Review: A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice

★★☆☆☆

DNF at 31%.

This book wasn’t bad in any sense. It just felt kind of lackluster. I would advise readers not to judge it based on its title or cover, because it’s really not a strict fantasy. It’s got a lot of interesting sci-fi elements mixed in, and the world-building was by far my favorite part of the book. You can tell the author spent a load of time imagining this world and the societies in it.

Basically, the book centers around a young girl named Vic, who becomes the youngest Logkeeper in her village’s history. It’s her job to memorize the logs of the ancient ship that brought humanity to the planet, and then travel around the countryside and teach the meaning of the logs to children. At least this is what I understood to be happening. Apparently humanity began because this ship, Elesendar, was unable to make it to another planet. I might be butchering this, but it was kind of confusing. There are some who see Elesendar as a ship, and others who see it as a god (which was a cool touch), and then there are moments when the narrator mentions that Elesendar was setting (like a star or constellation) — I really didn’t know what to make of it.

Vic is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery – as the mistress of the “bad guy”, Lornk, who is leading the war against a neighboring country. He traumatizes her emotionally, stripping her of who she was. This doesn’t translate well to a memorable protagonist, because for the rest of the book she’s looking to become who she was before and get vengeance. She felt hollow and not fleshed out, which was perhaps the point, but it didn’t make it very palatable.

She eventually escapes and meets another royal family, is sent on walkabout in a forest in the middle of winter to learn her destiny, then joins the army, and… this is where I stopped because it was just too much. It felt aimless and disjointed for the majority of the book, with too many characters that weren’t fleshed out, plot lines that would begin and end, hints at romance that went nowhere, and the change of scenery every other chapter was really hard to keep a grasp on.

Another odd quirk was the idea of “mindspeech”, where certain civilizations spoke only through their mind. This had a weird effect of not meshing well with my imagination, because it was hard for me to picture Victoria speaking out loud while everyone else in the room spoke to her through their brains. It seemed awkward and kind of goofy.

I think I just wasn’t the right person for this book. Again, it wasn’t bad by any means, and aside from some odd quirks I thought it was interesting. I just couldn’t connect with it at all.

** I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author and publisher for giving me the chance to check it out!

 

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