The Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light and Shadow, #1) The Curse of the Mistwraith discussion

The Curse of the Mistwraith *first impressions*

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message 1: by Alissa (last edited May 08, 2015 05:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alissa The Curse of the Mistwraith is the first book in the The Wars of Light and Shadow series. It can be read as a standalone, too, but it's the stage setter for the whole scenario to come.

Actually, before starting this book, I read a very interesting short story, Child of Prophecy, which made me really want to read the series! It's set before the events of Mistwraith, and gives a lot of information about the events that led to the crisis (and political strife) Athera faces at the start of Mistwraith. There is also a little romance in it. Highly recommended.

Have you started reading it, what are your first impressions? What do you think about the prologue? I was very surprised when I read it, it says a lot about how the story will unfold yet gives away very little. I think it is very daring, I adored it! That is why, of course, I was surprised to find myself on Dascen Elur!

Please remember this is a spoiler free thread, use the spoiler tag if you are not sure.

message 2: by Shadowdenizen (last edited May 07, 2015 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shadowdenizen Let me start by saying that I agree totally the opening "Teaser" bit is brilliant in it's ambiguity.

It really states the premise of the series- that you need to continually form (and reform) your own opinions of these characters and their actions.

And it makes you parse the text carefully. (Now, I've just started the re-read with everyone, but don't have my book immeidately to hand.)

I love how it references Arithon directly, and Lysaer obliquiely. (Lysaer is referenced several times, but there's a bit (IIRC) where the "Lord of Light" is mentioned, but NOT directly as Lysaer.)

Admittedly, that might be reading too much into things, but one never knows with Janny....

Everyone, feel free to chime in! Any and all are welcome. (And I'll try to keep this thread spoiler-free, though I tend to be pretty bad about stuff like that...)

I'm really interested epsecially in hearing from people who are new to the series. (Looking forward to Amy's first impressions especially, since she and I seem to have similar tastes overall.)

ONce enough people have started to read/give feedback, we can open a spoiler-thread.

Oh, and check out the interactive map over at Jannys' website; you'll definitely need it!! :)

Alissa I've come to love thee narrative and the fact that I was wrong in my predictions most often than not, it is part of the fun as much as the unfolding plot itself.

I thoroughly enjoy (trying) to read into things while reading on, it's part of the structure I think, it came pretty natural and my attention was always focused!

Heree's the interactive map:

message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Sanderson Yes, having the map to hand is very useful indeed! For some reason, my ebook copy completely lacks one, so I've attempted to print one out from that interactive version. It's come out incredibly blurry, but it's better than sitting in front of my PC every time I pick up my Kobo!

A few thoughts so far (I'm on chapter... 5 or 6, I think - it's the one in Erdane, anyway): I was worried at first that Wurts' style might be too wordy for me, but the story seems to be moving along at a good pace, and there's very little unnecessary description; there have been a few times when I would have preferred more action and less introspection, but in a book (and a series) as long as this, I'm willing to accept a slower pace. I particularly like the sense of place Wurts evokes - all it takes is a paragraph, and you've got such a strong sense of each new location or environment.

It's difficult for me to comment on the plot just yet, because I haven't got far enough to even guess where it might be going. I'm really enjoying the Fragments and other little snippets, though. They open up the world very cleverly, without needing whole new scenes and dozens of extra POV characters.

Alissa Actually I appreciated the POVs were restricted, the world building is very complex and I was very focused on the conflict between the brothers, how such different personalities and traditional impersonal enemies were going to cope with arriving in a unknown world and being told to play a vital part.
Ch 4 gives lots of elements to think about, it was a complex chapter and I took my time to go through it. I think I sympathized a lot with the half-brothers, not sure of what was going on and trying to gather the elements to make sense of what was being asked, and the situation on Athera. I liked the Erdane chapter, to finally meet more people from the world who didn't have a direct interest in their presence. I was happy to see the relationship between Lysaer and Arithon was improving, but puzzled at the same time knowing the book blurb. Really curious how that was going to play out.
The writing captured me at once, it is both beautiful, evocative and with a sense of purpose. The description of the city is very immersive I think. Also love Arithon's caustic replies. Did not understand him but I think he was pretty mysterious.
Dakar hocked me at once, he is too funny and a prophet to boot.

message 6: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Sanderson Alissa wrote: "Actually I appreciated the POVs were restricted, the world building is very complex and I was very focused on the conflict between the brothers, how such different personalities and traditional imp..."

That's absolutely my feeling at the moment: that, given the enmity between the brothers hinted at in the blurb, they're getting on remarkably well at the moment! I'm looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops.

I think my favourite secondary character so far has been Elaira. I really like the fact that, at this point, she's got herself into a whole load of trouble essentially just to satisfy her curiosity! Again, her story is another facet that I'm looking forward to seeing develop.

message 7: by Alissa (last edited May 11, 2015 01:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alissa She is intriguing, and seems to like challenging authority moving at the edge of the strictures imposed on her, the way she is introduced caught my attention ((view spoiler)).
Ch VI was truly immersive, the perspective widens and by its end I was eager to read on, totally convinced the Sorcerer was holding back a lot of information, and I wondered how the "location" lastly introduced was going to fit in the picture.

Not least, Arithon, what do you think of him? He behaves oddly i think. Seems sincere in his non-belligerent intentions, but I can't really start to phantom what motivates him.
Lysaer is easier to relate to, I started to like him better here.

Shadowdenizen Ooooh, Elaira is one of my favrorite characters of the series, I think.

Arithons motivations (and his dividided desires) are a big focal point of the entire series.

As the story starts, we see Lysaer is seemingly very confident in himself, his powers, and his place in in the universe, while Artithon comes off as the quintessential troubled child/ black sheep.

At this early stage, I too sympathized more with Lysaer than Arithon.

message 9: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Sanderson Just thought I'd add a few more of my thoughts. I've just read Chapter 9, in Althain Tower, which I thought was really interesting. (view spoiler)

In terms of writing, it's difficult not to be reminded of Tolkien in the way Wurts describes the landscapes and the journey. At the same time, there's something about the characters, their inner turmoil and their predicaments that strongly reminds me of Guy Gavriel Kay. There's something about Arithon's distress at Daon Ramon and him being assailed by the weight of everything that's been lost that makes me think of Tigana.

Alissa Ch IX and X are among my favorites in this book, when I read about the encounter with Maenelle, what passes between her and Asandir, I started to have many doubts as whether my impressions after ch IV were convincing or not. I think here I really fell into rhythm with the story and the narrative and started the speculation game. I wasn't able to point it as well as you do, but ch IX left a similar impression on me, and particularly, made me truly realize (view spoiler)
Is the Mistwraith really this strong? What is really that the Sorcerers want? Is it possible to defy written fate? The focus on the Sorcerers was really intriguing, I ended up with some answers and even more questions.
Arithon remains a puzzle. I liked his reactions in ch X, and XI, I liked to get to know him better, but what does really motivate him, how come he reacted so strongly to what was last in this world?
Lysaer is more down-to-earth, in a sense I can sympathize more with his reactions. He's trying to fit I think, yet I thought about him on Dascen Elur, how he behaved at the trial...I think he's kind of disturbing, really, the way he can set his resolve.

Speaking of Kay, I read my first book of him last month (The Lions of Al-Rassan), after many recommendations as a reader who loved Wurts' imagination and style. Different writers but both poetic, and whose books make you think. I'll surely read more by Kay.

Ch XIII was tremendously interesting, too, have you read it yet? It was really funny, and I'm always in for court intrigue, social back-stabbings and the like. I also liked the variety of settings of this book.

message 11: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary I have read and re-read this series. I admittedly have held off reading the last two published books. I'm going on a cruise to read and relax and intend to take them with me! I envy those new to the series in that you will not have to wait for long periods for each new volume. Until you catch up to the rest of us, that is! Janny is a sweetheart and I have had the wonderful opportunity of chatting with her, via e-mail.

Alissa Mary wrote: "I have read and re-read this series. I admittedly have held off reading the last two published books. I'm going on a cruise to read and relax and intend to take them with me! I envy those new to t..."

Eh, this series is best read straight (I started Curse during Christmas vacation, great time to read&focus), and even so, re-reading Curse I am noticing new details and connections missed the first time. I can positively say Curse, while developing the current story, gives an inkling of many of the elements to come, some consequences of the actions here reverberate for many books.
Have you not read Stormed Fortress Mary? That's one of the most compelling series wrap-up I've ever read, many threads converge elegantly and the book lays the foundations for Sword of the Canon Arc, it was both a brilliant, satisfying Arc ending and a prompt to read more.

message 13: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Sanderson I've reached the end! I got to the penultimate chapter this afternoon and then just couldn't put it down until I'd finished. I've also realised it took me just two and a half weeks to read the whole book - usually something so long would take me twice that!

So, a few thoughts, mostly spoilery: (view spoiler)

On the subject of darkness, I think the thing I appreciated most about the entire book was how Wurts weaved tragedy and suffering into the plot without it ever feeling like pain for pain's sake. I've got really fed up lately with 'grimdark' as a genre, and the amount of violence and, well, grimness that's thrown in just to make stories 'gritty'. There's plenty of darkness in Curse of the Mistwraith, but it always makes sense, given the characters - and, of course, this is a book all about the characters (which is the other thing I really appreciated).

My only small gripes are largely stylistic. Whilst simplicity in prose isn't always a good thing, some of Curse was unnecessarily obtuse. I've also never seen the word 'rinsed' so many times in one book, which, when it's used in such an unusual context (to refer, largely, to light), started to become jarring after a while.

To be honest, though, these are just minor complaints. In general, I really enjoyed Wurts' style, and Curse definitely doesn't suffer from long, bloated descriptions the way a lot of epic fantasy does (Wheel of Time, I'm looking at you!) I found the whole compelling and I'm looking forward to picking up the second book.

Oh, wait, my last complaint, which applies to about 90% of the fantasy novels I pick up: needs more women! ;) Hoping for more of Elaira in particular in later volumes.

Shadowdenizen I'm so glad you enjoyed it,Amy!
Knowing we seem to have similar tastes, I thought you might!

I'm alittle behind in my re-read along with you, but hope to catch up soon!

And I totally sympathize with your stylistic gripes; they're the very same ones my friends brought up to varying degrees, though they also largely also agreed with you that it didn't detract THAT much from the story.

Without being spoilery, Elaira definetly becomes a more interesting, well-rounded character as the story progresses!

message 15: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary I have read the series several times and have always found something new that I missed or overlooked in earlier readings.

message 16: by Alissa (last edited May 29, 2015 05:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alissa Amy, I'm very happy you liked it!

That scene with Elaira (view spoiler) is one of the best of the kind I've ever read, it's always vivid in my mind and I enjoyed reading it again.
Your thoughts echo my own, I wanted to see more of her (and trust me, you'll get a nice share of women with agency ahead, young and old, some you've already met ;) and it was truly moving to see (view spoiler)

As you noticed, Wurts never goes for shock value. The story can get really grim, Mistwraith gives you a clear idea but there are battles and blood aplenty throughout. I appreciated that, the balance.
I'm a reader of the so-called grimdark and I'm pretty fine with gore, but reading tWoLaS has reminded me there are many ways to write about evil.

This said, she never goes for cheesy value either, this is not a romance series and it stays true, though the theme of love is very important and deeply explored in its many forms.

As for the stylistic choice, my view is a bit different. First of all I don't speak English as first language, nor I use it outside of the internet and my books. I was truly seduced by her imagery, and the poignancy of the dialogues, in a way, there are no wasted words; particularly in the dialogues, I've come to notice that even the more puzzling wording is calibrated exactly to the intended effect, for example when I first met the clansmen I thought they sounded overdramatic, I was disabused of this notion soon enough. As my awareness and knowledge grew, I saw them in a different light (rereading I noticed this behind-the-page work more clearly).
Of course my perceptions are very personal, and I'm surely most sensitive about words outside their usual context, it could have been a drawback but instead this richness of style helped to immerse me in the story.

Anyway, when I read the last page of Mistwraith I had no doubts, I could have stopped there since it doesn't end with a cliffhanger, but I wanted to know more at once!

The Ships of Merior has a slower start, and it deepens the plot a lot, particularly some of the characters. I appreciated that it widens the picture but not so much as to be confusing, and there is more humor. Just be sure to have Warhost of Vastmark to hand, they are truly one book, Merior builds the scene and Vastmark is all delivery.

Shadowdenizen As an aside, Alissa, I never would have knwon English isn't your first langauage! You have a tremendous grasp of it, and your writing is impeccable.

(Coming from someone who is a native-ENglish speaker and can barely manage coherent sentences!!) :)

That's the wonder of Goodreads!

Alissa Shadowdenizen, that's the best compliment ever, you've made a friend for life :D

Ehehe, I could sing praises of Goodreads forever, my reading choices are usually a perfect fit to my tastes now, thanks to all the recommendations of the community :)

Btw, I'm absolutely in for a discussion about Ships of Merior. I love to talk about tWoLaS, as I was reading, the discussion threads enhanced the experience (and let me have a lot of fun with the clue game).

message 19: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Sanderson I'm really glad to hear there are more women ahead. I thought the female characters in Curse of the Mistwraith were all interesting - I just wanted to read more about them!

I'm also glad to hear there's more humour to come. I thought there were some really funny moments in the first half of this book, and I think Wurts has got a great eye for amusing details. I think Dakar is proof of that. His prophetic abilities are obviously quite gruelling, but his sarcastic remarks made me laugh more than once! Actually, I also think Dakar plays a very important role, because he's one of very few characters who's close to the Fellowship yet questions their actions and motives - and if he doesn't approve of something, (view spoiler) he says so! I think, in that regard, he often echoes what the reader is thinking.

I'm really looking forward to Ships of Merior. I need to read a few more books off my massive TBR pile (and I bought two more today - oops!), but that and Warhost of Vastmark are going to be the next couple of books I order.

message 20: by Alissa (last edited Nov 04, 2015 01:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alissa Oh yes, you'll see more of Dakar and....I'll be happy to discuss him in Ships of Merior. He is a very complex character, fun, and a nice player around the theme “Prophets are dastardly pessimists, to a man.” I've always wondered why the Sorcerers put up with him.

The women in the series are not window dressing, either, their roles grow ever more central as the series moves ahead, and well, personally, when I ended up cheering for one who is not one you may call friendly.... eh! Looking forward to your impressions!

Here is the thread for a spoiler tagged only read of Ships of Merior (implies having read Mistwraith)

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