This was once the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who had been taught since birth to hate each other like poison.
But now, the boy Wizard and girl Warrior have been brought together in the Badwoods and they have witnessed the shocking consequences of the Stone That Takes Away Magic. They will need to cast aside their differences once more–for an Evil Spell has broken free.
It’s up to Xar and Wish to find the ingredients. But it means entering dangerous territory unannounced…
The writing and world building are excellent, the imagery is lovely, and I love the way that Xar is written, intentionally, as a bit of jerk. He is a selfish, self-centered teenager who is trying to not become a selfish, self-centered man. Xar is becoming a better person in a slow, realistic way rather than having ONE BIG MOMENT that flips his whole personality. Or, having that ONE BIG MOMENT and then it having zero effect on the rest of his character/story until the climax when the lesson is conveniently remembered.
This kind of character development is all over the How To Train Your Dragon series, but I didn’t appreciate it as much there as I do here because in that series Hiccup is our underdog hero who is instantly likable and stays that way. Here, Xar, especially in the first book, is not really that likable, but he’s growing and trying and is a character who you can’t help but cheer.
The audiobook edition was outstanding here too. It is without a doubt one of David Tennant’s best performances and I considered giving this book an extra start for it because it really does elevate the story. I am so glad I waited the extra couple of months after publication for the audiobook to come out, it was completely worth it. Tennant excels with his wide range of enjoyable voices (there is no question of “who is speaking” here), his tone, and his timing. Further the use of sound effects is very successful in accentuating the story rather than taking away from it and the songs are wonderful. I actually went back to re-listen to the songs a couple of times, they were so enjoyable.
I absolutely cannot wait for the third book to be out.