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The Wysman

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"The Grabber is just a fright tale."

Former street kid Jarka was born with a crooked foot and uses a crutch, but that no longer matters now that he's an apprentice Wysman, training to advise the king. When poor kids start to go missing from the city's streets, though, Jarka suspects that whatever's causing the disappearances comes from the castle.

Now he needs to watch his step or risk losing the position he fought so hard to win... but when someone close to him becomes the latest victim, Jarka knows he's running out of time.

His search takes him from diving into ancient history to standing up to those who want to beat or bleed the magic out of him. Will Jarka succeed in uncovering an evil long-hidden, or will he see friends and family vanish into the darkness? And whose side is the King on, in his determination to bind his nobles to him no matter what black arts they've dabbled in? If Jarka fails in his search, his own future won't be the worst thing lost.

The Wysman follows Jarka after the events in The Wind Reader, but this YA Fantasy can be read independently.

300 pages, Paperback

Published June 27, 2020

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About the author

Dorothy A. Winsor

11 books46 followers
Dorothy A. Winsor is originally from Detroit but now lives near Chicago. For about a dozen years, she taught technical writing at Iowa State University and served as the editor of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication. Before that, she taught for ten years at GMI Engineering & Management Institute (now Kettering). She's won six national awards for outstanding research on the communication practices of engineers. She lives with her husband, who engineers tractors, and has one son, the person who first introduced her to the pleasure of reading fantasy. Her novels include The Wysman (2020), The Wind Reader (2018), Deep as a Tomb (2016), and Finders Keepers (2015),

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Lu .
343 reviews34 followers
June 28, 2020
First of all I wanted to thank Inspired Quill for the chance to read this book in exchange of an honest review.

TW: abusive behaviour, beating, death

Jarka is a former street kid, born with a crooked foot, but with the peculiar ability of reading the Wind. He's able to have vision, interpret them and,in doing so, helping the king, since he's training to advise him, under Adrya's, the King's right hand woman, supervision. Away from the hard street life, Jarka finds himself involved again in it when street kids start disappearing and he suspects the danger may come from the castle. When one of the kids he saved from the streets ends up getting hurt, Jarka is determined to catch and stop the culprit, even if it means getting involved in politcs, plottings and deciding to stand up for himself...even if it means losing his position at the castle.

The Wysman is a YA fantasy novel with a disabled main character, who is impossible not to love. Forced to use a crutch for his crooked foot, bullied because of his past and tormented by childhood traumas and abusive relatives, Jarka is a very interesting and complex character. He's shrewd and his living on the streets taught him to be wary and careful, above of all when the power dynamics of the castle start to resemble those on the streets, in a plot full of mysteries, lies, plottings and where he finds himself involved, fighting to understand what's happening. He's able to grow, to fight against his fear and standing up for himself and those he loves.

The novel mixes elemental powers and politics. Jarka can read the wind and he's choosen to do it, he's training with Adrya, an interesting and stubborn character, mysterious and powerful at the King's side. Even though Jarka now lives in the castle he can't forget about his cousin Lyssa and her kid Izzy, who took care of him, until her husband beat him and forced him to leave. Torn between his love for them and the fear of her husband, Jarka is struggling to save the situation, further complicated by the kids' disappeareance and his suspicions toward a mysterious and suspected family.

Although Jarka sticks out in the novel because he's a fantastic main character, with a golden heart, stubborness, loyalty and the desire of fighting for his people against the rich's greed and powers, the side characters are very well written too. Besides Adrya, Ellyn and Lineth are captivating and complex. Lineth is a lady, daughter of a traitor and for that treated badly in the castle by the nobility and, at the same time, a brilliant and stubborn woman, who decided to run a refuge for homeless kids, helped by a young lady called Ellyn, with a troubled past and every reason to help Jarka stop the kids' disappereances.

In the novel both poor and rich struggles are underlined. Through Lyssa's eyes, forced to live with an abusive husband, the difficulty of get by, above all when the struggling one is a woman. Through Timur's, the same struggle, because of his granny's abuse and the difficulty of finding another place to live.
Jarka is right in the middle. Aware of the poor's struggles, able to gain a better life through his talent and shrewdness and willing to help those stuck in the city's "undergrounds", through the refuge, by lending an hand to Timur and Lyssa, by trying to protect them and the kids.

At the same time, the reader is able to see the castle's politics and the King's moves, who is trying to bind the nobles to him, by granting alliances, keeping eyes on them, moving his subjects like chess pieces', willing to overlook unspeakable evil to balance the powers and protect the kingdom.
The Stonebridge's situation highlighted a family's greed and violence at the expense of poor people, not considered by them, but seen only as a mean to get something.

One of the thing I found interesting is the stubborness and the willingness of the female characters of not letting others putting them in boxes. Daughter of a traitor, treated badly or shunned for a crime she didn't commit, Lineth is fabulous character, loyal, loving, sincere and fierce, able to stand up for herself and her love for Beran, the king's son. At the same time Adrya is a shrewd character, manipulative and full of secrets, loyal and powerful. Ellyn, even though she's scared of Jarka's powers, is willing to do anything to find the truth and the culprit, defending herself and those she loves.
Aware of this chess game, where the poor are usually victims of the powerful, Jarka is willing to risk everything to do the right thing, even losing everything he gained.

The elemental powers, the diving into ancient history, the secret passages, everything was really captivating and I devoured this book.
I recommend The Wysman to those willing to lose themselves in a captivating read, an interesting investigation, with complex, well written and thrilling characters.
June 26, 2020
Thank you to Inspired Quill for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.

Earlier this year I read The Wind Reader and enjoyed it. Recently the publisher reached out to me to ask if I wanted to read and review the sequel to it. And of course I wanted that.

The Wysman follows Jarka, one of the side characters of The Wind Reader, after the end of the previously mentioned books. Jarka is an actual wind reader and for that reason he has been taken on as an apprentice to the king’s Wysman. To learn how to be one for the prince when he becomes king. While that was the reason he was taken on many look down on him for his abilities.

I thought it was interesting to get to know the Wysman better in this book and to see more of Jarka’s inner workings. It is also good to get Jarka as an mc as he is disabled. He uses a crutch to move around. There is lot of ableism surrounding him. Guards kick his crutch away and never seem to see him as ‘ full’ . He also has some internalized ableism when he thinks about how a girl would never want a lame like him. I wish that had been challenged more on the page at the end. But regardless he was our hero and that was a good thing.

All the big side characters are female. Lineth, a lady who lives at court and who started up a orphanage. Adrya, the Wysman. Ellyn who works at the orphanage. Lineth is so great to have as she is so kind while Adrya as an older woman and knowing what Jarka still has to face tries to rule him with an iron fist.

The Wysman can be read as a standalone. It tries its best not to refer too much to the happenings in The Wind Reader. While you don’ t nessecarily need to read it to understand this book it does explain some things. Lineth’s father being a traitor, Jarka having met the prince. Things the book doesn’t quite elaborate on.
Profile Image for Ilana Costello (patel).
145 reviews2 followers
June 9, 2020
This story is a fantastic tale! It includes the struggles of both the poor and the royalty, an interesting form of elemental magic, entrancing characters, and more! I definitely suggest this for those looking for a touch of adventure.
Profile Image for Anne Goodwin.
Author 11 books56 followers
June 18, 2020
With a finely-crafted story, an endearingly flawed central character – and extra points for featuring someone with a disability – and pitch-perfect prose, it’s a lovely novel to escape into for both young readers and … not so young.
Profile Image for Cristina.
234 reviews8 followers
June 17, 2020
Thank you Inspired Quill for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Jarka is a wind reader- he has the ability to use elemental powers to receive feelings, or visions, from the wind by using a special runed box. For this ability, the former crippled street kid has been taken into the castle as an apprentice Wysman, one who will help advise the future king.
We meet Jarka during his apprenticeship, and the book opens with him getting a vision about something bad happening to a child. Ever the street kid at heart, he continues to champion for their safety and care during his new apprenticeship to Adrya, the current Wyswoman. Jarka gave the idea to Lady Lenith, who’s fallen out of court favor due to her traitorous father, to open a refuge for orphans on castle grounds. Two children from the refuge swear they’ve seen “The Grabber,” a mythical figure from a children’s story who steals children. As poor street kids start to go missing, Jarka is convinced someone from the castle is The Grabber, and is harming them, but who?

The author creates a lot of suspense in this YA mystical “whodunit?” Jarka acts as the detective, knowing full well that he may lose his newly acquired position in the process. There are many twists and turns in the plot, even with Jarka mainly focused on one person, he still is weary that others around him may be the The Grabber.

It was a quick read, and I enjoyed it! We come into the book after an interesting back story about several main characters, but enough information is given about this world that it’s easy to delve right in. I would recommend this book to adults, young adults, and also to other parents looking for a younger YA recommendation because it doesn’t have strong sexual content. Even though there is a scene with child abuse violence (Jarka, 15, is punched by his cousin’s husband, and he mentions it was done before when he lived with them), I think the morals and lessons will resonate well with younger audiences.
Profile Image for Meredith.
2 reviews
June 17, 2020
I was sent this book for an honest review on behalf of Inspired Quill.

As a middle school educator I strive to find books with a-typical characters and furthermore, characters that my students' with all their struggles and imperfections can relate to. I was delighted the author chose to make the main character, Jarka, disabled and has grown up with his fair share of struggles. Yet, despite these struggles Jarka is resilient and does not let his past or his disability stop him from achieving what needs to be done.

This is a fantasy YA novel with engaging elements of magic that I have not read in mainstream YA literature. I found the plot with it's several conflicts to be unique and suspenseful and I couldn't stop revising my predictions over the mysteries that unfold. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy YA fantasy, magical elements, mysteries or students who might have endured some form of physical disability or abuse.
Profile Image for Kelly.
180 reviews6 followers
June 28, 2020
A huge thank you to Brigid at Inspired Quill for the Advanced Release Copy in exchange for my honest review.

I am a very avid reader. Okay, serious addict is probably more accurate. Out of all the books that I read in a year, very rarely do you get a main character that has a physical disability. Generally they are the trusty sidekick or the best friend but never the main character. As someone who has had a physical disability that has impacted my walking my entire life, this was such a refreshing change.

Jarka is a very complex character that is not defined by his disability at all. He is a very lovable character that is easy to route for. You also see his incredible strength as he helps to solve the mystery of missing kids.

The use of magic is interwoven seamlessly throughout the story. There is also an interesting juxtaposition between the stigma surrounding the use of magic and the stigma that is often faced by the disabled (and other minority groups).

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it, especially to those who like a good mystery as well. While technically it is a Young Adult book, I do feel that some of the themes and nuances are better for adults.
June 22, 2020
Thank you to Inspired Quill for the Arc in exchange for an honest review.

This was a quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The hero of our story, Jarka, was extremely likable, even as a poor, handicapped boy he retained compassion for others. After Jarka was elevated to a position of power in the castle, he didn’t forget the children still living on the streets.

I love the concept of Wind Reading! This book had mystery, suspense, a castle and a tale of a Grabber after the street children. I would recommend this to middle school readers and parents who read aloud to their children still as it encounters bullying, judging others by status and looks and kidnapping, all easy to approach topics while reading this story with children.

I look forward to more from this author.
Profile Image for MagicReads.
98 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2020
I was sent this book for an honest review on behalf of Inspired Quill.

I found this book an enjoyable read. It was a little bit slow at the start but it did pick up. The story covers the struggles of both poor and royalty. I loved the elemental magic that was included, I enjoyed getting to know the different characters. It was also refreshing to read that the main character had a disability. I recommend this book if your a fan of fantasy.
Profile Image for Lightening.
544 reviews
June 30, 2020
This story is wonderful! It’s got fantastic world building, suspense, royalty and magic. The characters are very engaging and you can’t help but root for them. I love seeing disabled characters, I feel like it’s very powerful to see someone that isn’t whole or perfect. The female characters are also so amazing in their own way. They’re so strong and powerful. My favorite part was that it was a stand-alone. I feel like there aren’t enough YA fantasy stand-alone books. It’s a wonderful, easy to get into fantasy!
Profile Image for Samantha.
25 reviews
June 27, 2020
In a time of kings and advisors, Jarka must figure out who is harming children in the castle while maintaining his duties to become a Wysman. This fantastic tale kept my attention and had me puzzled until the end. With a mix of magic, determination and compassion, this book is very much worth the read.

The world needs more books with main characters who are fierce like Jarka, but also human in that they have disabilities. A story in which the reader can relate is a story that they will carry with them and share with others.

A special thank you to the author, Inspired Quill, and their wonderful marketing intern for the opportunity to read and review this arc. I cannot wait to add this to my shelves!
2 reviews
June 28, 2020
When I first learned of this book I was pleased to see that the main character is a character with a disability. It’s nice to see a main character that isn’t the stereotypical hero.
I really enjoyed the plot line and twists the story took and found I didn’t want to put it down!
This is a great story with characters that have depth to them, subtle morals with realistic thoughts and challenges, all mixed into a fun fantasy. I definitely recommend this book!
Profile Image for WriteRenee.
74 reviews
June 26, 2020
I was supplied an e-ARC of this book by the publisher for an honest review.

Review may contain light spoilers

Quick Overview: The book is okay. Not good, not bad, but an okay read for the intended audience. A hard to follow protagonist, but not a harmful one.

Full Review: I wanted to like this book; I really did. The premise was right up my alley and I have a few middle-grade stories that continue to hold a home on my shelf.
So, it was disappointing when I didn’t.

It is not a bad book – I’ve certainly struggled and failed to read much worse – but it’s not a good one either. The primary problem is that the protagonist (Jarka) is difficult to want to root for and since Winsor opted to use first person POV, we spend the entire book in the hard-to-root-for protagonist.

As a protagonist, Jarka is borderline bearable. He pities himself endlessly, keeps repeating how hard he had it, always thinks he’s right, and is stubborn to a fault. I don’t hate him, but I certainly wish we didn’t have to stay in his head the whole story.

Jarka’s motivations falter as well, possibly for the sake of progressing the story - but it’s hard to tell because he seems to lose focus on things quickly. In the prime example, despite Winsor taking the time to establish that Jarka cares about his cousins and street kids and that he wants to use whatever power he might have in his position to help them, he easily and suddenly disregards the possibility of their mortal danger when they are minor distractions to his weakly motivated vengeance.

The POV also offers a problem with the world building. Because we can only see things from Jarka’s perspective, we only get his impressions of the side characters and the world, which is generally superficial. His mentor is a strict, old, wise woman; his friend is a scrappy street kid; his cousin is dumb, weak girl stuck in an abusive relationship; the king is pompous and cold; the palace is full of wealthy spoiled people. In the same vein, the world appears only as big as what Jarka sees which primarily consists of the palace courtyard, his room and the library. It made the world feel stiflingly small considering the supposed large scale.

Outside of this, Winsor’s writing is okay – a casual conversational style that fits well with the narrator’s voice. It was easy to breeze through and fine to read while in transit. I think this book could be okay for the intended audience.

I don’t normally judge books by their audience – a good book can be good for any age group – but in this case, I think my age and reading experience may have lead to my struggle to enjoy this. I think a reader closer to Jarka’s age and thinking would think the same as the character and would not be as annoyed.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
139 reviews16 followers
July 12, 2020
An Unexpected Protagonist: The Wysman by Dorothy Winsor

*** Thank you Inspired Quill for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.***

Just the facts:
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time. (I ignored the hubby and puppies during the last few chapters.)
Believe-ability: The setting is believable.

I was looking for a different read when the opportunity to read The Wysman by Dorothy Winsor came up. I was intrigued by a differently abled protagonist, so I said to yes to the book!

What I liked:
• Jarka is an unlikely protagonist, because he is a street kid with a lame foot who uses a crutch. This reminds me of Peadar Ó Guilín's The Call where the protagonist uses crutches.
• I enjoyed the mystery she presented. There were enough clues to for the reader to solve it first or enjoy Jarka’s discovery of the truth.
• Winsor does a good job of developing the characters and playing with “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Because of his disability and life circumstances, Jarka is able to see people’s true nature.
• Ellyn is one of the overseers of the children’s refuge, and she carries a knife on her belt. I love this fierceness of her character and that Jarka admires her for it too.
• A Wysman’s job is to advise the king. In Adrya and Jarka’s discussions, the reader can see the tension between doing what is best for the whole kingdom vs the individual. Winsor also raises the question of duty vs happiness. Can anyone have both? Lyssa marries Clovyan to provide for her daughter, yet her husband is a monster. Prince Beran and Lineth want to marry, but marrying off Lineth would create a valuable ally for the kingdom.
• The ending was satisfactory as the wrong-doers must live with the consequences of their actions as doled out by the Powers.
• The following passage reminds me of finding the good in tribulation. What might seem as a curse can often be a blessing as circumstances create growth and bring blessings. “I had a sudden, vivid memory of my mother telling me my crooked foot was a gift from the Powers, a challenge that would make me a deeper person who saw the world more truly. I could read the wind, compensation from the Powers for what they’d withheld. I wondered if I could persuade Lineth to see her father’s treachery as a gift. It was a gift for the kids at the refuge, for sure.”

What I disliked:
• I believed Jarka was a distrustful, street kid, but I did not believe he was male.
• Winsor did a good job of developing the characters of Jarka, Lineth, and Ellyn. Developing Adrya’s character would have added more fullness to the story. It would be assumed that Adrya was trustworthy because Jarka was her apprentice. Yet, there is constant tension. Is this because Jarka distrusts everyone?

Final Thoughts:
• This was an interesting read. When I first started the book, I was intrigued by some of the life questions Winsor explores. I found myself somewhat impatient as the mystery seemed to spiral without an ending in sight. The last few chapters were exciting, and I read it quickly. The ending was satisfactory with room to expand or close the story.

This review is also published on my blog: https://apocalypsereads.blogspot.com/...
1 review
June 25, 2020
Just one of the positive words I’d use to describe The Wysman is “refreshing.” Winsor provides a lot of unique plot points in her book, right from Jarka’s unique abilities to his disabilities. And on that second note I found myself really appreciative of Winsor’s work. Often – especially in movies, but plenty of times in books – a character can be injured or have some condition that’s only their nominally, without having any meaningful impact. As someone who has a disability of her own, I really clap my hands to how Winsor nailed the balance I’d been yearning for for so long: a trait is present and shapes the character but doesn’t define him, but is simply like his eye color. It resonates with a lifetime spent with vision problems; it’s there, but you work around it. But that doesn’t make the effects any less present.

The Wysman also provides a great example of engaging pacing. Things kick off right away, and that’s great, because the premise alone had me wanting answers. Actually, the premise alone really tugs at the heartstrings and makes us all ask questions of what we would do in a similar situation as Jarka. The Wysman is a book that follows some points we’ve seen before but frames everything in a way that has us asking questions about ourselves and life, and definitely provokes some thoughtful discussion. I’ll be recommending it to my bookworm friends who are hungry for something unique. For them, as older readers, it’ll provide a fast-paced, engaging change of pace. For younger readers, it’ll provide the same, but with some important lessons that were pretty organically incorporated. In summary, The Wysman perfectly navigates the balance of presenting a disability, gives readers a fast-paced trip through a unique world, and offers familiar points experienced readers can recognize but successfully provokes important talks about our own world. Maybe reality isn’t so different from fantasy after all…
June 26, 2020
Wysman is a compelling piece full of mysteries, intrigue, court scandals, love triangles, and suspense.
The main character is very relatable and one you can’t help but root for. A wind reader studying to become a Wysman, who has a heart of gold and cares for those around him, especially his loved ones, Jarka is fierce and bold when he finds a cause worth fighting for, a supporter of the weak and down trodden, and empathetic to those less fortunate.
Backed by amazing friends: Ellyn, a girl with a traumatic past, dangerous, brazen, and stilted, on first impression, but fiercely loyal.
Lineth, a mysterious, elegant, wraith like noble, whose family was disgraced by a traitorous act, yet very confident and passionate when called upon to stand up for what she believes.
Timur, a street kid with a wary, yet spunky attitude, full of mischief and charm.
The, round, authentic, realistic way the characters act keeps you turning page after page, eager to know what happens next.
Wysman is a book you don’t want to put down at night, whose actors show up in you dreams, waking thoughts, and at random times during the day, people who you want at your side and as your friends, it’s hard to say goodbye and head to reality when other duties call.
The voice of the story is contemplative, partly living in Jarka’s head and partly showing through action and events opening before us, soothing, like water rippling off smoothed stones worn down over time. Beautiful, and elegant, and engaging.
Though predictable at times, there is still enough intrigue and twists to cause one to second guess their instincts. It leaves on a slight cliff hanger, causing one to wonder if there’s a sequel; and secretly wanting there to be one
Profile Image for Boston Lavoie.
18 reviews
June 28, 2020
First of all I want to thank Inspired Quill for the early read of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The books main character is Jarka, he is a wind reader and has the ability to use elemental powers to receive feelings, or visions, from the wind by using a special runed box. Due to his ability, he is taken into the castle as an apprentice Wysman, one who will help advise the future king. The book first introduces us to Jarka during his apprenticeship, and the book opens with him getting a vision about something bad happening to a child. Because he comes from the streets he becomes a hero looking out for the safety of children still on the street. Jarka gave the idea to Lady Lenith, who’s fallen out of court favor due to her traitorous father, to open a refuge for orphans on castle grounds. Two children from the refuge swear they’ve seen “The Grabber,” a mythical figure from a children’s story who steals children. As street kids begin to go missing, Jarka is believes someone from the castle is The Grabber. The story is filled with suspense and mystery as Jarka takes on the role of a detective trying desperately to find out who is taking the street kids. Jarka does this even knowing that it could end costing him his new position. The story takes us through many twists and turns, which really keeps the reader engaged from start to finish. I found the story was quick, but kept the pace nicely. A lot of information of given of the several main characters to interest the reader in their roles in the story. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an adventure and mystery fantasy. I think many young and adult alike will be able to find something in this book that relates to them. It's a great read.
78 reviews12 followers
June 18, 2020

I very much enjoyed The Wysman and Winsor's writing. The description says that this book takes place in the same world as The Wind Reader but reads as a stand-alone, and this is very much true; at no time did I feel like I was missing something by not having read the previous book (but I enjoyed this one quite a bit, so I will be going back to see what I missed in The Wind Reader.)

I will say that the magic in this book is light, and although magic runs through the story and major plot points, the book doesn't go into the magic system in much depth (perhaps some of that was established in The Wind Reader). As it is, this book reads more like a mystery with magic woven in.

The book is a fairly short, quick read. The short length isn't necessarily a disservice to it, but it may contribute to making the plot feel a bit predictable, as there aren't many turns to take. I wouldn't have minded some more time taken in the world, in the plot, and with these characters. However, Winsor is smart and effective with words, so the story is still effective and full of character.

Jarka is a character I enjoyed reading and rooting for. His crooked foot and need for a crutch were woven nicely into the story (IMO, as someone without such a condition); while it was certainly called to throughout the text, it felt natural and not overly used to make it his only defining characteristic. I also enjoyed the cast of characters around Jarka, and though some characters felt a bit flat (rather short book), I was easily invested in the main cast.

Thank you to Inspired Quill for a review arc. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Dina E.
91 reviews4 followers
June 28, 2020
Jarka, the protagonist of the story, is a former street kid, born with a crooked foot and the ability to read the wind. He's in training to become the king's advisor by interpreting the winds, like his mentor Adrya, the king's right woman. When street kids start disappearing Jarka involves himself in the harsh life of street kids and is determined to find the culprit. Even if it means losing his position.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The protagonist is disabled and is impossible not to love. He is shrewd and caring, and fights for justice. The side characters were also very interesting to read. Adrya, though stubborn and sometimes blind to the poorer sections of the kingdom, does what she thinks is best for the majority and stands by it. Lineth, a lady and the daughter of a traitor and is treated badly for it but is a generous and caring woman. Ellyn has a troubled past that is connected to the current disappearances. The novel highlights the struggles of the both the rich and poor. Lyssa, being forced to live with an abusive husband to put food on the table for her and Izzy, her daughter, and Lineth, who is tarnished by her father's reputation and longs to marry prince Beran but does not have the king's approval. Jarka is caught in the middle, he is aware of the poor's struggle and yet sees the hidden world of the nobility. I loved how the female characters refused to be put into boxes. The mix of politics and elemental powers was amazing and I highly recommend The Wysman.
Profile Image for Ambrosia Blasier-McCollum.
18 reviews2 followers
June 28, 2020
This is such a phenomenal book! The story was engaging from start to finish, with a mystery that keeps you guessing. The world is beautifully developed, and the magic system unique. What really impressed me, though, were the characters. Jarka, the hero of the story, is a young magic worker with a disability. I can think of very few YA fantasy books that center around a disabled main character, and none that handled it so skillfully. I don't know what it's like to be a young man with a club foot, but I do know what it's like to be a young woman with scoliosis, and I was honestly surprised to find that the writer, who so clearly articulated my experience, was able-bodied. Writers aiming for inclusivity; take notes from this author. Likewise, I enjoyed the way the women of the book were written. The were self-assured without being hotheaded, and very relatable.

As a lover of YA fantasy, I read stories to be entertained. As a mother, I read these same stories and think about what messages my daughter or her friends may take away from them. The Wysman is one of the rare books that passes both of these criteria with flying colors. It does venture into some darker subjects, but not in any way that is gratuitous or explicit. I actually feel this is a good thing, as it helps create empathy for people in the unfortunate situations described. Whether you just like a good story, or have a young person in your life that could use some good influences, I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Sharon.
6 reviews
June 11, 2020
Book Release Date: June 17, 2020 Read/reviewed as ARC

The Wysman is a young adult fantasy with a who done it plot line. The main character is an older teenager who walks with a crutch due to a physical limitation. He is in training as an apprentice to become the next King’s advisor. I really enjoyed this read. It read fast, with the story and plot moving at a steady pace. The first few chapters are used to understand the world’s background, character traits of the main players and give the reader situational awareness of the issues the book will use throughout the story line. I finished this in one setting. The author really focuses on the reader connecting with the main character, having us cheer for him from the start of the book until the end. I would recommend this read to young adults aged 13+. I believe a young reader will enjoy figuring out all the mysteries presented in this story. An older/advanced reader will find it easier to predict the characters actions and plot developments throughout. I will note, themes of abusive behavior do run throughout the story as the main character struggles with memories of childhood abuse. No foul language or sexual situations are present in this read. Overall, I would read this again and recommend it to young readers. This would also make a great light read before bed. Especially if you are looking for books with male main characters or a main character that has to adapt with physical limitations, this is a must read!
June 27, 2020
I want to thank Inspired Quill for the chance to read this title in exchange for an honest review.

Jarka is a disabled teen who has the incredible ability to read the wind. In doing so, he is given information that is meant to help him in the future. This has given him the chance to hold a position in the castle walls working for the king. After discovering that two children have gone missing from the refuge go missing, Jarka takes it upon himself to find them and in the process finds much more than he bargained for. After locating the two missing children, Jarka is told they have seen “The Grabber,” but he is not entirely convinced until more children begin disappearing and he suspects it is someone within the castle walls creating all the chaos.

This YA fantasy was a great change of pace. I thought it was very refreshing to have a disabled main character to add light to that spectrum. The characters had depth and make you fall in love with them very quickly, or for that matter, hate in some cases. I felt that the story was complex and kept me hooked and wanting to know more, but also a quick read that made for a fun time.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA, fantasy, students looking for an interesting read, or anyone who enjoys magic. This story has elements of magic coursing through it, but it doesn’t overpower the realistic feel. Overall, I give this title four stars and will definitely be reading the previous book, The Wind Reader.
Profile Image for Laura.
122 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2020
I was sent this book for an honest review on behalf of Inspired Quill.

Jarka is a former street kid with a crooked foot who serves as an apprentice to the King's advisor. So when street children begin disappearing from the city, Jarka is immediately concerned and suspects the danger is coming from the castle. Balancing his duties as a Wysman's apprentice, Jarka begins investigating the disappearances and discovers a dark secret. There's much more to the castle and it's guests than meets the eye. Along the castle's winding corridors lays an ancient power and when that power falls into the wrong hands, Jarka realizes there's more at stake than just his position.

The Wysman falls into the traditional fantasy scope with kings and elemental magic, reminiscent of Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynn Jones. Set in the same world as The Wind Reader, this YA fantasy easily reads as a standalone. This book is a wonderful combination of mystery and magic that touches on topics such as classism, abuse and loyalty. Despite having a slow beginning, it was very easy to get drawn into the plot and it's characters. Jarka is an endearing protagonist with a cast of strong female characters. I really enjoyed the elemental magic aspect as well as the history of the Wysmen and I look forward to where Winsor takes Jarka next on his journey.
Profile Image for Eml.
403 reviews
June 13, 2020
I got sent an Arc of the Wysman. The publisher is @inspiredquill.
This book was a little difficult to get Into but when I was a quarter into it I really started to enjoy it.
I would recommend this book to people who want to get started into fantasy because it’s a quick and easy read.
The story is told from the perspective of Jarka, a boy who was granted a change to get off the streets. Jarka is now an apprentice. He uses a crutch due to being born with a crooked foot.
People start to go missing on the streets and this Jarka takes this into action wanting to know what’s happening.

“Fear can make people do things they otherwise wouldn’t.”

I like that Jarka was determined and smart about what he did and stayed strong. When reading about him meeting Ellyn, I was smiling because how funny the whole correlation was.
I also loved Jakas friend Timur!

“someone who could help a prince help the poor”

I think I loved the whole concept of Jarka learning and accepting. Him risking a lot.
In the end I hope he found closure of everything. Knowing his worth and getting what he deserves and helping others.
I’m trying not to spoil so much in this review but I really enjoyed this book! Happy I got a chance to sit down and read it.
Profile Image for Heather.
179 reviews43 followers
June 24, 2020
I received a free e-ARC of this book thanks to Inspired Quill in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

This book is a fantasy that contains magic and mystery. This is a classic fantasy, in a time where kings and lords reigned and alliances were instrumental. We follow main character Jarka as he seeks to uncover who is using magic for evil and we are taken on many twists throughout the story.

I enjoyed following along with Jarka and joining him in the search for the one using magic improperly. He was such a likable, well-rounded character and felt very recognizable. Joining him is a cast of diverse characters, ranging from poor street kids to a Wyswoman. Although not as well fleshed out as Jarka's character, I enjoyed reading about them.

I liked the disability representation. I also appreciated the fact that this story explored other serious topics such as abuse and economic status (poor vs rich, etc.) without being preachy.

One thing I would have liked to know more about was the magic system itself. We get a glimpse of it but it was such a big part of the story and it was so interesting, I would have liked to know more about it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or mystery books.
2 reviews
June 27, 2020
Adventure! Whodunnit! Suspense! Fantasy! Romance! Those are just some of my descriptions that aptly define this YA book.

The main character Jarka is a former street kid, born with a bent foot. He comes from an abusive background and has beaten the odds by becoming an apprentice Wysman. Jarka possesses inner strength and a level of wit against obstacles. Obstacles that come in two forms: those who underestimate and/or mistreat him and the ominous issue at hand. Several characters are introduced, yet the story isn’t “overcrowded”. In fact, due to each character being well developed their presence and choices help propel the story.

The author succeeds in creating a world that the reader can get lost in. At times dark, mysterious, even mildly violent moments pop up. However, humorous elements are used, some taking form as one liners when describing a scene, moment, or spoken by a character. I still laugh when I think about it.

Momentum was never lost. “The Wysman” is well paced without feeling rushed. Twists and turns unfold figuratively throughout the tale......and literally towards the end.
Profile Image for Tima.
67 reviews2 followers
June 15, 2020
*3.5. I was sent a copy of this on behalf of the publishers for an honest review. This book was a pleasant combination of magic and mystery. I liked the disability representation as well as the other topics such as abuse and classism that were explored. There was a good balance between the heavy topics and more lighthearted ones.

The protagonist, Jarka, was refreshing as a main character. He was caring, courageous, made sacrifices that enhanced his character, and was unapologetic in his opinions—it had me rooting for him the whole story. While this wasn’t true for all the characters, Jarka had layers to his personality and to me he felt like a real person.

I liked the how magic was a controversial subject in the world the book is set in. It was nice to see different perspectives and prejudices among Jarka’s peers and how it influenced the way they treated him.

It did feel like the story kicked off to a slow start, but when it got interesting it stayed that way and had a satisfying ending. This book was a nice read for anyone who’s looking for a light and quick fantasy story.
Profile Image for Wendy.
17 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2020
As a Wysman in training, 16-year-old Jarka uses his gift to read messages from the wind. When he receives a frightening vision of The Grabber taking a child, Jarka knows he must act quickly. The problem is, Jarka has no idea who The Grabber is or who the next victim will be. Will he be able to stop The Grabber in time before a child is hurt? The Wysman is a palace mystery with well-rounded characters and a storyline that kept me on my toes until the very end.

Dorothy Winsor has a knack for leading readers to draw their own conclusions about the characters. Whether or not I agreed with Jarka’s take on the situation at any time, the development of the characters made sense. I found myself constantly considering all of the different possibilities based on the clues Winsor gives throughout the story, because like Jarka, I was invested in solving the mystery.

This isn’t just a mystery though. At its heart, The Wysman is about learning to value our own talents. Sometimes the source of our strength is unexpected.
June 25, 2020
First I want to thank Inspired Quill for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. The book follows a poor young man with a disability who is training to become a Wysman and hopefully one day advise the king. When strange things start happening in the castle and village, the main character named Jarka uses his talents as a former street kid and now wind reader to help. The author’s words were so vivid that they jumped off the page and I felt like I was standing next to Jarka while he was reading the wind and searching for a missing kid.

This book is perfect for young adults as it quickly transports the reader to a different time and along the way teaches several valuable life lessons about helping others who cannot help themselves and not letting a disability define you. Although I am not a young adult, I really enjoyed The Wysman and I cannot wait to read some of Dorothy Winsor’s other books in the future.
Profile Image for Reagan Lassiter.
37 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2020
Thanks to Inspired Quill for giving an ARC of the book for an honest review.

This book is perfect for fans of traditional fantasy like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima. The Wysman was a fun and easy read that entrances the readers with the mystery of it— you never completely know what is happening with all the characters at any given moment. The twists keep the reader interested and reading until the very end.

Jarka is a fierce and loyal main character who never gives up on what he believes in, even if it is condemned by others. He is complex with a hard past, but does everything he can to overcome it, while not forgetting where he came from. He, like his friends Ellyn and Lineth, have to figure out a way to move on from their own ghosts in their own past and make a place for themselves in the present. The Wysman is filled with passion, loyalty, and good deeds no matter what the court or king has to say about it. A great read for any fantasy-lover!
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