The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #1) by Jeff Wheeler: A Book Review

The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #1)
Author: Jeff Wheeler
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Pages: 357
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: In a world full of magic and mystery, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and rightful heir to the throne. Forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home, Maia flees her captors and begins a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret—despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves—even if her people have forgotten her? In bestselling author Jeff Wheeler’s fantasy epic, the answer may be only the beginning to Maia’s journey throughout the mystical land of Muirwood.

     My Review: Maia was once the rightful heir of Comoros. However, her father, who fears for the safety of the kingdom, decides to divorce his wife, strip away Maia’s title, and find a new wife who will give him a son. Maia’s father then banishes and exiles her. Because her kingdom is in danger, Maia goes on a journey to save her kingdom with magic as her aid. She finds the way to be perilous and soon she is later on accompanied by men who are hired to kill her. Will Maia be able to save her kingdom?

     Maia is a strong heroine. She has a rough past that traumatizes her. However, she is very intelligent, for she makes practical choices and is observant. She understands the situations and the people around her. I also like how she is comfortable to trust her magic, even when the situation seems impossible. Through all the obstacles and pain that she faces, she becomes a stronger and more mature person. I felt sorry for Maia, and I could not help but root for her along her journey. She is also an unconventional heroine. She is a woman who can read, in a world where women reading was forbidden. Because of this, she is a threat to her world of male dominance.

     Overall, this story is about forgiveness, redemption, love, and acceptance. It is the self-journey of a woman trying to find her identity. The message of the book is that there is always hope. Even though there is darkness, there is light.The story is fast-paced and is full of action and adventure. The characters are fully developed. However, I did find the alternating chapters of Maia’s past and present to be confusing, and when they switched to her past, I had to re-read it to understand the time jump. I wish that this was done better to let the reader know that it was going to switch from past and present that way I would not be confused. Also, I found the world-building complex and there was little explanation of the world. It is obvious that the author assumes that the reader has already been introduced into his world. This is because he wrote other books about Muirwood. Even though this is the first in the trilogy with new characters and a new story, I advise you to read the previous Muirwood novels, so you can get a sense of world-building. I am sure that I will too read his previous novels. Still, this book is very well-written, and the adventure and twists and turns kept me glued to my seat as I read, it kept wondering what happens next. Because of this, I am definitely interested in reading the next book in the trilogy. I recommend this book to fans of high epic fantasy and strong heroines.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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