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.
Picking up where the first novel ends, Wheeler once again gives you a few moments with the main character and then fast forwards through what could easily have been a hokey montage. In doing this he gets us right to the action without having to painstakingly explain everything the characters have gone through to get them to the next big moment in time.
No longer is the protagonist, Lia, a young struck-by-the-wider-world woman. She has been given the role of Muirwood Hunter (remember what I said: BAD ASS female protagonist) and the excitement only builds from there and we’re off on another whirlwind adventure. I don’t want to get too specific because there are things revealed that are major plot points for this book and I’m guessing the future of the series and the Muirwood world at large.
There were two things I truly enjoyed, Lia’s love life definitely takes some interesting turns and this is darker than the previous novel. But really she’s grown up and she’s come of age and life gets darker and more harrowing the older you get. It’s not just darker in violence and tone, but the political/courtly intrigue gets darker too.
Recommendation: Definitely read it! I read this in less than 24 hours (working a seven hour day and sleeping) and cannot wait to see where the trilogy ends. I hope Wheeler can keep up the momentum and see where/if the crescendo ever crests.
Opening Line: “In every era there comes a moment when the collective thoughts, whims, and motivations of a people become so self-absorbed, so malignant, so unheeding that nature itself revolts.”
Closing Line: “She found her voice at last, though it came out a choked sob. ‘I know who I am, Sowe. I know it. The Aldermaston knows it, too.’ Her heart blazed with emotions. ‘He knows it, too!'” (Whited out, to avoid spoilers. Highlight to read.)
Additional quotes from The Blight of Muirwood
*This is a little different than usual, first are those sparsed throughout the book and then there are those that are chapter dividers.
“As the warm water dripped from her chin, her thoughts turned to Colvin, and she winced. It was absurd. It was totally, completely absurd. She enjoyed his company. She had shared with him all those experiences that bound them together in mutual affection and caring. But as she had listened to Bryn’s words, she began to wonder if she had been blind. Was Colvin telling her things with his eyes that he dared not say with his mouth? There were many hints. He found Ellowyn’s quiet demeanor attractive in a wretched, not a wife. He craved companionship, being equal with a woman. He wanted to spend time with Lia instead. He wanted to meet her later by the laundry to show her something in his tome. Just the thought of it sent a crushing feeling inside her chest. She could not wait until the afternoon.” (121)
“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” (225)
“Truth, sister, is knowledge of things as they really are. As you said. But it is not confined to that. You cannot confine truth to those terms. It is knowledge of things as they are, but it is also knowledge of things as they were. The past. Why did the old king fall at Winterrowd? You can ask any number of men, and they will all tell you what they believe to be the truth. But you and I—we know the truth. It is also knowledge of things as they will be. What you will become, for example. Your destiny.” (260)
“The greatest power over a man is his desire to please a particular woman.” (261)
Quotes attributed to Gideon Penman of Muirwood Abbey
“I do not need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better. Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly. Sometimes silence, at the proper season, is wisdom and better than any speech.” (103)
“Wherever there is danger, there lurks opportunity; whenever there is opportunity, there lurks danger. The two are inseparable. They go together.” (141)
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” (161)
“Like fragile ice, anger passes away in time. Therefore, the greatest remedy for anger is delay.” (214)
“Most people ebb and flow in torment between the fear of death and the hardship of life; they are unwilling to live, and yet, they do not know how to die.” (318)
“We often want one thing and pray for another, not telling the truth even to ourselves.” (339)
“To the person who does not know where he wants to go, there is no favorable wind.” (375)
“The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also, that which it fears. So often we bring into our lives that which would ruin us merely by thinking and fearing it.” (396)