The Wizard’s Promise is a Scandinavian inspired spin off of author Cassandra Rose Clarke’s other books, Assassin’s Curse and Pirate’s Wish. I have not read either of those two books but did not feel lost. Perhaps because of the author’s familiarity with her world, the book starts quickly and continues at an even pace throughout. But the middle does sag a bit and the story lacks a convincing arc.
Story: Hanna Euli is a young girl apprenticed to the local fisherman, learning to fish and use her wind skills to assist the process. But when a chance rolling of fish bones sends the fisherman and boat into a wild chase into the mystic North, Hanna is forced to go along. For the fisherman is no ordinary seaman and fate is forcing his hand regarding the mysterious beings in the mist.
This had a lovely Norwegian feeling, not Viking but medieval Fjord dwellers. Hanna is named after the main character of Clarke’s other book and we are told she shares a lot of the same characteristics. This book is her voyage of discovery, forcing her out of the comfort of her small village and testing her mettle/magic skills.
The book reads easily but most of it takes place either lost at sea or hanging out at a fishing village while the boat is repaired. It allows Clarke to build characters but does feel very drawn out. It’s not that nothing happens; there is plenty of action scenes, attacks, moments. But very little is resolved by the end and so too much of the middle feels like filler.
What it comes down to for me is whether I really like the main character and want to root for her. Hanna is definitely a girl of action but I have to admit, I would have liked to see her thinking a bit more beforehand of her actions rather than acting so much on the fly. She can feel very passive when most of her actions end up being reactions. She’s a girl whose dialogue and actions always end with exclamation marks. I tend to resonate more with thoughtful main characters.
In all, an enjoyable book. Reviewed from an ARC.