The Wizard’s Daughter by Jeff Minerd fantasy book reviewsThe Wizard’s Daughter by Jeff MinerdThe Wizard’s Daughter by Jeff Minerd

This YA novel is a steampunk adventure filled with deft airship handling, daring mid-air rescues, and the dauntless search for long-estranged family ties.

The Wizard’s Daughter (2018) is the second book in the SKY RIDERS OF ETHERIUM series, and I haven’t read the first, The Sailweaver’s Son, but nevertheless found this book a perfectly accessible entry point into the series. Our narrative follows Brieze, the adopted/apprenticed daughter of a wizard resident within the west-lying Kingdom of Spire.

Brieze’s still unmarried mother can’t obtain closure even sixteen years after the mysterious disappearance of her lost lover (Brieze’s biological father) who was from the Eastern City of Kyo (fictionalized Tokyo, steampunk-style). So, Brieze decides to board her invisible airship and embark on a journey across the world in search of her long-lost father. It’s a daring adventure in the best light, but she is, after all, a powerful wizard’s apprentice and a pretty mature young woman. So, nobody stands in her way, with the possible exception of her boyfriend Tak, who really wants to go along, but doesn’t get to.

The Sailweaver's Son (Sky Riders of Etherium Book 1) Kindle Edition by Jeff Minerd (Author)

Book 1

I don’t read steampunk, generally, but the airships and their detailed navigation are the highlights of this book. The airship journey part of this story is richly textured, exciting, and creditably executed. In fact, most of the drama of this narrative is bound up in airship piloting or mid-air monster confrontations, all of which story was fresh and well-imagined.

But it was also a little disappointing to find all of the drama bound up with the airships. The family story had potential, but ultimately it held little emotional strength. It wasn’t the best-loved part of this book and that shows. Ultimately, I had the sense Brieze would have sailed across the world by herself for the pure joy of it as much as to find her biological father she never knew.

Also — I’m sorry, but it must be said — Jeff Minerd’s cultural characterizations of this fictionalized Japan were definitely broad-brush and not especially nuanced. I cringed a little when a Kyo-born airship captain threw his arms around Brieze in an emotional display of affection after discovering her safety. Impetuous affection from a captain and virtual stranger? Not super likely. I’m not the imagination police and I’m not going to tell authors who can write about what semi-fictional geography. I’m just giving my opinion: Minerd, you can do better.

The Wizard’s Daughter was, however, an all-around fun read, and I would be pleased to see more from this author.

Published in July 2018. Sixteen-year-old Brieze is the apprentice and adopted daughter of a powerful wizard. She never met her biological father, a merchantman from the faraway Eastern Kingdoms who had a brief romance with her mother, then disappeared. When Brieze discovers her mother is still secretly, crazily in love with this man, even after seventeen years, she decides to find him, confront him, and get some answers from him for her mother’s sake. In her small airship the Devious, she makes the long and dangerous journey to the Eastern Kingdoms. Along the way, she confronts pirates and the nocturnal ship-crushing beast known as the Nagmor. She survives a harrowing trip through the legendary Wind’s Teeth. She discovers why her father disappeared, and in the process she learns the true version of her own story. When Brieze’s boyfriend, Tak, receives word she’s in danger, he sets out on his own journey east to help her. Will he be able to rescue her, or will she end up having to rescue him?


  • Taya Okerlund

    TAYA OKERLUND's first career was in public service in the federal government. She previously lived in Japan and China and speaks both Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. More recently, she authored YA novel Hurricane Coltrane (WiDo, 2015) and currently reads and writes in spare moments between therapy runs and child rearing heroics.

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