A Meddle of Wizards

A Meddle of Wizards

by Alexandra Rushe

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635730104
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Series: Fledgling Magic , #1
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 330
Sales rank: 263,055
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Alexandra Rushe was born in South Alabama, and grew up climbing trees, searching for sprites and fairies in the nearby woods, and dreaming of other worlds. The daughter of an English teacher and a small-town judge, Rushe developed a love of reading early on, and haunted the school and local libraries, devouring fairy tales, myths, and tales of adventure. In the seventh grade, she stumbled across a worn copy of The Hobbit, and was forever changed. She loves fantasy and paranormal, but only between the pages of a book—the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz give her the creeps, and she eschews horror movies. A psychic friend once proclaimed the linen closet in Rushe’s bedroom a portal to another dimension, and she hasn’t slept well since. Rushe is a world-class chicken. Please visit her at www.alexandrarushe.com. 

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Through a Glass Darkly

Raine settled deeper into the upholstered armchair and opened her book. It was after midnight, but she wasn't sleepy. God knows she spent enough time in bed. A breeze blew through the screen window, and she tucked the blanket around her thin legs. The April air was cool, but she didn't mind. Alabama summer lurked around the corner and this might be her last spring.

"Watch this," Mimsie said, whizzing around the bedroom like a helium balloon escapee from a birthday party.

Raine smiled at the ghost's antics. Mimsie was a vision today in a polka dot Suzy Perette dress with rounded shoulders, full skirt, and cinched waist. A triple strand of pearls graced her slender neck and she wore her light brown hair curled and brushed away from her youthful face, a face Raine recognized only from faded photographs. The elderly relative who'd taken her in after her parents had died, the woman she remembered, had been more than half a century older, wrinkled and riddled with arthritis.

Mimsie paused in her aerial high jinx. "You look awful. When's the last time you ate?"

"I don't know. I'm not hungry."

"You're skin and bones. I'll see what's in the kitchen."

The ghost sailed through the bedroom wall, leaving a cloud of Arpege in her wake.

Raine shook her head in amazement. It had been five years since Mimsie had died. Five years without so much as an ectoplasmic peep and then bam! Mimsie was back. The ghost's sudden appearance a few weeks earlier had sent her scurrying to the doctor, convinced she had a brain tumor. Headaches, nausea, blurred vision, and now the ghost of her dead aunt — what else could it be?

The scans had come back negative. Raine had been sick her entire life, tested for every disease known to man with no diagnosis. The MRI to rule out a brain tumor was just one more procedure. She was twentyfive years old and she was dying, and no one could tell her why.

In the ghost's absence, quiet settled over the old house, unbroken but for the creak of a settling board and the hum of the electric clock on the table by the bed. Raine returned her attention to Ghosts of Behr County, a worn volume of eerie tales, and one of her favorites. She was engrossed in the story of the Wampas Kitty, a feline banshee whose shriek warned of impending death, when a sudden gust of briny air made her lift her head. The tangy scent of the sea blowing through the open window was overpowering and intoxicating.

Raine loved the smell of the ocean, but she lived sixty miles from the Gulf. Inland. The universe wasn't satisfied with hallucinations. Now she was imagining smells.

A flicker of movement in the dresser mirror caught her eye, and the book in her hands tumbled to the floor. A ship rode a wintry sea in the silvered glass, the image shaky as an old silent movie. The sky above the vessel was sprinkled with stars, hard chips of brightness against the inky black, and a sliver of moon peeked from behind dusky clouds. A tall, broad-shouldered man strode about the narrow deck, flags on a mast snapping in the breeze. He paused and looked back, as though sensing her regard.

Time slowed and stilled. How long she sat there — seconds? hours? — Raine did not know. The neighbor's dog barked, breaking the spell. She blinked, disoriented for a moment, and shook off her paralysis. Brain tumor. Definitely. Closing her hand around the heavy flashlight by her chair, Raine hurled it at the mirror. The glass shattered, and the ship and the man disappeared.

Mimsie darted back through the wall. "I heard a noise. Are you hurt?" She spotted the broken glass. "Oh, dear. Why'd you break the mirror?"

"There was a roach," Raine lied. "One of those big, icky ones with wings. You know I hate those things."

Raine got to her feet and tightened the string at the waist of her cotton pajamas. She'd lost more weight. Mimsie was right — she should eat something, but she had no appetite. Averting her gaze from the broken mirror, she headed for the bedroom door.

"Careful of the glass," Mimsie warned. "You're barefoot." She fluttered after Raine into the upstairs hall. "There's chicken noodle soup in the pantry and saltine crackers."

"Yay. I'll have a whiskey instead."

"You don't drink."

"I've decided to take it up."

Raine needed a drink. A lot of drinks. First the ghost and now the medieval hunk in the mirror. She'd lost her ever-loving mind.

"But what about the glass?"

"Later, Mims. It's not going anywhere."

Holding on to the rail, Raine staggered down the stairs and made her way into the library with the ghost at her heels. She switched on a lamp and grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniel's out of the liquor cabinet. Sloshing two fingers into a glass, she took a hefty swig, coughing and gasping as the fiery liquid burned its way down her throat.

"Don't guzzle it. That's good sipping whiskey."

"For goodness sake, stop pecking." Raine wiped her streaming eyes. "You're worse than a broody hen."

"I'm not pecking," Mimsie said. "I'm trying to educate you."

Raine took another cautious sip. "Tell me something. Why show up now? You've been dead for years."

The pretty young ghost sniffed. "I didn't just show up, Mary Raine. Been here all along. It's not my fault you couldn't see me."

"I can't get over the way you look." Raine waved the glass at Mimsie. "You are not the Mimsie I remember."

Mimsie smoothed the silk dress that covered her slender figure. "I was eighty-four when I died. Why go through eternity an old woman if I don't have to? Now I'm dead, I mean to live it up."

The doorbell rang, interrupting them before Raine could think of a response to that bit of nonsense.

"Good grief," Raine said, lowering her glass. "Who could that be at this time of night?"

"Betcha a dollar it's that nosy Mamie Hall. Probably saw the lights on."

Raine groaned. Her next-door neighbor was a notorious busybody. "You're right. What in the world am I going to tell her?" "You don't have to tell her anything. It's your house. You don't owe the old biddy an explanation."

The bell rang again, shrill and insistent.

"Oh, for heaven's sake," Raine said. "She keeps that up, she'll break the damn thing."

She set the glass down and hurried into the hall. She yanked the front door open. The porch was dark and empty, but the old bell in the middle of the door spun like mad, as if turned by an invisible hand. The porch lights flared on and the bell stopped ringing.

"That's strange," Raine murmured, squinting at the glare.

"Raine? Get back here. You need to see this."

What now? Raine thought, closing the door. Hurrying into the library, she found Mimsie standing by the window, her slim form shining in the dim light. The ghost raised her arm and pointed to the mirror over the mantel. The glass rippled like wind-tossed water.

Raine gasped in shock as the billowing folds of the mirror parted and a man with shoulder-length auburn hair stepped out. He held a brilliant jewel in one hand and he was dressed in some sort of costume — a tattered brown cloak, a knee-length rumpled brown tunic worn over loose leggings of the same color, and scruffy brown boots. He was handsome, Raine's stunned brain realized, but he was not the man on the ship. Oh, no. This was an entirely different apparition. She stumbled back, tripped on the hem of her pajamas, and crashed to the floor with the grace of a hippo en pointe. Ignoring her aching rump, she gaped at the stranger.

"Do you see what I see?" Raine asked Mimsie, her gaze on her brain's latest manifestation. Boy, when she had a meltdown, she had a doozy.

"If you're talking about the man in the funny getup, absolutely," the ghost said. "Call the police."

"And tell them what? 'Scuse me, officer, could you send someone over? A man just broke into my house through the library mirror? They'll lock me up and throw away the key."

The man gave Raine a quizzical look and said something in a strange language. He waved the jewel at her and took a tentative step closer.

"Forget the police," Mimsie said with a hiss. "Run. I'll create a diversion."

Raine scrambled to her feet and backed toward the door, her gaze on the stranger. He spoke again and the jewel in his hand flared, bleaching the library walls white. Raine's muscles went stiff and hard as rock. She froze, unable to move, pinned to the floor like a bug.

"Let her go," Mimsie screeched.

She flew at the man, passed through him, and came out the other side, but if the intruder noticed, he gave no sign. With a despairing wail, Mimsie disappeared, leaving Raine alone with him. Closing the space between them, he lifted Raine's arm and examined the splotch on the underside of her left wrist. She stared at him, dizzy and disoriented. His hands were strong and uncallused, and his palms were hot against her skin.

He felt awfully real for a dream. No matter, she told herself. Tomorrow morning when I wake, he'll be gone.

The stranger regarded her, his gaze troubled. "There must be some mistake."

English, the man had spoken English, though his accent was peculiar.

He released her and stepped back. "You are not what I expected, but you have the mark." He stroked his chin. "Still, best to be sure."

He waved the stone again. Raine's petrified muscles relaxed without warning, and she crumpled to the floor.

"Allow me to introduce myself." The man bowed. "I am Archimedes Brefreton, a wizard of the order prime. You may call me Brefreton, Bree, or Red — anything but Archie, which I detest. What is your name?"

Wizard? The guy was a total nutter. Correction: she was the nutter. She'd had a complete brain melt.

"There's a good girl." Brain Tumor Boy gave her an encouraging smile. "Tell me your name."

Raine struggled to her feet and straightened her pajamas. This was ridiculous. She would not be controlled by a lump on her brain.

But, to her fury, the words tumbled out of their own accord.

"Mary Raine Stewart, but that's my adopted name," she heard herself say. "No idea who my birth parents were. They left me on the steps of Saint Mark's Episcopal Church when I was a baby. My father's aunt raised me after my parents died."

She stamped her foot and glared at this latest fancy of her beleaguered brain. "Stop that. You're making me talk and I don't like it."

"Then I suggest you stop fighting me and cooperate." He looked her up and down, taking in her ashen complexion, frizzy locks, and gaunt frame. "You are unwell?"

"Wow, someone give Captain Observant a free T-shirt."

"What ails you?"

"Ding, ding, ding. That's the fifty-million-dollar question. The only thing the doctors know for sure is that I'm dying."

"Dying? Inconvenient, to be sure, but hardly insurmountable." He brandished the gemstone at her. "Do you know what this is?"

"You got a shiny rock. Yay."

"It is not a rock. It is a god stone and very powerful. With it, your vitality can be restored."

"Uh-huh."

Talk about denial. She was so desperate to be well that her psyche had cooked up this garbage. Pathetic.

"Come with me." He held out his hand. "Help me save my homeland and you will be made healthy and whole."

"Mister, I wouldn't go to the corner store with you, even if you were real. Which you are so not."

His handsome features hardened. Grabbing her by the arm, he pulled her close. "You are under a misapprehension. You have no choice. One way or another, you will accompany me. There are more lives at stake than your own."

Lifting the jewel, he began to murmur in that strange language, and the mirror over the mantel shimmered and pulsed in response.

Something clattered outside the window, and he turned with a start. "What the–"

Good old Mimsie. She'd promised to create a diversion and she had, rattling the garbage cans around and making one hell of a racket.

Raine jerked free of the man's hold and punched him in the nose. Hard.

"Ouch." She shook her throbbing hand and glared at him in outrage. "What gives? Dreams aren't supposed to hurt."

He winced and prodded the bridge of his nose. "Now, see here, young lady," he said as she drew back her fist. "Do not —"

Raine took another swing at the man. He cursed and made a defensive move, and her fist glanced off his upraised arm and slammed into the jewel. It blazed bright as a miniature sun and flew into the air.

A tremendous wind howled through the library. Books tumbled off the shelves. Vases and bric-a-brac crashed to the floor. The couch skidded across the room and Mimsie's favorite Queen Anne chair smashed into the wall. Raine was lifted off her feet like a papier-mâche doll and tossed toward the mantel mirror. She screamed in helpless terror as the glistening surface of the glass parted like a pair of grotesque lips and swallowed her whole. She tumbled, head over heel, through darkness.

Stars melted around her. Down, down she plummeted, toward a distant shard of light. The splinter of brightness widened, and she caught a fleeting glimpse of mountains and an ocean of trees. Then something slammed into her head and Raine knew no more.

CHAPTER 2

Magog's Temple

The broken moon Petrarr smiled upon the temple with crooked teeth. Una, her twin, glowed beside her, round and smooth as a new cheese. The moons were high in the sky by the time the priests had finished their cleansing rites. Chanting, they held their lanterns aloft and marched down the hill, swaying to the beat of the drums.

When the last priest had droned past, Gertie crawled out of the woods and up the treeless slope on her belly. Pausing at the bottom of the stone stairs, she fixed her unblinking gaze on her quarry. Two men guarded the temple entrance. Torches flared on the landing and on either side of the ornate double doors. The wind shifted and Gertie wrinkled her nose. The humans stank of leather and sweat and the smaller one reeked of garlic. She crept closer, her body blending into her surroundings.

Shifting their weapons, the guards peered into the darkness.

Nervous as a lamb at a wolf's wedding, Gertie thought with an inward chuckle. They sensed the danger, though they couldn't see her. Trolls had a talent for camouflage.

At the top of the wide stone steps she tensed her hindquarters and sprang at one of the guards, slashing his throat with her claws. He slumped to the pavement with a gurgling cry. The other man whipped around at the noise, his eyes widening when he saw the crumpled figure lying in a pool of blood.

"Who's there?" he demanded.

His question ended in a shriek as Gertie lifted him into the air and fastened her jaws around his throat. The hot, sweet taste of blood filled her mouth. When the man ceased to twitch in her arms, she tossed the body aside and shed her disguise. Her muzzle and claws were wet with blood and the light from the torches threw her hulking shadow against the temple wall. Stepping over the dead man without a backward glance, she stalked across the landing to the temple doors.

Mauric slid out of the darkness, a bloody knife in one hand. As he was human and could not cloak himself in the manner of trolls, he'd disguised himself with black garb. His pale skin was smeared with dark paint, and a black cloth covered his pale locks.

He cleaned his knife and slid it back in his boot. "What took you so long? You're slowing down."

"Don't start with me. I shouldn't have let you come. It's far too dangerous."

The warrior's eyes gleamed. "That's the fun of it. In any event, you couldn't have stopped me."

Gertie glared at him in annoyance. The young devil was enjoying this. They were deep in enemy territory with plans to kidnap the Dark Wizard's ward, and he acted like it was a lark. She glanced around, her predatory instincts jangling from adrenaline. Glonoff and his soldiers were camped a short distance from the temple. Hara and her attendants were alone inside ... now that the guards had been disposed of. It was now or never.

"The moons are on the rise," Gertie said. "We're wasting time. We do not want to be here when Magog wakes up."

She stalked inside and looked around. Few outsiders saw the secret confines of one of Magog's temples, unless they were being sacrificed on the altar. The shrine was vast, the ceiling lost in darkness. Fire danced in golden braziers, their flames casting flickering shadow monsters on the vast columns. On a dais in the center of the temple a gigantic statue of Magog was enthroned. Padding closer, Gertie studied the god's features. He was as she remembered, golden and beautiful by human standards, but cruel. A blue sapphire the size of a man's fist gleamed in one eye; the other socket yawned dark and empty.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "A Meddle of Wizards"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Alexandra Rushe.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Meddle of Wizards 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Gary Bray More than 1 year ago
If you’re tired of the dark, depressing, violent saga of George R.R. Martin and the gaggle of poor imitations flooding the marketplace, do yourself a favor and give A MEDDLE OF WIZARDS a read. It’s a joyous adventure written in a witty, fresh style that brings the FUN back into fantasy. It’s a great joy to spend time in the company of a skillful storyteller with the mettle to pull off a grand story like Alexandra Rushe does with her first novel. AMOW is a not just a refreshing voice in the wilderness and a truly funny story, it is also a character-driven novel full of well-drawn, likable but quirky oddballs who grip the reader from the outset and refuse to let go. It’s the story of Raine Stewart, a young girl afflicted with a mysterious illness, who begins having hallucinations about a peculiar man visiting her room. Or is it a hallucination? Her ordinary life up to this point is about to change in ways she doesn’t imagine. Let the adventure begin! This is a quest story with an admirable crew of characters and a lyric writing style that fits it to an H. Or is that a Tee? In either case, AMOW if one of those rare yarns that earns the reader’s interest and respect while also dragging him/her along for a delightfully rollicking ride. Along the way you’ll get to know and love some wonderful people, experience the joys and perils they face together, root for the good guys, and boo the bad guys. Like great literary adventures have always done. There are certain books you just want to savor – not rush through in a white heat, but slowly roll around in a while to keep that great flavor going as long as possible. AMOW is one of those special books. The worst thing that can be said about it is that it ended. But I'm confident enough people will agree with me that Alexandra Rushe has earned a chance to continue this wonderful tale.
Eloise_In_Paris More than 1 year ago
A great start to a new series. I loved the world building, as Raine traveled the reader wasn’t left out of getting a feel for her new surroundings. I also liked that we were given a good amount of backstory to the characters, without losing all mystery. Everyone is layered and there is still so much more to learn. I also liked how involved the Gods are, and that there are beings even older than them. So there is sort of a system of checks and balances, making no one so powerful they can’t be brought down a peg or two. What I didn’t like was Raine ignoring warnings. When she first arrived in Tandara it made sense. It was an accidental kidnapping and she thought she lost her mind. But once she realized it was real and the dangers she faced, a bit more caution and thought would’ve been nice. But that is an issue I’ve noticed with a lot of lead characters thrown into a new and magical or supernatural environment. The need to argue or prove their point seems to outweigh common sense and asking questions before acting. Overall I really enjoyed the book and I can not wait for the next installment.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Raine Stewart lives in Alabama and has been suffering from a strange, unidentified illness for her whole life. So, when she sees a man come through her mirror she thinks he is a hallucination. What else is she supposed to think when she is told that she is a lost twin, a wizard, and from another world. I mean she sees her dead aunt’s ghost, this can’t be real right? But Raine soon learns that it is true. She has a great power in her that she is going to have to learn how to control if she is going to find a missing magical stone and defeat the evil wizard. I really enjoyed this story. I admit that Raine had a tendency to get on my nerve sometimes with how she treated the others in her group. I did have to remind myself that a lot of that comes from the fact that she does not have a lot of experience around people. But that excuse can only last you so long. Beyond that, I loved this world. There was so much happening, you had a great group of people to follow along with, and I enjoyed all the twists and turns to the story. I really liked how Raine had to work at her powers. She was more dangerous trying to use her power than if she would have just stayed back. But this makes the story more believable as opposed to her just coming to Tandara, being able to save everyone right off the bat, and just fitting in perfectly. This is a great story and a fantastic start to a trilogy. I’m excited to see where Rushe is going to take us in the next book. I received A Meddle of Wizards from Silver Dagger Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too many characters. Too many back stories . Too much description for jumping all over the place. First book I couldn't finish in a day. Struggle to complete because I just couldn't get into story with the over information narrative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a deep fondness for portal fantasies, since I read a ton of them as a teen in the 90s, so this had a lot of nostalgia for me. I’m not sure the cover is a good match for the book, though. The cover made me think this would be a romantic fantasy novel, like Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker Chronicles. Instead, it’s a quirky sort of epic fantasy, with pretty much nonexistent romance, and reminds me most of my memories of reading Piers Anthony’s Xanth books as a teen. It has its own sort of fun, but if you’re going into it expecting a romantic undertone, like I was, you’re going to be disappointed. The book is mostly told from Raine’s perspective, in the third person, though occasionally it switches to another character. I disliked these parts, because I felt like it was taking me away from Raine’s story, and just piled on confusion. The first few chapters of the book were rough reading, as there are a lot of characters, place names, and Gods, some with multiple nicknames. The pacing also had a couple of really slow spots, and I felt like the switching POVs hurt that as well. At one point, we spend a couple chapters with Queen Balzora of Tannenbol for no particular reason I could discern, as there wasn’t anything that happened that the characters didn’t go back to Raine and explain later. I just never really connected with Raine. She goes from super sick (to the point of dying) to absolutely stunning gorgeous and powerful in the course of a few weeks. Of course, there is an explanation for why she’s been so sickly all her life (and it was obvious from the beginning), but it still seemed like she recovered much too quickly. I did like that, even though she was ridiculously powerful, she had no control over it, and caused a lot of accidental destruction. She had a couple of annoying TSTL moments (“oh, I’m hearing a weird voice in my head, maybe I should tell one of the super powerful and knowledgeable wizards over there? Ooooor, I know, I could just wander off into the creepy forest!”) that didn’t endear her to me either. I honestly felt closer to some of the other characters than I did to her. I especially liked Gertie, the troll. And that leads in to my favorite part of this book – the world building. To start off, there’s a gorgeous map at the front of the book, and that should clue you in that this’ll be one of those lovely long journey books a la Fellowship of the Ring. Each of the various countries is under the auspices of a certain god, and as the book progresses, we learn more about the inhabitants of each land and some of their stories. Some of my favorite parts of the book were Gertie’s stories about the founders of two of those countries. Also, I absolutely adored Gertie and the whole troll culture. The fantastical creatures – from trolls to frost giants to the various types of “goggins” – were all fascinating and very well done. In terms of building characters, the book was wonderful – it was just getting the characters to feel like real people that I cared about that I felt the book struggled with. There’s definitely more of a young adult feel to this than epic fantasy. For one thing, there’s a lot of silliness. Some of it is truly funny, and some of it struck me as just over the top. A “wizard who set his farts on fire” joke? A wizard who turns himself into a bird and then poops on an annoying character’s head? There’s even a joke about – I cannot believe I’m typing this out – a “jigglestic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a deep fondness for portal fantasies, since I read a ton of them as a teen in the 90s, so this had a lot of nostalgia for me. I’m not sure the cover is a good match for the book, though. The cover made me think this would be a romantic fantasy novel, like Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker Chronicles. Instead, it’s a quirky sort of epic fantasy, with pretty much nonexistent romance, and reminds me most of my memories of reading Piers Anthony’s Xanth books as a teen. It has its own sort of fun, but if you’re going into it expecting a romantic undertone, like I was, you’re going to be disappointed. The book is mostly told from Raine’s perspective, in the third person, though occasionally it switches to another character. I disliked these parts, because I felt like it was taking me away from Raine’s story, and just piled on confusion. The first few chapters of the book were rough reading, as there are a lot of characters, place names, and Gods, some with multiple nicknames. The pacing also had a couple of really slow spots, and I felt like the switching POVs hurt that as well. At one point, we spend a couple chapters with Queen Balzora of Tannenbol for no particular reason I could discern, as there wasn’t anything that happened that the characters didn’t go back to Raine and explain later. I just never really connected with Raine. She goes from super sick (to the point of dying) to absolutely stunning gorgeous and powerful in the course of a few weeks. Of course, there is an explanation for why she’s been so sickly all her life (and it was obvious from the beginning), but it still seemed like she recovered much too quickly. I did like that, even though she was ridiculously powerful, she had no control over it, and caused a lot of accidental destruction. She had a couple of annoying TSTL moments (“oh, I’m hearing a weird voice in my head, maybe I should tell one of the super powerful and knowledgeable wizards over there? Ooooor, I know, I could just wander off into the creepy forest!”) that didn’t endear her to me either. I honestly felt closer to some of the other characters than I did to her. I especially liked Gertie, the troll. And that leads in to my favorite part of this book – the world building. To start off, there’s a gorgeous map at the front of the book, and that should clue you in that this’ll be one of those lovely long journey books a la Fellowship of the Ring. Each of the various countries is under the auspices of a certain god, and as the book progresses, we learn more about the inhabitants of each land and some of their stories. Some of my favorite parts of the book were Gertie’s stories about the founders of two of those countries. Also, I absolutely adored Gertie and the whole troll culture. The fantastical creatures – from trolls to frost giants to the various types of “goggins” – were all fascinating and very well done. In terms of building characters, the book was wonderful – it was just getting the characters to feel like real people that I cared about that I felt the book struggled with. There’s definitely more of a young adult feel to this than epic fantasy. For one thing, there’s a lot of silliness. Some of it is truly funny, and some of it struck me as just over the top. A “wizard who set his farts on fire” joke? A wizard who turns himself into a bird and then poops on an annoying character’s head? There’s even a joke about – I cannot believe I’m typing this out – a “jigglestic