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The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells

The Wizard Hunters (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Martha Wells

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416925,516 (4)39
Title:The Wizard Hunters
Authors:Martha Wells (Author)
Info:Eos (2004, c.2003), Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library, Physical books, Individual books
Tags:ile-rien, 03, fall of ile-rien, fantasy, parallel worlds, steampunk, war, invasions, airships, underground, female protagonist, v.t, v.m, f:2000s, fiction, paperback, us author, ~mc, read 2012, 12 in 12

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The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells (2003)



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I bought this a few years ago for a planned reading challenge in which each month for a year I’d read the first book of a popular fantasy series and then write about it. I lasted six months before giving up. The Wizard Hunters, the first book of The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, I’d heard positive noises about, so I picked it as one of my twelve books. And it’s sat on my TBR ever since. Now that I’ve read it, I suspect I might have enjoyed it more if I’d read as part of reading challenge – it probably stacks up better against the other books I’d chosen back then, when I was a little more receptive to epic fantasy. Now, reading The Wizard Hunters I found myself mostly bored, and annoyed at how bad a lot of the writing was. Often I’d have to go back and reread something because Wells’ prose wasn’t clear enough – there was a line, which I now can’t find, of course, in which the main protagonist Tremaine shakes her head and then puts it to one side. Tremaine was, I admit, fun; as was her companion, Florian (a woman in the book, even though the name is masculine; but never mind); and I did like the mix of magic and early twentieth-century technology… But it took too long for the story get moving, the writing bounced from serviceable to bad, and there was far too much back-story the reader was expected to know. I won’t be, er, hunting down the sequels. ( )
  iansales | Sep 17, 2014 |
Entertaining fantasy; some steampunk elements, such as airships lifted by flammable gas; but other technological details seem more like World War II era; and magic permeates everything. The plot involves a forlorn hope from one world encountering a set of wise primitives on reconnaissance in another, all in the shadow of a powerful and mysterious menace from a third. Most of the key characters are engaging; the cultures they hail from suffice, but aren't particularly memorable. Still, I'll enjoy the rest of the series. ( )
  bezoar44 | Jul 5, 2012 |

Characters: Man I just love Tremaine. Ilias and his bud are solid too. They make the book.
Plot: Not really all that important or impressive. The setting does it for me.
Style: Amazing. It is just solid escapist material. ( )
  Isamoor | Aug 28, 2009 |
The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells is a book I read for an online discussion group. (pre LT, remember back when AOL had online discussion groups? This is the remnant of one of those, Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy.) There is a book that precedes this, and someone who reviewed this commented that some of the same characters are in this book, so knowing what happened to them took some of the fun/suspense out of reading the first trilogy. I can see that happening.

We start out with the character of Tremaine in Ile-Rien. This starts off full of interest--I really liked the beginning. Her nation is under attack by mysterious enemies, and losing. Because of her ownership of a sphere, she is pulled into the resistance, which is trying to follow the enemy back into another dimension where their attack bases are located. A second frame of reference is with the natives of that world (Syrnai), two men who are wizard hunters. After really good introductions to both point of view characters, the story settles down to rather more mundane exploration of each other's cultures, us against the dual bad guys, explosions and rescues. It's the first of a trilogy, so although it ends at a certain climax, there is obviously much more to come.

What I liked: the characters of Tremaine and Ilias.

What I didn't like: rather plebian us-against-them action. It wasn't bad, but it didn't catch me up and make me not want to put the book down. In the nature of trilogies, this may change in later books.

From what I have read, The Death of the Necromancer (the pre-story) may be a stronger book. I actually thought it was going to deal with the Syrnaic backstory, which appears to be considerable, but it doesn't. It is all Ile-Rien backstory.

At this point, I would give this a lukewarm recommendation. It is at least on a par with most fantasy being published, probably better than many, but not on my A or B list. ( )
2 vote ronincats | Apr 3, 2009 |
Like most of Martha Wells the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy is a frequent reread for me.
Her language is great, her worldbuilding well rounded and detailed, and her plots are both believable and original. No stereotype fantasy clichés to be found in her writing.

Tremayne - the daughter of Nicholas Valiarde from The Death of the Necromancer - is contemplating suicide when she becomes involved in the war effort against the implacable Gardier; coming from nowhere with superior spellcraft and inexplicable motivation they have been attacking Ile-Rien and surrounding areas for the past three years, and winning. Since the army is retreating on all fronts, the only hope lies in sorcerous research to find a way to defeat the Gardier. A mecanical gizmo from Tremaynes uncle Arisilde (also from The Death of the Necromancer) turns out to be a teleportation vehicle, transporting her and several others to another world. Here they end up prisoners at a Gardier base, making their escape with the help of unexpected allies. Translocating back to the world of Ile-Rien, some of their party are left behind; moubting a rescue operation they fight both Gardier soldiers and fith column saboteurs.

The middle european industrial setting of Ile-Rien is wonderfully detailed and believable, a fascinating development from the medieval setting of the first Ile-Rien book - The Element of Fire, and the gas lit early industrial setting of The Death of the Necromancer. Ile-Rien is at a late Victorian style level of development where the gas lights are replaced by electricity, and automobiles are becoming more common than horsepowered vehicles. This is a world where technological and magical progress is made simultaneous. The technological development follows the same general direction as in our world, without challenging, or making the existing magic obsolete. Sorcery is a developing science, not - as so often is the case in fantasy - a stagnant, or even contracting exclusive option.
The world where the Gardier base is located is very different and equally welldescribed. In comparison with the technological level of the world of Ile-Rien it is primitive, and their take on magic very different.
The differences in society and perception is explored with a deft touch, and uses narrative shifts to demonstrate very different interpretations of events. ( )
  amberwitch | Apr 18, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martha Wellsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serrano,ErvinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Liz Sharpe and Carolyn Golledge
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It was nine o'clock at night and Tremaine was trying to find a way to kill herself that would bring in a verdict of natural causes in court when someone banged on the door.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038080798X, Mass Market Paperback)

Ile-Rien is in peril. A mysterious army known only as the Gardier has surrounded the country, attacking in ominous black airships. Hope is not lost though, for a magical sphere created by Ile-Rien's greatest sorcerer may hold the key to defeating the faceless enemy. But the sphere is unpredictable and has already claimed several lives. When a magical spell goes disastrously awry, young Tremaine Valiarde and a brave band are transported to another world. A world of rough magics, evil mages, honorable warriors -- and a secret Gardier base.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

With the country of Ile-Rien under attack, a mystical sphere created by Ile-Rien's greatest sorcerer accidentally sends Tremaine Vallarde and others to another world filled with chaos, where Tremaine must unearth the secrets of the sphere.

(summary from another edition)

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