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After his guardian dies, Maurey is demoted from student to unpaid servant at his grammar school and bullied because of his black hair and eyes, which make him resemble the sorcerers who once inhabited the island. When it is discovered that Maurey is indeed a descendant of one of those sorcerers, or Nightwalkers, he is sentenced to be burned alive. He and his young rescuer flee for the Nightwalker's hidden kingdom.
On the isle of Eswiland, wizards are called "Night-eyes," or "Nightwalkers," because of their dark features and magical powers that allow them to travel safe and unseen through shadowy places. However, these powers didn't stop "Good King Hallow," a historical hero to the human population, from practically wiping them out. His weapons were propaganda and "philosopher's fire," which burned only Nightwalkers. Two generations and a lot of tedious family histories and expository conversation later, a suspiciously dark-eyed boy and a displaced duchess escape the current human king's court and make for the magically fortified mountain of the wizards. Along the way, Johansen includes a couple of funny scenes involving, for example, pigs charging the throne room. Unfortunately, she also throws off the pacing and misses the opportunity for character development by focusing on the action scenes while glossing over the getting-to-know-you parts of the journey. This causes real problems toward the end, where she stages a change-of-heart-and-reconciliation scene that isn't a bit believable. Johansen cites Tolkien as an influence, and is at her best when writing about war councils and political intrigues. This book might entertain readers who are waiting for the next book by Megan Whalen Turner or Diana Wynne Jones, but it won't leave a lasting impression.
—Emily R. BrownCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Even as he swooped, I realized that in the fall, my mother's rings had tumbled out the neck of my shirt. I clutched at them, but too late. Chancellor Holden jerked the heavy chain over my head and held it swinging before them all.
Posted November 19, 2008
Maurey used to be a student at the grammar school at Fowler College, but that was before his guardian passed away. Suddenly all of his tuition money, paid through college degree level, mysteriously disappeared. Now Maurey is an unpaid servant at the school, and whipping boy for bored students. In addition to being a charity case, he bears a striking physical resemblance to the sorcerers who were driven from the land many years ago. He is insulted, harassed, even assaulted, at virtually every turn. His only escape is the dark tunnels underneath the school. His extraordinary night vision helps him navigate and elude his captors. Until tonight. <BR/><BR/>Tonight he got away from the bullying students and ran directly into the King, along with the master of the school and the King's Chancellor. As a result of the impact, the chain around his neck bearing rings from his mother, the only thing he has that connects him to her, falls out of his shirt. First accused of theft, closer examination of the rings causes a much greater stir. Maury finds himself locked in a dungeon, waiting to be tried for sorcery. If his greatest fears about his ancestry are true, Maurey will undoubtedly be killed. His only possibility for help seems to be a very unlikely and unwise choice. <BR/><BR/>All I can say is WOW! I've read a fair amount of fantasy/paranormal books, and this is one of the best I've come across. Amazingly well-developed and imagined, both character and story-wise, intelligent, and witty. It's books like this, and the knowledge that it's only book one, that make me love this job!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.