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The Banished of Muirwood: Covenant of…

The Banished of Muirwood: Covenant of Muirwood, Book 1 (edition 2015)

by Jeff Wheeler (Author)

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787226,172 (3.8)3
Title:The Banished of Muirwood: Covenant of Muirwood, Book 1
Authors:Jeff Wheeler (Author)
Info:47North (2015), 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading
Tags:magic fantasy, Christian fantasy, young adult epic fantasy

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The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood) by Jeff Wheeler



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is a deeply frustrating book. In theory, it has so much promise.

Maia is the only daughter of the King of Comoros. By law she can't inherit, but she is the apple of her father's eye--until he decides he must have a male heir.

It's no surprise that the Seven Kingdoms don't recognize female inheritance rights; women aren't allowed to learn real magic or even learn reading & engraving. And yes, you read that right. Not "reading & writing"; reading and engraving. Even though in context it's clear that "engraving" is done on parchment with pen and ink. It's the first of many troubling signs.

Maia is sent away from court at age nine, and formally banished at thirteen, after her mother's marriage to the king is dissolved. At eighteen, the king summons her again because he needs a very particular kind of help. He needs to defeat the magic rising against him, and that involves finding a magic tome hidden away centuries ago. Chancellor Walraven, dead now and disgraced long ago, had taught Maia in secret to read, "engrave," and practice the magic forbidden to women. She knows as much as anyone can about identifying the right volume and bringing it back--but at least in theory, she won't dare to use it. And after all, she still loves the kingdom of Comoros, no matter what she feels about her father.

He sends her off with a trained assassin and a contingent of soldiers for protection. Our first glimpse of "current day" Maia is after they've already survived several disasters and it's just her and the assassin left, on the cursed coast of Dahomey, separated from their ship. The story then proceeds in distinctly nonlinear fashion, with Maia proceeding from this point well into the story, while having exceptionally vivid dreams about her girlhood and young adulthood, revealing to the reader how she got here. It's a technique that often works very well. In this case, it doesn't work for me at all. It's just frustrating and annoying.

It's not helped by what I'll simply call Wheeler's odd use of language:
The people of the Seven Kingdoms, or at least the people of Comoros, with a history very different from ours, and a religion that in no way resembles Christianity, celebrate Whitsunday.
We're told that a "collier" is the boy who shovels out the stables. No.
"Kystrel" apparently has a meaning in D&D, which is not the meaning Wheeler gives it in this book.
Waystones that can, among other things, be magically tapped for light or water, are called "Leerings." Really? Why?
It all made for a frustrating reading experience, as i got repeatedly kicked out of the story by the strange or simply wrong use of language.

There is a good story in here.It's just hard to find and enjoy, underneath the abuse of the language and clumsy use of storytelling techniques.

Not recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
There was too much terminology created for this book for me to enjoy it. ( )
  mtlkch | Jul 16, 2017 |
Little hard to get into because we're given bunches of information mixed with unfamiliar terms, and the number of characters jumps with the flashbacks which start, if I remember correctly, with chapter two and appear in alternating chapters throughout this first volume, catching up to 'present time' by the end of the book.
However, once up to speed this is a well-written and stylish fantasy with a wide and detailed world, and I'm looking forward to reading the other books. This first volume ends on a fair old cliffhanger, but is reasonably complete as a story otherwise. ( )
  DavidR1958 | Jul 4, 2017 |
Honestly, The Banished of Muirwood is sort of a mess. It is a YA second world fantasy about a banished princess on a mysterious quest who is being hunted by an organization of mages. Or at least I am pretty certain they are an organization of mages, but I don’t really know. Like I said, this book was sort of a mess.

Maia is banished at a young age when her father wants to put aside her mother to marry a women who will give him male heirs (yes, it reminds me of Henry VIII and his wives also). He also banishes a group named the Dochte Mandar, who are the aforementioned likely magic users’ organization. Because of this, people start going slightly crazy. Possibly it’s because the Dochte Mandar aren’t around to protect people from evil spirits? Did the book say that? I think it might have, or at least implied it. Maia is supposed to be going to an abbey to find a solution there. She gets there and finds out that she’s actually got to go to another country. The Dochte Mandar are chasing her by this point.

Unfortunately, the book alternates between present day Maia being chased by the Dochte Mandar and various flashbacks of Maia’s past which didn’t really add much. The little that was relevant could have been combined into the main narrative or condensed at the beginning.

A large part of what made this confusing was the crucial role that the history of the world and the political situation played. It was very difficult to try and figure out what the author was saying, especially about the history portion, and I still don’t have a clear picture of it. As it turns out, the important historical information is another book that he has already written. So why can’t the information be clearer in this novel? There were also world building things that kept tripping me up. For instance, what’s the difference between the Docte Madar and the mastons? Originally I thought they were the same thing, but then I figured out they were two different things?

Also, Maia learned to read and use magic despite these things being forbidden for women. The reason they are forbidden for women is supposedly because of these women named the hetaera who were evil magic users who could kill men with a kiss. I could talk about possible problematic gender stereotypes here, but the book’s too convoluted and ill explained for me to even start and try to analyze it.

There’s also a possible romantic subplot that I’m not happy with. I say possible because I think the “love interest” is manipulative and predatory and more villain material than love interest. Maia doesn’t see it this way and instead focuses on how handsome he is and how conflicted her feelings are for him. I still think it’s possible that she’ll wake up and see reality in one of the sequel books, but I am not going to bother to read and find out.

All that being said, the book did have good points. When it wasn’t bogged down in flashbacks, the pacing and tension were really quite good. At the beginning I was annoyed by Maia and how “she did not cry like other girls” and the idea that this made her superior in some way. However, by the end it’s reversed and it looks like Maia will have to learn to accept her own emotions.

When it comes down to it, The Banished of Muirwood is not a book I would recommend. I probably would have quit reading it except that I had to review it for Netgalley and it doesn’t feel right to review a book without reading it to the end.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.

I received a free ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  pwaites | Nov 6, 2015 |
Young Maia, a true princess of the realm of Comoros and heir to the throne, is secretly learning to read and become proficient in the ancient lore of the Dochte Mandar. Her father is disaffected with the queen who is producing stillborn male heirs and banishes her to a distant monastery while he carries on with one of the Ladies in Waiting who becomes Maia’s nemesis. Maia is sent on various missions, and becomes infected with an evil spirit, all as part of her father’s plan to secure a divorce. This first book in the trilogy records her journeys and humiliations and exposure to evil and the power for good or evil that she can exert while trying to maintain her innocence.

This is a free e-book for which I was asked to give an honest review. ( )
  mcdenis | Sep 2, 2015 |
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In a stand-alone series set in the world of Muirwood, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her fatheras ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemyas home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secretadespite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she lovesaeven if that realm has forgotten her?… (more)

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