Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Wren to the rescue by Sherwood Smith

Wren to the rescue (original 1990; edition 2004)

by Sherwood Smith

Series: Wren (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
284639,700 (3.96)7
Title:Wren to the rescue
Authors:Sherwood Smith
Info:New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Firebird, 2004.
Collections:Your library, Ether
Tags:verify, children, children's, fantasy, magic, orphans, friends, royalty, princesses, teleportation, telepathy, escape, shapeshifters, talking animals, dogs, travel, quest, series, Wren, from Bookmooch, small paperback

Work details

Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith (1990)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Wren is a young orphan whose bff Tess confesses that far from being an orphan too, she's actually their country's princess. The time has come for Tess to stop hiding from her parents' enemies, and she takes Wren along to the palace for courage and companionship. Once there, they see the king and queen--but Tess is abruptly kidnapped! While the powerful nobility gather their forces for war, Wren slips away unnoticed to mount her own rescue attempt. She is quickly joined by two Mage prentices, who have secrets and causes of their own. The three young would-be-heroes undertake the quest together.

The plot itself is fairly simple and straightforward. It's the characterization that shines here. Wren is the very definition of "pluck": stalwart and true to her friends, always resourceful and cheerful. Far too many fantasy novels [i]tell[/i] us that the companions become friends, but this quest showcases their growing trust and friendship. And I 100% bought that Tess and Wren had been friends since infancy, from their in-jokes to their rock-hard belief in each other.

This is a really sweet fantasy novel, particularly for tweens. There's no forced romance, but there's loads of believable, heartfelt friendships and low-key heroism. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Campy, yet fun. It took a while for this book to build momentum, and sometimes doubted the choice to switch POVs, but the ride was enjoyable once it got going. The ending, however, felt anticlimactic, particularly when the last problem solved itself. ( )
  LaPhenix | Nov 22, 2015 |
A fairly simple read and a semi-classic fantasy. Prisoner taken, questors head off to the big-bad fortress to rescue said prisoner. But still, it was a fun, and fairly light read. The children were a bit younger than I expected, but they came across well enough to be able to handle the adventure, and when the main character gets shape-changed things take an interesting little twist. Good ending, and all comes right, as a proper story should. Nothing to heavy or dark in the story, so it was quite enjoyable for a light read. I did find the 'modern' speech of the children a little bit odd, given the 'medieval' type world they were in, but it did make it easier to follow rather than stiff speech that one might otherwise expect. ( )
  Elentarien | Feb 9, 2011 |
This book starts one of my favorite YA fantasy series. Wren is an excellent heroine. I like that she is not the most beautiful or the smartest, but she is clever and brave and full of surprises. I read this when I was a kid at my library and was so excited to find there were sequels. This started my love affair with Sherwood Smith. A fun and satisfying read. ( )
  SockMonkeyGirl | Aug 19, 2010 |
Wren to the Rescue is the first in a young adult/children's fantasy series by Sherwood Smith (who, by the way, is a woman, not a man). I usually enjoy books of this genre, but this one was a bit of a chore to get through.

Wren is an orphan living in the Three Groves foundling home with her friend Tess. It turns out that Tess is a princess in hiding because of a threat made by Andreus, the evil sorcerer-king whose country borders Meldrith. When the girls are summoned to the palace, it takes about a day before Tess is spirited away by a servant of Andreus. Wren is determined to rescue her friend, and along the way picks up two accomplices: Tyron, a gifted student of magic whose involvement in the rescue mission has endangered his standing with his master; and Connor, a wellborn magic student with no gift for magic whatsoever. Many clichéd happenings ensue before the happy ending.

What struck me most about this book was how derivative it is of Tolkien. So much is borrowed from Middle-earth — and not very well borrowed, either. I started writing down all the likenesses because there are so many:

• The girls' heroine from legend, Eren Beyond-Stars, bears an alarming resemblance to Lúthien
• Twice the party travels underneath mountains through dark, ruinous caves (can you say Moria?)
• They eat sustaining "traveller's cakes" that smell suspiciously of lembas
• They are able to travel on "chraucans," which bear an alarming resemblance to Tolkien's Eagles
• They are chased by "warries," which bear an alarming resemblance to Tolkien's Wargs
• They are spied upon by "gryphs," which bear an alarming resemblance to Tolkien's crebain
• The characters indulge in lots of scrying, with effects very similar to both Ring and Palantirí use

I understand that Tolkien is a cornerstone in the fantasy genre, but if you're going to copy him, don't do it so obviously. Have some creativity, at least!

Besides all this, the characterization is very poor. Wren never comes across as a believable heroine. Somehow she was born with pre-highlighted hair; no doubt this hints at her incredible magic skills. She's a brat. And she's way too cutesy and perky, annoyingly so. She calls the bad guys "baddiepeepers," which is apparently the funniest thing Tyron has ever heard. Magic students must not get out much.

Andreus is very one-dimensional. Evil and violent, muwhahahaha! He even spills his plans of conquest to Tess, his prisoner, like every stereotyped bad guy to ever terrorize a poor countryside. His henchmen are amazingly stupid (who would not notice a dog slipping into a cell right behind the nightly dinner delivery?). And there are so many holes in his guard spells and tracers, I was really starting to wonder about his supposed prowess as a magician. Mmhmm.

The only halfway-interesting person in the story was Idres, the bitter magician who betrayed and escaped Andreus many years before. But even she fell a bit flat, with her constant "wintry smile" and leave-me-alone-I-am-bitter attitude. Predictably enough, she does join in the quest before the end, saving the children from some very stupid mistakes just in time.

I didn't much care for the writing style either; it was awkward in its attempts to be memorable. Take this example from page 126:

"Tears blurred her vision from the icy strength of the wind."

So the icy strength of the wind was blurred in her vision so she couldn't see it? Is her vision blurred by the wind or by her tears? Wouldn't this be so much better as, "Tears from the icy strength of the wind blurred her vision"? Even that has plenty of room for improvement. Some of the other descriptions were similarly clunky. And why does Smith try to make up words to make her fantasy world seem like it has more of a distinct culture? Combining two words into one ("slimeslug") does not constitute creative slang.

The dialogue was okay most of the time, but there were some howlers. Consider this event that happened in Moria*cough* I mean under the mountain:

"A distant hissing noise, too uneven to be water, came to all their ears. As it got louder, they noted an odd, dry quality to the hiss.
'A serpent!' Tyron choked. 'Let's hide.' "
(page 133)

Brilliant plan, Tyron!

The plot was predictable and riddled with convenient happenings. Connor just happens to have been born with the ability to understand animals (great for when Wren gets herself turned into a dog). Grown men — trained soldiers — can be easily beaten if you throw pepper in their faces, or even dirt at a pinch (who needs weapons, anyways?). There is always a poor cottager of some kind or another who will take in travelers for the night, give them a nice warm meal, and load them with useful gifts at parting. Oh, and there are language spells so you don't have to waste time actually studying the language; you can just magically attain it.

With the poor characterization, sometimes laughable dialogue, predictable plot, clunky writing, and just generally unimpressive everything, Wren to the Rescue will very likely be the only Sherwood Smith book I'll ever pick up. Can't recommend this one, except as fodder for snarky review-writing. ( )
7 vote wisewoman | Oct 16, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sherwood Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, VictorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Janis Marie Robinson because long ago, when she was eight and I was eleven, I promised.
and to T.K.K. in affection and gratitude for twenty-five years of friendship, laughter, and Belief.
First words
Wren stared at Tess in amazement.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Be careful what you wish for!

All her life, little, irrepressible Wren has hoped for an adventure. Growing up in an orphanage, she even playacted being a hero. But when her wish becomes true, Wren find herself totally unprepared. The adventure involves a kidnapped princess, a handsome prince, and a magician. What does it matter if the princess is only Tess, her best friend from the orphanage; that the prince is a youngest son with no chance of becoming king; and the magician an apprentice? Wren has the chance to be a real hero at last - and she leads the other three over mountains and past killing spells, fighting battles with warrie beasts, warriors and the wicked wizard-king Andreus. But then she finds herself up against some shape-changing magic that may end her life as a human forever...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142401609, Paperback)

All her life Wren has hoped for an adventure. Now she has one-with a kidnapped princess, a handsome prince, and a magician. What does it matter if the princess is only Tess, her best friend from the orphanage; if the prince is a youngest son with no chance of becoming king; and the magician is an apprentice? Wren leads the other three over mountains and past killing spells, fighting battles along the way. But then she finds herself up against some shape-changing magic that may end her life as a human forever!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

With the help of a prince and an apprentice wizard, Wren strives to rescue her best friend, a princess named Tess, from the fortress of a wicked king.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
12 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.96)
1 1
1.5 1
2 2
3 13
3.5 3
4 33
4.5 4
5 19

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,424,204 books! | Top bar: Always visible