Title: The Banished of Muirwood (416 pages)
Author: Jeff Wheeler
Published Date: August 18th, 2015
Source: Netgalley ebook/ Publisher print book
Date read and finished: Mid January-Jan 29th, 2016
I’m always hesitant to accept books from authors directly or take books from lesser-known publishers. I have a good reason, y’all, I’m not unnecessarily picky. I’ve had some bad interactions from people who are too close to the books. However, when I saw this on Netgalley I knew that it was worth that risk. I am so very glad that I did request the books and that the publisher also sent me the physical copy of the book(s). (They sent me the trilogy!)
I def prefer physical books though I’m not opposed to ebooks. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I absolutely love it but there’s just something about holding a book and looking at it beside me when I watch TV that makes me so flippin’ happy.
The Cover of this book was actually what drew me to it. It was so beautiful online and even more beautiful IRL. The details were so intense and perfect. I couldn’t stop looking at it. And when I read it, thank GAWD it was good. In fact, it was better than good, it was amazing. I’ve only read two books in 2016 so far and this is the one that left the most lasting impression. (The 5th Wave was the other.) I loved that The Banished of Muirwood and the 5th Wave were so different. The Banished of Muirwood was high fantasy while the 5th Wave was a scifi/dystopia novel. So, really, I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two.
Goodreads says this about the book:
In a stand-alone series set in the world of Muirwood, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her father’s ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret—despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves—even if that realm has forgotten her?
I haven’t read fantasy in a while, at least as far as I can remember, and this was a great way to start the year.
The World in The Banished of Muirwood
Was so vivid. The cover of the book helped me experience the book even more. Books don’t always do that but, like I said, the title was so detail-oriented it literally painted the setting for me. I’ve grouped the setting and the one section because they are so intertwined.
We follow the main character all over her world, running from many dangers that followed her closely. The coolest thing bout the setting is that it keeps changing. The characters don’t sit still for very long, let travel miles and miles through either states of a sort or countries. That much was unclear. Though it was awesome, I was not able to follow all the places they went. The words and worlds mushed together after a while and I couldn’t keep them separate, except for the ones where serious action happened. Which, granted, was pretty often.
The Words in the World
I wasn’t able to follow all the unique words that were tossed around and I’m concerned that I missed some pivotal points. For instance, the main subject of the discussion was not clear to me. After a while I believe I figured it out semi-correctly but it took too long and was quite difficult to follow.
Each character was so unique. Maia was very clearly her own person, no others were like her, quite possibly because she was pretty much the only female in the story during present day in the story. Maia’s past was intertwined throughout the book with her present, which was really cool. Many books have tried that, this is the only one that I think really succeeded. I’m in the middle of reading Black Widow: Forever Red and they try that out a little, too, but The Banished of Muirwood excelled in that sense.
Maia’s relationship was frusterating. She so desperately wanted to believe that her father would come to love and cherish her again, but that never happened, at least not in this book. Her father banished her and sent her on a journey she was probably not going to survive. I was not sure what to make out of the banishment. Her step(ish) mother clearly hated her, that much she knew for certain, but I wasn’t sure if the banishment was truly from her father or her stepmother, working through the king. The flashbacks we see in her dreams didn’t make that clear per se, so I’m quite confused. Her father takes such a dramatic turn for the worst that I can hardly keep up.
Finally, the Story
The story was entertaining and kept my attention. I felt like the change of location was the most important part of the story, and the process of getting there. Arriving at the desired part of the world was important, too, but we saw them move more often than sit still: Maia with her hunter, Jon Tayt and the killer her father hired to protect her. There was equal emphasis on character development as well as the progression of the story but the story felt like it was more in the foreground.
Be ye warned, spoilers ahead
It’s spoiler time! The best time of the review. The king. Omg, the king. Not her father the king but the stable boy-king. I did not see that coming. I have this faint feeling that that is a twist that I’ve seen in another book or two but it was so long ago that I cannot remember which book. That turned out for the best because I did not see the twist coming–that the king was the stable boy who was flirting with her. I absolutely loved the executing of the twist, how at first we think that the king is the stable-boy’s brother, that was the twist I first thought was true, but then then came the twist a moment later when Collier Feint turned out to be the king, asking for her hand in marriage. Well, ask is a bit generous; he backed her into a corner and forced her to become his queen. So not cool, dude. But I think it’s going to turn out for the best. Even though he said he’d never love her, I mean, come on, of course they’re going to fall in love.
I was actually dissapointed by the lack of relationships in the book. When it first started out I truly thought the hired killer was going to be in a love triangle with her and the stable boy, but that never happened. Actually, the hired killer didn’t have a name or a face; we just knew he was hired by her father to protect her. EXCEPT NOT REALLY because he was actually hired to kill her. She figured that out sooner than I did but I believed it. I didn’t put it past her father to do something terrible like that.
And then yet another twist happened, the one that was eerily similar to Dreamstrider, where her mind and body are taken over when she’s sleeping. It was fun that I didn’t quite catch on to that at first but I felt like someone, Jon Tayt, at least, should have told her what he was seeing. That’s a big secret to keep from her–that she’s possessed by someone else when she sleeps and she goes around flippin’ sleepwalking for weeks. Had they let her in on it sooner, though, that would have ruined the surprise. I just don’t understand why both men kept it a secret from her.
The Banished of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
- Vivid setting
- The cover matched the story and helped me see it better
- Plot twist(s) O M G
- Hard to follow along with all the words and locations used by the characters
- Worldbuilding was too intense