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Sorcerer's Ward (Windrose Chronicles #4)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,068 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Kyra was preparing for her final wizard test before the Council. But suddenly, something was twisting her magic, weaving sinister portents of doom into even the simplest of her spells. Then she knew for certain that her young sister Alix was soon to marry--and soon to die. And so she journeyed back to the family who had disowned her. To save her sister, Kyra would have to ...more
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published (first published March 2nd 1994)
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In many ways this book explores the same issue as Dragonsbane: a woman struggling with a choice between magic and love.

Kyra chose magic six years ago, sacrificing her relationship with her father and getting herself cast out of her family in the process, but now returns because visions have warned her that her younger sister Alix is soon to die. She must find out who has cursed Alix before her sister's wedding.

Again as with Dragonsbane, the worldbuilding is one of women primarily destined for ma
Kelley Ceccato
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin (PT)
I'm tempted to call this my favorite...except I'm honest enough to admit that my favorite Hambly books is whichever book I'm reading at the time. Even years after having read this for the first time, I'm always amazed at how clearly I can visualize the scenes of Stranger, and how, though it's a much read book, I can get completely engulfed in its world.

It also holds up well for me being older, hopefully wiser and more experienced than when I first read it (or even any of the many other times);
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy of manners and intrigue fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
This was not a very good book. The story is ok (sorceress needs to find out who wants to kill her sister at her wedding night without letting anyone know she's illegally using magic), but Hambly is overdoing it with the descriptions. Mind you, I'm not anti-description. But in this case, things get described that really have nothing to do with the story and that you don't really want to know. I'll give you a very small example:
She waited while Joblin fetched a silver crown and a few silver bits f
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this about 8 times now, still have to say that this is an emotionally draining book.

This book... what to say. There are parts of it that were hard to read from an emotional standpoint. I have a real difficulty with pedophiles, and there was one. I thought his end was vicious, however.

The story ending was well done, and the entire book shrieks that there are other stories to be told about this group.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
Strongly enjoyed this fantasy-of-manners with mystery elements. There's a lot that's (comfortably) familiar here - the strong-willed, not-traditionally-pretty young woman who threatens her family's social status with her unconventional attraction to danger/magic/adventure/etc. - but being an older work that pre-dates the popularity of this approach in YA Fantasy realm, it stays a bit more grounded than some other examples. Having the story jump into things well AFTER the initial events, so that ...more
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Rereading this for the fifth or sixth time and as always, I'm so taken by the way she can evoke a setting and make me feel cold, hot, terrified, whatever. Her writing is lush and yet precise. Sometimes she falls in love with a description too much and it gets convoluted and purple but it's still gorgeous.
Jun 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Barbara Hambly is good at her craft. This is really barely fantasy; mostly it's a detective story with a little romance thrown in.
Shaitarn .
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Six years ago, Kyra was cast out by her family, disowned because of her ability to use magic. About to take the final tests for master status, she receives the news that her younger sister is about to be married – and sees premonitions that she will die on her wedding night. She returns home, an unwelcome guest as far as her father is concerned, determined to do whatever she has to to save her beloved little sister.

This novel (also known as Stranger at the Wedding) is the fourth in the Windrose
T. K. Elliott (Tiffany)
This book takes place shortly after 'Dog Wizard', the third book in the Windrose Chronicles. However, it is not at all necessary to have read the preceding books; although this book takes place in the same universe and some of the characters are the same, the action centres around Kyra Peldyrin, known as Kyra the Red, who only gets about two lines in the previous books.

Kyra lives in a world where those who are born with the power of sorcery have the choice between a career as a 'dog-wizard' - ba
Stranger at the Wedding is a female led second world fantasy novel that I enjoyed but am unlikely to ever feel the urge to read again.

In the world of Stranger at the Wedding, wizards are feared and legislated against. The only protection is to join the Citadel, home of academically minded wizards who vow not to take part in the affairs of ordinary people. Kya is studying for her exams at the Citadel when she becomes aware of strange portents in her magic. She eventually figures out that her sist
This book takes place a couple years after Dog Wizard but is not precisely part of the Windrose Chronicles, as neither Antryg nor Joanna appear (nor are they even mentioned). It takes place entirely in Ferryth, and the main character is Kyra, a wizard mentioned in passing a few times in Dog Wizard. I would suspect that you can read it without having read the other three; the only difference it will make is how much worldbuilding you know beforehand.

I think I've only read this one once -- I would
Lindsey Duncan
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-fantasy
After Circle of the Moon, Barbara Hambly went on my probation list. After Stranger At The Wedding, she is officially off probation and back in my readerly good graces.

I found this an absorbing, entertaining and suspenseful tale of a sorceress who - expelled from her family six years ago for reasons that slowly unfold and are revealed to be more complex throughout the book - returns upon the eve of her sister's Alix wedding to determine who wants Alix dead. The world is realistic and well portray
This is the first Barbara Hambly novel I have read, and on the strength of it I doubt it will be my last. Her characters are likable, her world well-fleshed out, and the plot builds tension well and set up a fairly good climax and denoument.

However, it felt like there was a lot of chaff mixed in with the wheat of this story. It was told using a rather self-conscious mix of present-day action and flashbacks that advanced the plot -- a device which, while I don't object to it as a rule, is hard to
Kyra is a wizard in training in a world where wizardry is disreputable and even illegal, outside of her college; she's practicing for her upcoming exams when she has a vision of her younger sister dying on her wedding night. Kyra travels back home to the family that kicked her out years ago, to try to delay or prevent the wedding by any means necessary, at least until she can figure out who's trying to kill her sister and stop them. I'd seen a lot of descriptions of this book as a comedy, and we ...more
This is set in the same universe as The Silent Tower and The Silicon Mage, but has little in common with them otherwise (barring a couple of minor characters). Instead, it has to do with Kyra, a journeyman wizard at the Citadel of Wizards; while practicing for her tests, all of her spells seem to go wrong, and eventually she sees a frightening vision: the death of her younger sister, Alix, on her wedding night. She journeys home to face her family, who disowned her when she became a wizard, and ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't read so many of her other books before this one. I love Barbara Hambly's strong female characters as well as the worlds she builds, and I'm especially a fan of her Darwath and James Asher series as well as Benjamin January's mysteries and the standalone novels Search the Seven Hills and Bride of the Rat God.

Unfortunately, as with so many other authors, it's hard not to telegraph the story when you have a formula that works so well. In this
Dec 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, fantasy
The first two-thirds of this book are fairly typical for a fantasy novel: a woman with magic returns to the home she has been exiled from to save her sister from an ambiguous doom on her wedding day. Kyra goes through all of the rituals and motions of magic, while trying to hide from a community where it is outlawed. She has a chance to think about what her life would have been like if she had chosen her family over magic, and she finds herself falling in love with her sister's intended groom.

Katie Bee
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books-read
Kyra's a great character. This book is less substantial in the worldbuilding than the first two Windrose books - they've already done most of the heavy lifting, so there's no need - but it does shine a light into the merchant society of the Windrose world, which had previously been unexplored. The romance with Spens was well done, and the backstory with her former teacher was appropriately dreadful; you definitely see why mages are forbidden to meddle with the human world (even as the protagonis ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ms bookjunkie
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ms bookjunkie by: Jo Walton
Oh. Em. Gee! Excellent read!

It started off slow but promising, continued on with interesting, then began picking up pace and kept on getting more and more intriguing until I couldn't read fast enough to find out who was trying to kill Alix and why, and if the spell could be stopped. It also contains a satisfying surprise romance. Funny, compelling and totally absorbing. Love! Love love love!

This blog post is the reason I put it on my wishlist.
Jamie Collins
Aug 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Hambly is always a good read, and this is a nice standalone fantasy story about a witch who makes a surprise visit to her estranged family on the occasion of her sister’s wedding - because she’s had a premonition of tragedy on the wedding night.

What follows is mystery, comedy and romance as the heroine races to uncover a curse before the ridiculously elaborate wedding can take place.

I liked the characters and the world-building, but I was only mildly taken with the romance. Still, an entertainin
Kathy Davie
Well, it may be in the same series, but the only old characters mentioned are Salteris and Lady Rosamunde. Instead, we get an in-depth look at the merchant class of Hambly's world.

And, true to form, Hambly writes another excellent read. This particular story revolves around love. Love for one's family, the discovery of romantic love, the security of love, and, chillingly, the love of children.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Years later, I still remember this book and plan to read it again! (I think I have read it twice already.) I admit, I wasn't expecting the turn the story took toward the middle with her sister. I liked how magic was portrayed and used, and the way the world was setup. It was really cool how Barbara Hambly went into detail on some of the cultural traits, and how they tied into the plot. You don't see that very often.
Michelle Cristiani
A pleasant dose of fantasy. I loved hot the protagonist set up prejudice against the 'mageborn', how brides wear red, and the love interest I wouldn't have expected.

That said, it felt like I came in on something in progress. I often feel this way reading fantasy novels. But the magic use was sound and actually realistic: you can picture all of the spells. It would make for a great movie.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Kyra's father disowned her after her scandalous study of magic became public knowledge. After years with no contact with her family, she receives an invitation to her sister's wedding and has a premonition that her sister is in danger.

I loved the characters, but the plot and the structure of the book itself seemed awkward.
Andrew Smith
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
A favorite book, a comedy of manners and magic. I'm reading it for the third or fourth time on the rumour that Hambly is returning to this series. The story and dialogue has not got old and has enough in it to delight me and make me laugh. It's still a pleasure to read and stands on its own merits.
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ignore the terrible cover. This is an excellent, sophisticated book.

Kyra's magical studies are interrupted by premonitions of her sister's death. Determined to save her younger sister, Kyra returns to her merchant family's home, even though they killed her teacher and disowned her years before.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Maybe if I'd read some of the other books in the world first....seemed like there was something missing. However, I liked the character Kyra, and would probably read another book with her as a character...Light reading.
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...

Other Books in the Series

Windrose Chronicles (4 books)
  • The Silent Tower (Windrose Chronicles, #1)
  • The Silicon Mage (Windrose Chronicles, #2)
  • Dog Wizard (Windrose Chronicles, #3)