Friday, March 23, 2007

Review: _Spirit Fox_ by Mickey Zucker Reichert and Jennifer Wingert

A young father kills a just born fox as his daughter is born, not realizing the consequences for the future. This sets in motion the intriguing events of a Fantasy novel written in collaboration by two talented authors. Spirit Fox by Mickey Zucker Reichert and Jennifer Wingert is an engaging book with its interesting magic system, tormented characters and entertaining plot.

This interesting magic system is part of the vivid setting, which has a Celtic flavor. Magic in the Marchlands is of two varieties. There is healing magic used by healers to help people. Another magic is the rare spirit links. Some individuals are born and linked with an animal at birth. This bond gives a person and their link mate longer lives and special talents. Destroying the links kills the linked partners. One other magic comes from the foreigners to the land. It is destructive and used by the military Hooded order. The authors provide interesting complications with the magic system to create strong conflicts.

Next, the authors create some appealing tormented characters that engages readers with sympathy. Kiarda is a young woman with a serious problem. She has lapses of memory and wakes up naked in odd places. Her lapses make Kiarda withdrawn from people. Maddock, Kiarda’s childhood friend, is the son of the stable master. He loves Kiarda, but knows he can not marry her since she is the daughter of nobles. Also, he learns how to use a sword, which is forbidden by the priests of their religion. Their problems lead to a sad misunderstanding. They are helped by many concerned friends. Bevin is Kiarda’s healer friend that does not know how powerful she really is. Adan is a helpful older cousin from a nearby manor. These characters are brought to life by the author’s descriptions of their lives.

In the end, it is the entertaining plot that hooks readers into the book. Kiarda has one of her memory lapses in winter, which creates a dangerous situation for her friend Maddock, forcing him to flee. After a time, Kiarda goes on a quest to find her friend to make amends. Along the way she had her companions discover a small invasion company of foreign soldiers and mages threatening the people. Though the plot feels a little rushed at the end, the book has a satisfying climax. The authors weave an interesting story together from several neat plot threads.

Spirit Fox by Mickey Zucker Reichert and Jennifer Wingert is an entertaining collaborative novel. An interesting magic system, tormented characters and fun plot engages readers for a nice read. Many readers should enjoy this book. It is a good summer read.

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