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.
Perhaps I’m wrong in my mindset in that the middle books are just a stop-gap between the beginning and end of the story. Maybe Wheeler views the middle novel as the continuation of the story (as everyone really probably should). Those middle novels I’ve really enjoyed were parts of trilogies that the last two novels felt like one book.
Finishing this series, I felt that Wheeler’s stories felt a lot like Atwood’s cautionary speculative fiction. Whereas she pushes things a bit further into the future to caution us of our impending idiocy (my words not hers), Wheeler chooses to put things in an alternate history, but the premise is the same,
“Always getting bigger. But bigger does not mean worth. Bigger does not mean useful. It does not even mean respect. It is a sign of corruption.” (279)
This idea that wealth/greed/desire consume us is nothing new, neither is the idea that at some point the fall will happen. What is new is how Wheeler wrote it.
This felt like any creation myth (read any of the Riordan books, or Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings, or anything really) in that there are a great number of dualities that must kept in balance. Lia, our protagonists, serves as the balance in this equation. Not only does she do her best to save everyone she loves, she actually is the tool to bring about balance.
It’s hard to talk about, but I keep thinking of the prequel trilogy in Star Wars. Everyone talks about how Anakin Skywalker will bring balance to the Force, and he does. He brings the gargantuan light-side to it’s knees and puts the dark-side on a much more even playing field. It’s not a popular view, but it’s the truth. When one side gets too strong, too cocky and to all-powerful, the other side inevitably evens things out.
The Star Wars analogy isn’t perfect with Muirwood, but it does work. I’m not going to give any more details as that would give away more of the story. I was excited to see different places in Lia’s world and I was saddened and joyed by the novels beaitufl bitter-sweet end.
Recommendation: Give it a go. Considering where it started and where it is it’s worth checking out. Wheeler released a second trilogy in Muirwood and has even opened his world up to Kindle Worlds, “publication platform where you choose a licensed World, read the Content Guidelines for that World, write your story, upload that story, create a cover, and click through a publishing agreement with Amazon Publishing. Once published, every Kindle Worlds story will be featured on Amazon.com, as well as on Kindle devices and apps.” So basically you can write fanfiction AND get paid for it 🙂
Opening Line: “I fear everything. This island terrifies me.”
Closing Line: “We offered up our lives that you might live and fulfill and begin the destiny of our Family. Your servant, Alluwyn Lleu-Iselin, Father.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)
Additional Quotes from The Scourge of Muirwood
“During one of his sea voyages, he recalled some wisdom he had learned from a sea captain that enabled him to lead other men. The wisdom was that when men were employed in labor, they were contented. On the days when they worked, they were good-natured and cheerful, and having done a good day’s work, they spent the evenings with mirth. But on idle days they were mutinous and quarrelsome—finding fault with their pork, the bread, the cider—and in continual ill-humor.” (40)
“Happy is the one who has broken the chains that hurt the mind and has given up worrying once and for all.” (156)
“The Medium must prove us before it trusts us. It must prove us that we will be faithful, no matter the temptation. Only through the greatest sacrifices are the greatest powers of the Medium unleashed.” (180)
“The world is full of fools eagerly waiting to hear what they long to be told. A devious man will use that.” (199)
“‘For as the wood of the forest is, so the fire burns. And as a man’s strength is, so shall his anger be, and according to his riches he will increase his anger.’ Is it not strange that the more someone has, the less he feels he has? Envy can never be sated.” (199)
“You are angry because you cannot be as selfish as you want without feeling guilty.” (209)
“People always believe the worst, even when rumors might later be proved false.” (332)