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The Wizard Hunters

(The Fall of Ile-Rien #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,003 ratings  ·  169 reviews
Once a fertile and prosperous land, Ile-Rien is under attack by the Gardier, a mysterious army whose storm-black airships appear from nowhere to strike without warning. Every weapon in the arsenal of Ile-Rien's revered wizards has proven useless.

And now the last hope of a magical realm under siege rests within a child's plaything.
Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 25th 2004 by Harper Voyager (first published May 13th 2003)
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T.M. White This book does follow some years after the events of The Death of the Necromancer. While it makes for a richer experience to read The Necromancer firs…moreThis book does follow some years after the events of The Death of the Necromancer. While it makes for a richer experience to read The Necromancer first, it's not exactly "necessary reading" for following the story in The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy.

Hope that helps!(less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  2,003 ratings  ·  169 reviews

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Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of history, fantasy, adventure, war stories, or witty dialogue
Those who read The Death of the Necromancer (related to this book, but not requisite for understanding it) will remember Vien as an urbane, prosperous city at the height of its power. From a cultural capital and political powerhouse, it has transformed in the space of only a few years as a mysterious and apparently unstoppable enemy reduces the city to ruins and its inhabitants to refugees.

Before the war, Tremaine was a successful playwright with a circle of entertaining arty friends. Now she v
Rachel Neumeier
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Okay the first thing to know is: If you’re starting THE WIZARD HUNTERS and you’re not sure you like it? Read at least three or four chapters before you decide.

The Characters:

We have a third-person divided pov structure, Tremaine in a world with the flavor of, say, mid-1800s England; and Ilias in a very different world that doesn’t map terribly well onto any real historical era I can think of but is much less technologically advanced. It’s important that you wait for the two plotlines to converge
Para (wanderer)
Initially picked up because of the Bingo challenge, I hoped this would be a good fit for a difficult square. And while the world is interesting, I found the The Wizard Hunters boring almost to the point of DNFing it. I have no idea why I persisted.

The book is initially split into two storylines. In the first, Tremaine, a playwright, is contacted by a group of sorcerers because she possesses the last magical sphere that could help Ile-Rien in the war against Gardier, a nation of people who attack
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship by: Kate Elliott
Warning: slight spoilers below. But stuff I’d have wanted to know.

An obscure epic fantasy that came highly recommended (by Kate Elliott, for instance. I like her books and the way she talks about books, particularly the social consciousness with which she reads, but I have to stop taking her fantasy recs. They’ve ranged from so-so at best – Daggerspell, Banner of the Damned – to unreadable at worst – Irons in the Fire, bleh). But in the end this bored me so much I took nearly a month to finish
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
this is actually a review of the trilogy, comprised of the wizard hunters, the ships of air, and the gate of gods. i think that you could probably read the later books without having read previous books and get filled in enough to comprehend what's happening, but don't do that. start at the beginning, even though the first book starts slowly, and enjoy spending time in this place with these people.

ile-rien is the world where several other of wells' books are set, so if you've read her other book
Just A. Bean
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thirty (or so) years have passed since the previous book, and much has changed in Ile-Rien. For one, the technology has jumped form mid-19th century to early 1930s (I noticed that the tech advance in Ile-Rien is a lot faster than in our world, but magic may have something to do with that). Most of the main character of the previous book are missing, absent or dead. Ile-Rien has been losing a war for about three years.

In the middle of all this, two sets of characters from two different worlds com
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A steam-punk action-adventure tale set in the city of a previous series by Wells. This/these stories are independent. Strong, independent but not-yet self-assured female lead. Excellent story telling.

Early Wells work. Her voice has improved since. Still, fans of her Murderbot series may be disappointed that the self-depreciating humor and snarky inner dialogue of Murderbot aren’t there.

Unfortunately, I lost my notes, and while this is a good story I’m not inclined to re-read it just to pepper my
Robo Ric
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Hardcore Wells' fans
Martha Wells is one of my favorite writers. Her ability to create entire new worlds and, in particular, beings and societies, is amazing. She's very detailed and always displays great imagination. That being said, this trilogy was the first time I had trouble finishing one of her books.

Minor plot description: We've got Ile-Rien, a world technologically set in about the 1930s, except without airplanes or cannons. They also have magic. They are in a war with a mysterious race called the Gardier wh
Oct 10, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a VERY different fantasy. Almost a steampunk fantasy, because the magic is worked by means of mechanical doohickeys. In one of the universes of this story. This story crosses multiple universes. Two, anyway, with a probable third. The heroine's world is at war with these technologically advanced magic haters that fly in blimps and fry the magical instruments of her world. The hero lives in a completely different universe where ALL wizards are evil, and all magic spells are curses. He's a ...more
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I do love this trilogy with a passion.
Hannah Ringler
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This review is for the entire series, and contains spoilers.

Ile-Rien is under siege. Blackouts and bombings wrack the city of Vienne. But Tremaine Valiarde has something else on her mind: how can she kill herself most effectively, without causing problems for anyone else? When her guardian turns up, asking for her help with a dangerous spell, Tremaine leaps at the opportunity. Instead of killing her, though, the spell drops her in a strange new world, which just may hold the secret to saving her
First posted here

The land of Ile-Rien is under attack by the seemingly invincible Gardier, who use their black airships to destroy, then seemingly disappear. The Gardier also somehow have the ability to block all the magic the Ile-Rien have for protection, and they also have a magic of their own that destroyed mechanized weapons.

Invincible army, one person holds an object of power, a person may wonder why I even cracked the cover of what seems like a very trite read. I admit at times in the book
Micah Goettl
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler-Free Review (I think . . .)

The story opened with a killer hook. What a fantastic opening line! It drew me in and introduced the heroine really well. Tremaine is an interesting character, full of delicious dichotomies. I love her moments of vulnerability because the rest of the time she's as tough as they come, but not with the kick-butt charisma of some other tough characters. She's so awkward. Ilias is strong with a good sense of humor; Giliead is protective and uncomfortable with the
Fantasy/magic with a dose of steampunk. Readers searching for something slightly different in fantasy may be pleased here.

Some folks might call this a SciFi story; I'd say that's a huge stretch (magic & spells + wizards + magical creatures = pure fantasy). Tossing in a few traditional weapons and dirigibles doesn't make it SciFi.

It varied from 1.75 to 3+ stars for me, with the best parts being those that followed Tremaine and Florian. So let's call it 2.75 stars for me--but I think many fantasy
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've committed to trying to give more word reviews instead of my typical stars, including going back and writing reviews as I re-read anything I've already read.

The Wizard Hunters is a book I frequently re-read. It's always loaded on my nook, although the first time I read it, it was a paperback version I picked up in a used book store. My usual used bookstore bookcheck involves picking out something with a title or cover that draws me in, reading the back or the inside flap, and then reading on
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Martha Wells has more imagination and more heart than any other 12 authors put together. (Unless you're exceptionally persnickety about which authors you pick and the list includes a lot of names like "Pratchett," "Dunnett," and "Bujold.)"

She creates the most breath-taking and ambitious, and also enjoyable, worlds. In the Raksura books, she created the best tree-houses ever. Here, she reminagines World War II and the London Blitz, being sure to incorporate world-travel and a gorgeous cruise ship
Jun 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mannerpunk
Dammit, Wells! Her first book was excellent, her second was good, her third was terrible and this, her fourth, is only passably good. The story starts with the main character trying to kill herself. She’s sarcastic about the reasoning behind her suicide, which really endeared her to me; unfortunately, I didn't like the character that much for the rest of the novel. Wells excels at constructing theories of magic and dealing with the ensuing complications, and the novel itself is set in a magical ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved the prequel, The Death of the Necromancer, but it took me a while to settle into this story. But once I did, it worked for me - well, strong fantasy with a subtle romance would obviously tick all my boxes. This was written almost ten years ago, and I thought its age showed slightly, but overall, good read.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very, very rough start -- it's like a crossover event with two series you haven't read before. But if you can get past the first couple of chapters it starts to flow much more smoothly, making for an interesting book. Not really Wells's best (that would be the Death of the Necromancer), but good all the same. ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
Read this for my old book group. I liked it quite a bit at the time, it was an intriguing high fantasy, but now I don't really remember the details much. It's something that I would recommend, though, and that I'd pick up again if was in a mood for high fantasy. ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In case you're wondering how into this series I am, I definitely almost chanted "OT3! OT3!" out loud at more than one point. (I for sure did it in my head.) ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
My favourite of her novels thus far.

I love her heroine. I love the opening. It's just what I wanted to read.
Tim Hicks
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
So here we are, 14 years before Murderbot 1. Wells has a few books under her belt, and we have #1 of a trilogy.

It's a fairly standard alternate-world magic-and-soldiers adventure, but some things stand out and suggest that this author's going to rise above the others eventually.

Tremaine, for one. She's plucky, but doesn't start out that way, and as she grows into her power and confidence, her own opinion of herself lags behind her achievements. She'll be a good one to carry into subsequent vol
Jun 16, 2020 marked it as couldnt-get-into
I felt like I'd gone to a party where I didn't know anyone and knew nothing of the people they were talking about. Maybe you have to read a different series before reading this one? Disappointing, after my liking the murderbot books so well. ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m sorely tempted to poke fun at all the eyebrow action going on in this book, but that would be ungrateful of me. This was a very entertaining read that kept me hooked until the end, with a nice wrap-up that left me satisfied enough to wait several hours before starting on the sequel.

This is the first book I remember with an unlikeable main character that I still found interesting to read about. It helps that Tremaine doesn’t like herself for many of the same reasons I don’t like her. It made
Nicole Luiken
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, sf-fantasy
Reading this ate up most of yesterday. I was hooked from the first line. Great adventure story with lots of twists and cool magic reveals. I'll be buying book two soon! ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
My favorite under-rated character might be the Sphere itself. This book is so much fun, now I need to read the sequel. Because the world needs more of this sort of team co-operation and girls who are encouraged to be the winning-est winners on the team. Also a bit of respect for a very different worldview goes such a long way for a cheering read in these times.
William Leight
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
As might be expected from the first in a trilogy, “The Wizard Hunters” has a lot of setup in it, but Wells prevents this from dragging by deploying the backstory in the form of a series of unfolding revelations. Depressed, bohemian playwright Tremaine Valiarde (our heroine) is not what she seems: her father Nicolas was an adventurer and master criminal, and Tremaine’s unusual background has given her some unexpected skills and attitudes. The mild-mannered, scholarly wizard Gerard, being a former ...more
I went back and forth on whether I wanted to rate this one 3 or 4 stars. I did get what wanted out of it, which was an engaging and not overly-heavy adventure story, but I don't think I'd come back to it, and I'm not in a huge hurry to read the sequels. Tremaine and Ilias are great characters, but most of the secondary characters feel less developed. The setting of Ile-Rien is an unusual one for fantasy, but we don't get a lot of time to explore it outside of Tremaine's memories. Meanwhile the c ...more
Lindsay Stares
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Premise: Tremaine lives in a world at war. Her home, the nation of Ile-Rien, has been besiged for years by the people known to them as the Gardier. They come in airships to bomb the cities, can disable engines and mechanisms from afar, and nothing Rien's highly educated sorcerers have come up with has been able to defend them. Somewhere both close and very far away, Ilias and Giliead live in a fishing village. There are indications that a wizard may be operating on the Isle of Storms, and they g ...more
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Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hug ...more

Other books in the series

The Fall of Ile-Rien (3 books)
  • The Ships of Air (The Fall of Ile-Rien, #2)
  • The Gate of Gods (The Fall of Ile-Rien, #3)

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