilogy, The Scourge of Muirwood.
I don’t know why I bought this book in December of 2013, but I am SO glad that Books on the Nightstand Bingo encouraged me to read it! (It’s the square with an author who shares my name – I’ve already re-read Chaucer and most everyone spells my name Jeff anyway.)
I’d been making my way through Not Gay on my iPad and didn’t want to take it to the beach, so I pulled this up on my Kindle and was absorbed within minutes. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is exactly that pulled me into the book so quickly. Wheeler writes incredibly smoothly (and apparently this is a young adult novel), but he also write characters that pull you into the story. Where I think he really excels is in the world building.
Book three of the Jane Fairfax trilogy just didn’t live up to Jane Bites Back or Jane Goes Batty. That being said, there were some great moments, but overall it just wasn’t as light or as fun. As an end to the trilogy, it did a decent job wrapping everything up as it should and leaving enough room to keep going if Ford ever decides he wants to write more, but I doubt I’ll read more.
Rather than keeping the story in Upstate New York, Ford takes the traveling circus that is Jane Austen’s new life on the road. From Jane’s best friend, Lucy, to the future mother in law Miriam, everyone who is important either goes along or is named dropped at some point. Ford again introduces a cast of quirky minor characters, but this time they felt lightweight and fluffy. There wasn’t a lot of substance to many of them and I was left wanting.
When I finished this I did a little wiggle in my seat and clapped my hands. Some times I really do wonder about my sanity.
Having finished Jane Bites Back I immediately got a copy of the next two, this book and Jane Vows Vengeance from the library – YAY Kindle! I didn’t read this one quite as fast as the last one even though I was working from home, but it was just as well written and hilariously fun!
What I took out of this novel was how great Ford is at caricatures, not only of characters but of ideas and fads. I spoke about the Janeites and Brontëites in the last novel and how he brought those together, but he does it even better in this novel. There’s a giant love festival, don’t ask, and the culmination is a game between the two. Originally a softball match, it ultimately is a croquet match, fitting right, and the descriptions and tension are hilarious.