Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Having just finished a very good book by this author, written a few years after this one, I picked this up and read it. It's been an interesting experience.
This story follows a similar pattern: a young adult fantasy romance, although this book doesn't have any actual magic in it. It does have a young girl, Rasmira, fighting to survive in a rather harrowing "wild," and trying to change a society which is pretty damn cruel, at least in her village. Her parents are no prizes either, since her mother refused to speak up at the moment she could have saved her daughter and her father has been burdening Rasmira with unreasonable expectations her entire life. After failing her coming-of-age trial (which was sabotaged by a village boy pretending to like her) Rasmira is given a seemingly impossible task as the price of her re-admittance to society. In the wild, trying to fulfill that task, she meets two other outcasts, Iric and Soren, and the three of them band together to return to their respective villages and take down the cruel god, Peruxolo, who has been extorting the local villages for generations.
It's a simple plot with a straightforward goal, uncomplicated characterizations, and a burgeoning romance which was obvious from the moment we met Soren and Iric. I suppose it could be called predictable, but it's not without its charms. For me the main thing lacking was the worldbuilding: with its myopic focus on Rasmira's village of Seravin and Iric and Soren's village of Restin, I got no sense of the larger country these settlements were a part of or its history. Not that this would have been important to the overall story, but a little widening out would have helped.
What was most interesting, however, was comparing this book to the books that follow it, and seeing how the author has grown. The later books have more complex characters, plots and themes. One hopes a writer will improve with each book, of course, but it was gratifying to me to see that happen. This book is probably for the Tricia Levenseller completist, as her current duology, Bladesmith, is a superior work. But if you want to trace the growth and progress of an author, this book has its place.
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