US Publisher: Orb Weaver Press, 2011
My Rating: 4/5 stars
“Wander, my daughter. A woman’s path is made by wandering.”
I found Eolyn on the Kindle store for $1.99, and it was so nice to start a book knowing absolutely nothing about it beyond its short Amazon blurb. There was no hype for it to live up to, and now that it’s over that makes me sad because it’s a really good book.
“In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a ruthless purge of the magas. Eolyn, last daughter of the magas and sole heiress to their forbidden craft, seeks refuge in the vast and impenetrable South Woods. When she meets the mysterious Akmael, heir to the throne of this violent realm, she embarks on a path of hope, seduction, betrayal, and war.”
One of my favorite things about Graceling was that its main character Katsa had a job and then she found her purpose. She had a calling, a vocation. First she was the king’s thug, and then she dedicated her skills that he’d perverted into reducing the number of little girls who became pawns and victims in the world. Too often women’s vocations have been considered “subversive” (think of cunning women, midwives, granny witches), and when they become professionalized are then taken over by men. Suddenly there is prestige, and exclusiveness, higher pay.
“It is not right for women to practice High Magic anymore. It is not acceptable.” Eolyn stared at him as if he had slapped her in the face. She stood up and stepped away, eyes smoldering with rage. “Do you really believe that?” she demanded.
Eolyn’s got a little “special snowflake” going on, but it works here because her being so noticeably unique is important to the story. She’s unwittingly the last of her kind, and she’s powerful and beautiful but her destiny also includes one major dose of “right place, right time.” Destiny is tricky, and she’s not at any point destined to do anything but try to change things for the women in her world. Her story is really moving and inspiring. Love, adventure, and most importantly, purpose.
It was a very slow start for me, but as I went along I didn’t mind the writing style as much because I got wrapped up in the story. I found Eolyn’s tale really compelling, especially her interactions with Akmael. I also loved the emphasis on the healing power of women’s magic. 4/5 stars.
I’m afraid to say anything else, I don’t want to give too much away. Eolyn taught me, though, not to judge a book by its so-bad-it’s-good cover and cheap price. Give it a shot!