Wyrd & Wonder 2023 wrap-up
First I want to thank all the hosts for organizing Wyrd & Wonder again this year! Like always I enjoyed participating. On my blog I celebrated two of my favourite subgenres: Historical Fantasy and Portal Fantasy. I also shared my Top Three Magical Schools (besides Hogwarts).
During the month I reread The Magister Trilogy. I enjoyed it, but I did hope to like the trilogy more this time. After rereading three books, I didn’t stick to my TBR. I was eager for some new books and I read Sorcery of Thorns. Below are my spoiler-free thoughts of all the books I read during Wyrd & Wonder.
Books I Read
Feast of Souls (The Magisters Trilogy, #1) by C.S. Friedman – 4 stars (reread)
In four words: intriguing, magical, dark fantasy
What I liked: While rereading this story, I started recognizing parts. What I didn’t remember is how intriguing the Magisters are; powerful and immortal, but at the sacrifice of human lives. Especially Kamala is an interesting character. The book has multiple perspectives, but the story is mostly about her. Kamala managed to become the first known female magister. Now she has a lot to prove. I admired her determination, confidence and fearlessness.
What I disliked: Although I found the characters interesting, I wasn’t emotionally invested in the story. The magisters are too mysterious to really connect with. Other characters are just not remarkable enough. Kamala is one of the few characters I actually sympathised with.
Trilogy has trigger warnings for murder, death of loved ones and rape
Wings of Wrath (The Magisters Trilogy, #2) by C.S. Friedman – 3 stars (reread)
In four words: interesting, but bland sequel
What I liked: I’m glad this trilogy has a couple of strong, complex, female main characters. Female magister Kamala, witch queen Siderea and High Queen Gwynofar are all women who were able to get power in this patriarchal world. Siderea is already fascinating in the first part. She becomes more interesting due to an ambiguous choice she makes in the sequel. I liked how Gwynofar is stronger than she seems and gets more agency in this part.
What I disliked: After reading two books, I still felt mostly indifferent to the characters. A lot of the characters, especially the magisters, show little emotion. This makes it hard to identify with them. Siderea and Gwynofar didn’t get enough pages to really make me care for them. It’s a pity that Kamala plays a smaller role in this part. I liked Kamala and wanted to read more about her.
Legacy of Kings (The Magisters Trilogy, #3) by C.S. Friedman – 4 stars (reread)
In four words: strong, exciting, satisfying ending
What I liked: There are a couple of significant plot twists. They weren’t a huge surprise to me, because I seem to remember more from the story than I thought. I did like that we finally learn more about some of the characters. It’s interesting that the books have many “grey” characters, who are neither good nor entirely evil. During this last part, some of the magisters grew on me.
What I disliked: I still think this trilogy has too many characters for the amount of pages. If the writer would have focussed on a few of them, I would have liked the story more. I also think the world building could be better.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – 3,5 stars
In four words: bookish, action-packed, fun, enjoyable
What I liked: Elisabeth grew up in a library. Not a common library, this one has living books! Without doubt my favourite thing in this story. The book is set in a fascinating world with sorcerers and various kinds of demons. Elisabeth is alright as main character, but I liked the side characters more. Katrien is the kind-hearted rebellious friend I would like to have. It’s a pity that she hasn’t a bigger role. Silas appears to be a very interesting character when we get to know him.
What I disliked: This was a really enjoyable story, but I hoped it would have more depth. Some problems were a bit too easily solved. And I am left with so many questions about the magic system, the demons and the grimoires. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think the story has much more potential.
Trigger warnings for death of loved ones and murder
Podcasts I Liked
- Of course living books, like in Sorcery of Thorns, do not exist. However, there are real books bound in human skin. While listening to the episode Anthropodermic Biocodicology (HUMAN LEATHER BOOKS) from the podcast Ologies I learned a lot about this creepy phenomenon.
- In Zagreb there’s a museum that exhibits object left after a broken relationship. The founders of this museum tell about it in Episode 66: Museum of Broken Relationships at This is Love.
Good Stuff of Wyrd & Wonder 2023
- Just like me, Celeste @ A Literary Escape & Annemieke @ A Dance With Books wrote a post about Historical Fantasy. Both recommended lots of new books for my TBR-list.
- For Sia @ Every Book a Doorway it has become a yearly tradition to make a list of The Coolest Magical Abilities in Fiction and Cool Magic Systems. She always manages to recommend hidden gems I have never heard of!
- Eustacia @ Eustea Reads made a great list with 7 Fantasy Books Based on 7 Different Mythologies.