No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010/27: The Conjurer Princess -- Vivian Vande Velde

[Her hair] looked palest silver, an old woman's hair to go with the old woman's voice. Something's not right, she thought, even before she lifted her hand to brush the hair out of her eyes, even before she saw the distended veins, the brown spots of age, the cracks and wrinkles. (p. 40)
Lylene's sister's wedding didn't go according to plan: the groom, Randal, was murdered and the bride, Beryl, abducted by armed men. Lylene vowed to rescue her sister, and became a sorceror's apprentice until such time as she could acquire power of her own. Power that came with a price ...

The setting for this novel is reminiscent of Malory's Morte d'Arthur: an Olde England replete with sorcery and witchcraft, mistrustful villagers, knights in shining armour, castles and princesses and prophecies.

Lylene is far from all-powerful, and she makes plenty of mistakes. She has some interesting moral choices to make, and some difficult dilemmas to solve. After a misunderstanding involving magical gold, she takes up with a pair of outlaws, Shile and Weiland, who reluctantly help her on her quest to save her sister. Or, as it turns out, to reveal the truth about what really happened on her sister's wedding day.

I didn't really engage with this book: it's fast-paced at the expense of depth, and the ending's rather abrupt. I suspect the most interesting character in it is Weiland, who gets a book of his own (The Changeling Prince, of which there's an excerpt at the end of The Conjurer Princess).

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