I blame Deborah Hale for my drowsiness this morning. I had to stay up late to finish The Wizard’s Ward, or I would never have been able to sleep.
Maura Woodbury, an enchantress, has always led a quiet life… until her uncle announces that she is to be queen of all Umbria and she has to make her way to the Secret Glade and awaken the Waiting King who will drive the evil Han from Umbria forever and restore peace to all the land.
Maura begins to accept her fate, but she didn’t anticipate Rath Talward, a rouge thief Maura happens upon one day, injured and on the run from Hanish law. Maura cannot abandon him in his time of need and eventually they strike up a bargain: healing for protection on her trip to the Secret Glade.
Their journey is not a stroll through the park however. Hannish soldiers wait at every turn to drag them off to the dreaded mines as slaves, bandits hide in the underbrush, and evil sorcerers dog their steps everywhere they go. Yet throughout all this, they learn to put their differences aside and depend on… maybe even love each another…
The Wizard’s Ward started off deadly slow and I had to force myself through the first chapter. After that however, the book picked up speed and I really started to get into it. The more I read, the more I liked The Wizard’s Ward. The characters are likable and very real-feeling. Deborah Hale is a master of sexual tension as well, and you can feel the underlying note of it throughout the entire book, goading the reader onward, if only to find out if the guy gets the girl in the end.
Despite being your basic love story/impossible journey fantasy book, The Wizard’s Ward whet my appetite for more and I can’t wait to read The Destined Queen, the next book in the MAURA WOODBURY series.
One small gripe: Deborah Hale likes to kind of skip over some stuff. It’s slightly J. K. Rowlingish in a sense. Rath blacks out a lot, so next time we see him he’s tied to a chair or something, and there are “lapses” of several days between chapters which start out: “The past few days were uneventful.” Personally, I could have done with some more info than that, but the rest of the book and the general plot make up for these small things.
Julie Waineo, one of our earliest guest reviewers, earned an MBA at Bowling Green State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in French. Now living in Virginia with her husband and dog, Julie is an avid reader of not only fantasy, but historical fiction, the occasional “chick lit,” and children’s literature.
Maura Woodbury (Umbria) — (2004-2005) Publisher: Years before, the peaceful world of Umbria was torn apart by the ruthless Hanish invaders… Yet that is the only life Maura knows. Until her wizard guardian announces she is to be queen — but that first she must find and unite with their country’s legendary “Waiting King” in order to overthrow the enemy occupation. Men have searched for the fabled warrior for ages — what chance has a young witch gifted in life-magic? Especially since she has only till midsummer’s moon… and her guardian’s wisdom is tragically taken from her… Filled with fear and determination as well as wits and magic, Maura sets forth. Her only ally is the outlaw Rath. Having Rath as a companion is as dangerous as having an enemy along — but she must trust in him to save their country. As midsummer approaches, their mission is in jeopardy from the Han outlaws and treasure hunters — and even their own folk, who are wary of “the witch and the wolf.” But the greatest complication is the knowledge that if they do not find the king, Maura need not sacrifice all to be queen…