by James Clemens
Reviewed by Ruby
The author is a liar. That is the first thing that you read. That everything you are about to read is completely fictitious, but also dangerous. So dangerous that only a select few can read it, and the number grows less and less with each volume.
Once the 'lying' narrator starts he tells you that he has told this tale many times, each time differently, showing the main character in a different light each time. This time, however he has finally chosen to tell the truth, in hopes that it will lift the curse from him.
Thousands of years ago there was a war that covered the land of Alsea. The power of Chi, that gave all the wizards their magic abandoned them and they were defenseless against the invading armies. Three wizards created a book to give hope to the future. For a wit'ch who will come and save the land.
Fast forwards a few thousand years; Elena is that wit'ch. She is a normal girl until her hand vanished in the sunlight and turns red. Then she is hunted by the minions of the Dark Lord. Her parents are killed and her and her brother run to the city for help, only they are there waiting for her. But so are allies. There are three: Er'ril, a one armed swordsmen, who was there at the Book's creation and now revisited the valley where it was created on it 500 anniversary; Nee'lahn, a nyphai and the last of her race, sent by the oracle to help the wit'ch so she can reverse the blight on her people and Kral a mountain giant who stalks the creature that damaged his home.
Before we learn anything more, we are brought to another part of the work where Tol'chuk, the half-og're, half-human, just killed one of his tribe. For the murder he is exiled, but also, since he is the last descendent of an og're that caused the bane to plague his people, so their spirits can no longer pass into the other world, he is sent on a quest to reverse the bane. We also meet two brothers, Mogweed and Fardale, si'lura, shape shifters, who can no longer change shape. They are cast out of their forest and sent to A'loa Glen, an ancient city of magic that might reverse their curse.
Back with Elena, they have made their way to her uncle's where they learn of the wit'ch's power and the magic of the elementals that the old wizards didn't think that important, but have a huge role to play in the future of the wit'ch. They have to take Elena to the book in A'loa Glen but before that can happen they meet up with Meric, an elv'in, who was sent from a land across the see to find a descendent from the line of kings, so it can be reunited with the line of queens and also kill the wit'ch. Unfortunately for him it's one and the same person: Elena.
Mogweed, Fardale and Tol'chuk, also stumbled upon them on the same night and they band together to make their way to A'loa Glen.
First of all, what is up with the apostrophes? They are EVERYWHERE! It in names of people and places and everything! It's a little annoying.
The only other thing that I didn't like about this book was there was no map. It was a little weird that the twins walk for a day and meet up with Tol'chuk and they cross a mountain range and stumble in the same valley as the others. Are they even going in the direction of A'loa Glen? If I had a map, I would know. It's just a little too much of a coincidence for my taste. If it was up to the uncle, it's fate, but I hate all that fate crap.
Other than that I loved this book. I loved the characters and the story line and the bad guys. Well, I don't love Mogweed, but you're not supposed to like him, because where everybody else is helping Elena for some higher purpose, he's just in it to free himself of his curse, that was his fault to begin with. He doesn't even care about his twin, who is only stuck like this because of Mogweed. I think those are the hardest characters to write, characters that you are supposed to dislike. They are supposed to be bad, without being badly written and Mogweed was very well written. He's just an asshole.