This was my other drunken audiobook choice from my library’s wine tasting. It had a cool title, and then I saw David Tennant was reading, so I grabbed it! The language is very clever, or maybe it just seems so with David Tennant reading it. (And he has to sing at one point, and he’s using a sprite voice, and I don’t think he enjoyed that part.)
A long time ago, before England was England, there was a great forest from sea to sea. And there were two kinds of people: those with magic, and those without. The magic people were Wizards, and they included sprites and snowcats and giants and things. Those without magic were Warriors, and they were trying to destroy all magic.
So, the Wizard protagonist Xar is a bit of a dick, and I don’t know if I like him. Both brothers seem kind of conceited and spoiled. They have ‘followers’ instead of friends. They are the sons of the King Enchanter Encanzo.
Our Warrior protagonist is Wish, the youngest daughter of the Iron Warrior Queen, and she doesn’t seem to be all that clever. I do like the Spoon, though. And I’m wondering about how much Wish’s mother really cares about her. Bodkin seems like a nice friend, but not the best bodyguard, even if you just look at the fact that he’s only 2 years older than Wish.
Getting further into the book, Xar is definitely a dick. He’s selfish and willingly disobedient. He’s that kid in class who keeps messing around after everyone is sick of him getting in trouble. He takes credit for actions that are not his own. He does have some moments of goodness, like when he is trying very hard to save his sprite. (And as a bit of a spoiler, you think he learns a lesson and gets better, but he doesn’t. He’s still a dick at the end of the book.)
Oh, but Wish. She learns her lesson, and she shows off her cleverness at the end. And you feel bad for her, because her mother is a baddie who doesn’t really love her. Xar’s father, on the other hand, is at his wit’s end with his son, but he obviously cares about him. You could switch the children and then they would get the parents they deserve. (And where are their other parents, by the way? We hear nothing of Xar’s mother or Wish’s father. Xar has at least one brother and Wish has at least six sisters, so they have to come from somewhere. Whoever Wish’s father may be, he was either very wicked or very terrified. Unless they just spawned, which would be terrifying.)
Now we don’t learn who the narrator is. The narrator tells us that they are one of the characters in the story, but they aren’t telling us. I think that it’s the Spelling Book, because Wish and Bodkin see Wish on top of Crusher in the Book only hours after it happened. So the Spelling Book may be omniscient. I suppose it could also be the Spoon, but the narrator tells us of things that the Spoon was not there for. And the narrator tells us things that go back in time, which they say is impossible, but books can indeed show you the past. So I’m on Team Book for that argument.