Monday, December 13, 2004

What a gorgeous morning it is down here in the islands. Only two more of these to go before I fly up to the Midwest. I am curious to see how my body will react to the cold after all this time. I haven't been in below 30s temperatures in years. Houston gets fairly cold at night, but rarely below freezing.

It seems I am on a bit of a fantasy kick. I was looking at the books I have read lately and most of them are fantasy. It wasn't intentional - I was picking the ones that looked intriguing and authors I knew, as well as those that had been sent to me to review.

When I saw the ARC for The Wizard Test by Hilari Bell I couldn't help but pick it up. The cover has a great illustration of an intricately carved wooden door with a large circular knocker in the middle. Imagine being a fourteen year old boy who has promised his mother on her death bed that he would have nothing to do with the wizards or magic because of the shame his grandmother had brought to their family. It is time for him to endure the wizard test to determine if he has powers, which, of course, he does. Sent to live with the wizards as a spy for the Lordowner Dayven discovers the joy his healing powers give him out weighs the shame he feels for betraying his promise. Dayven's internal torment and questioning is exacerbated by time spent in a city of the enemy, the Cenzar, and his budding friendship with one of them. Add the very eccentric Reddick, his mentor wizard, to the mix and it is a great read.

I haven't read a Hilari Bell book I didn't like. The alien creatures in a Matter of Profit certainly made one pause in thought as to their methods of "conquering" the inhabitants of a planet. Talk about passive aggressive. :-) The concept of a young man who does not want to be warrior certainly is appropriate in this time of war.

I am looking forward to reading the second book in the The Book of Sorahb after reading Flame. Soraya's growth as a person is artfully done from the moment the reader meets her as she flings expensive vases, plates, and anything else she can get her hands on at her father's peasant son Jian, to her time with the Suud desert tribe, and her final acceptance that her father is no longer there to take care of her. Jian is the obvious warrior in this tale with a fever for revenge and battle.

But, my favorite of Bell's is The Goblin Wood. There are delightfully humorous parts when Makenna initially flees into the woods and the goblins keep stealing her stuff. But, it is the story of a group of beings, the goblins, being exterminated along with any other magical creatures that keeps you reading. The Goblins are being pushed out of their Wood because the humans want it now that they are being forced out of the area they have lived in for years. Survival of the fittest with a magical twist.

Okay, that's it for me today.