This is sort of a deceptive three stars, because I really liked the story and the characters, but the pacing is so weird, and the book isn’t fleshed out enough.
Also, I did read the updated and expanded version, but I’m attaching this review to the cheesier, older, more colorful original cover because I like it better. It’s going to annoy me going forward in the series (which I will be doing!) that the other books won’t match, because even though this book was published in 1993 (her first book), the direct sequel, Wolfsbane, wasn’t published until 2010. I guess there were indirect sequels published in the same world following this one, but I’m not super interested in those, just the ones that follow Aralorn and her wolf-shifter companion.
I’m actually a little vague on the plot since I finished this in a couple of days back in July, so I will let the blurb speak for me on that front:
“After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy.
Her latest mission involves spying on the increasingly powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae’Magi.
But in a war against an enemy armed with the powers of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is-or where he will strike next?”
Aralorn is pulled into the conflict in her realm when the evil sorcerer pushes his powers further, and she ends up captured in his castle. There’s a lot more going on there, but again, memory bad, book long ago.
I really liked the worldbuilding here, and the characters, particularly our two protagonists, Aralorn and Wolf (who of course isn’t who he seems). But it really was a jarring reading experience. It kind of boggles my mind that this is the rewritten/expanded version because it still read like an abridged book; scenes felt constantly as if they were missing and transitions were often non-existent. The worldbuilding was also a tad on the thin side. I had enough not to feel lost, but this is a very small book set in a very rich world, and we barely get a taste of it.
I was interested by the author’s foreword to this edition, in which she states that she doesn’t want to update the book so much that it’s unrecognizable, so it was really a very light expansion and rewrite, rather than an overhaul. I would like to see the overhauled version, but I understood where she was coming from.
I don’t think I’m interested in this author’s Mercy Thompson books, but I will check out all her other wolfie books, I don’t remember their names but the wolfies are the important part.
Chipping Away at Mt. TBR, July 2022—Book 18/31