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Stormwarden by Janny Wurts

Stormwarden (1984)

by Janny Wurts

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cycle of Fire (1)

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576717,182 (3.51)33



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Delightful and rich, this is a high fantasy tale in the best of Janny Wurts’ tradition, so definitely not easy to fit into genre conventions: the story is geared towards a wider audience but it’s not a classic coming-of-age tale or YA in outlook; there are powerful sorcerers and demons, but they are not all-knowing; there is a medieval-flavoured world full of lore and magic, but also intriguing sci-fi elements; the villains are both standard and surprising…the list could go on, anyway the innovation I liked the most (considering when this book was written) is that there is a classic fantasy structure along with a very modern focus on characters’ psychology and morality.
While this book doesn’t have the complex upending of tropes or the deep challenge of the reader’s assumptions which I’ve come to love in her later works, Wurts weaves the story with impeccable rhythm, a skillful rising of tension, clear direction and, at the same time, little predictability of how the plotlines are going to unfold.

As a fan of [b:The Wars of Light and Shadow|28660|The Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light & Shadow, #1)|Janny Wurts|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328835513s/28660.jpg|1945432], I could see in Stormwarden some familiar elements, like sailing, prophecies, good vs evil without clear-cut lines, obsessive compulsion in a perfectly logical mind, empathy, a full-fledged magic system and several aspects of what defines well-rounded and multifaceted characters. Even though the similarities are loose, a long time reader won’t fail to appreciate both the little connections and how Wurts, unfailingly, never writes the same tale twice.

In this first book of the Cycle of Fire trilogy I particularly liked the gripping premise and the protagonists, two boys and a girl, all flawed and not all able to make the right decisions at the right time. Their personalities are complex and the result of their strengths, weaknesses and childhood experiences; they have different ways to relate to their mistakes, inadequacies and self-doubts born of tragedy; facing similar challenges and ever-changing circumstances, they have their own personal reactions, from hatred to love, from will to carve a path to the future standing on their own merits to sheltering in self-deception. All, invariably, strive to make their choices count and pursue their own interests as they’re caught in the machinations of the ancient powers vying for supremacy in the world of Keithland.

What if they play someone's else game?

The themes are mature and the tones are not light, there is hope but also a sense of foreboding and impending doom throughout, and I liked the gravitas of the narration, which is probably the only concession to the ’80s fantasy fashion. As I expected this book doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but the story is open and I’m really eager to read [b:Keeper of the Keys|28669|Keeper of the Keys (The Cycle of Fire, #2)|Janny Wurts|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388813121s/28669.jpg|29184] and immerse again in the tale of Jaric, Emien, Taen and Anskiere.

This is an epic story of future and past, of strength that could arise out of weakness, of cross-manipulation, denied dreams, burning ambitions, courage, cowardice, choices and destiny. The world is vividly depicted, no fans of sailing will be disappointed, there are several forms of magic and an engaging mix of action and mysteries. I cannot seem to get enough of Wurts’ characters, creativity, great world-building and design. Her storytelling makes her tales simply different, original, and each a unique voyage. ( )
  Alissa- | Nov 28, 2015 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

This is a great time to be an audiobook reader! I’ve said often recently that I’m so pleased with Audible Frontiers for bringing us some older fantasy literature on audio, and this month their UK production team released Stormwarden, the first novel of Janny Wurts’ The Cycle of Fire trilogy which was first published in 1984.

Having greatly enjoyed Wurts’ stand-alone novel To Ride Hell’s Chasm, and knowing how several of my fellow FanLit reviewers feel about her The Wars of Light and Shadow saga, I’ve been waiting and hoping to find one of her epics on audio. So when Audible Frontiers UK released Stormwarden, I snapped it up within a few hours.

Stormwarden is a coming-of-age story that focuses on three youth (Jaric, Emien, and Taen) who get caught up in a battle between kingdoms, sorcerers, demons, and aliens. There are some now-classic fantasy characters here — scrawny orphan boy who gets a sword, white-bearded sorcerer who controls the weather, a beautiful enchantress with white hair and violet eyes, and a beautiful dreamweaver with black hair. (Someday I want to read about a middle-aged, overweight, brown-eyed sorceress with thin mousy hair… or maybe I don’t.) But these characters are treated with respect by both author and audiobook reader (David Thorpe) who pack them full of vigor, drive, and both admirable and reprehensible character traits and emotions.

There’s plenty of the unexpected, too. For example, much of the story takes place at sea. Also, an alien endows humans with supernatural powers by injecting them with crystallized demons. For a coming-of-age story, the plot is refreshingly unpredictable and Stormwarden ends with an exciting action-packed climax — a trademark Janny Wurts feature. The reader also gets a sense of Wurts’ expertise in sailing, horsemanship, and other outdoor pursuits — all of these elements feel real and this is something that sets this fantasy novel apart from most of its peers.

The narrative style is more expository than is my preference, and sometimes it’s wordy (for example, “cognizant of the fact that…” instead of “knowing…”), but it’s full of passion and David Thorpe’s perfect performance lends enthusiasm and verve, allowing Wurts’ characters to live and to capture our hearts. I look forward to continuing their adventure in Keeper of the Keys, the next novel in The Cycle of Fire, soon to be released by Audible. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
Superb. Thoroughly engrossing fantasy tale of the highest order. Contains everything you'd want, from demons to aliens, magic, sword play and ships (no horses or dragons to make the set complete), blossoming romance, strained family ties and betrayal.

Although this is one of Janny's earlier works, her writing is still immaculate. Quickly immersed into a storyline that starts out simple, and gets deeper and more mysterious as you continue. Anksiere is a wizard of wind and wave. One of the most powerful sorcerers in the known lands, he is of strong convictions and doesn't liek to be manipulated into anyone's politics. Currently in self-imposed exile in a small fishing village, despite adoration of the children he rouses the villagers ire when he is blamed for a tempest that destroyed a village a long way away. The children - a brother and sister - become embroiled in this political scheme to ensnare his help, and the lynchpin a third child, is revealed to be the heir of the great powers once alied and then foresworn of Anksiere's. It isn't as complicated as it sounds, and all makes perfect sense whilst reading.

The details are great, the boats and ships live with the waves, and the world makes sense. There;s a trifliing matter or an alien spaceship in the middle of it, but hardly anyone knows it is there. You can definetly feel some of the themes that get developed in Janny later and more extensive Curse of the Mistwraith, but this is a different work and stands on its own very well. I'll be looking out for the sequels wherever I can find them. ( )
1 vote reading_fox | Jan 21, 2011 |
This is a great epic fantasy! The two older sorcerers The Stormwarden, Anskiere & the Firewarden, Ivain had a major falling out and there was a geas placed on Ivain’s son and son’s of his son’s so now it comes to pass that Anskiere has called upon this geas .Which is where the children Jaric & Taen come in.

What makes this an Epic fantasy is there are children who know not what they can do or where they come from, there is a quest and there are demons and sorcery. There is adventure and kidnapping and betrayal this book just has it all!

Janny Wurts has done a great job at world building it is so well written and just takes you along for the ride. I thoroughly enjoyed this book I know my description above does not do it justice but with everything going on it is hard to describe. This was my first book by Janny Wurts and I plan on finding everything she’s written!

If you like epic fantasy this is a must read!

I listened to this on audio and the narration by, David Thorpe is Fantastic! His voices and accents are first rate he has become one of my favorite narrators just from this one book. He has great range and cannot wait to hear him read the rest of this series and anything else I can find narrated by him.

5 Stars ( )
1 vote susiesharp | Oct 14, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Janny Wurtsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wurts, JannyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Written in the records of the Vaere is the tale of the binding of the Mharg-demons at Elrinfaer by the wizard of wind and wave, Anskiere.
The fisher folk clustered in a tight knot before the cottage door.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586204830, Mass Market Paperback)

Auskiere, wizard of wind and water, bound the Mharg-demons with the aid of Ivan, master of fire and earth. But at the moment of his greatest peril Ivan is betrayed and he swears a terrible oath against his betrayer - an oath so powerful that it begins a relentless "cycle of fire".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Auskiere, wizard of wind and water, bound the Mharg-demons with the aid of Ivan, master of fire and earth. But at the moment of his greatest peril Ivan is betrayed and he swears a terrible oath against his betrayer - an oath so powerful that it begins a relentless "cycle of fire".… (more)

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