The war is all but over, defeat almost a sure thing. In desperation Medair sets out on her quest to find an object of legendary power that could be the last chance to save her land. Against all odds she finds it. Pausing to think over the ramifications of what she could unleash proves to be a costly mistake.
We are talking about a five hundred year mistake.
Now Medair has a magical bag that can hide anything, a handful of rings with magical abilities, and a horn with power unimaginable. What she doesn’t have is a clear path anymore, no sense of where she belongs in world that passed her by.
How long was this book? Like two fifty? A short book, especially in fantasy terms, but so many things to think about hidden in its simple premise. Because you see, all that magic weapon and sleeping through the war and trying to find a new path? That is just the set-up of the book; it is where the book begins, not what it is.
This is a book about living with your own legend; the good and the bad. This is a tale about cultural differences and assimilation; the good and the bad. Medair has it within her power to turn back time, in a way, but the knowledge to know that it can never really be turned back. Because after five hundred years of populations mixing what would driving out the enemy really consist of?
Ya, some deep thoughts going on through Medair’s mind. And then the story actually starts. And while it loses nothing of its contemplative ways, it gains a drive. Compelled by magic to escort one she would have once called an enemy she hides in plain sight. Her name is known, and holding the name has some interesting complications, yet no one could truly guess her nature. And she surprises herself, even early on, working with them beyond the magical compulsion, while still fighting her feelings of anger.
A character study, yes, but lest one think this book plods along inside of one person’s conflicted brain worry not, we get some good old fantasy as well. A run from ruffians, some pretty major ‘wild magic,’ and one major continental shake up are there to be found. And while Medair may have slept through the end of the last one war is never far away. She just may find herself forced to pick sides once again, with a much more complicated political picture.
You know what really worked for me in this book? I never knew more than Medair, and I never felt I knew which choice she should make for each step of her journey. We are forced along the same twisted path as her; no easy answers and every decision having the potential to lead to negative consequences. For someone living in a fantasy world Medair sure is grounded in a certain feeling of reality. And that is pretty cool.
Only one real complaint and it is my own damn fault. I really thought this was a standalone novel. And while it ends without too much of a cliff hanger, it is clear there is more of the story to be found. So I guess I better go find it sometime.
I discovered this book on this very site! Pauline has been singing the praises of Höst since I have known her. Read her review here, and get a bit of interesting backstory to the book itself along with a damn fine review.