Title: The Wizard’s Promise
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.
As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.
Huge thank you to Strange Chemistry and Netgalley for this ARC!
I really enjoyed Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse duology. It had a lot of my favourite, excluded elements in fantasy, particularly pirates, sailing the high seas AS a pirate, and a kick butt heroine who becomes a pirate-assassin. The Wizard’s Promise definitely shares quite a number of elements with its big sister, and while I wasn’t sold immediately, Clarke really has a way of building a story.
The Wizard’s Promise is slow. In fact, it took me about 30% for I found myself really engaging with the story. It has a lot it has to establish right away, something that will break even the most patient reader, but implore you — it’s worth sticking with to see how Clarke builds the world, crafts her characters, and the last 25% percent of this book, where hell really breaks lose, it’s quite the delightful, if eerie romp.
I feel like I’m not doing a the best job of representing this book, but it really is going to be one of those novels that will have a very polarizing affect. In one sense, how do you keep reader’s going when your beginning is molasses slow? How do I compel people to get to that last 25% which really makes the story shine? You can’t ask that of every reader.
Clark’e prose is stunning. She has this way of articulating her descriptions that just makes me shiver. Everything is vivid, so easy to visualize, and I feel like since a good chunk of this novel takes place on the high seas, that she’s trying to play to our inner-pirate’s again, which is fine by me. I wasn’t entirely sold on the characters right away, but Hanna grew on me. She wants to be a full-fledged wind witch, and she has so much persistence in what she wants. She never gives up, never lets people tell her she can’t — we need more of this in YA. She’s definitely hard-headed, but her supporting cast really helps keep her in check for most of the story.
However, she is entitled, a bit bratty, but it worked for me because when she had her ass handed to her, it was handed hard. Really, it was the supporting cast and their issues that kept a lot of the novel fresh for me. No love triangle, though the male cast was quite entertaining in how they handled Hanna’s behavior at times.
Admittedly, there were times where the book took it’s dear sweet time to where it was going, and sometimes I found myself engaged, other times I was screaming to get one with it. The best way to approach The Wizard’s Promise is to have patience, because isn’t the most smooth of sailing from start to finish. However, the events that do transpire are both scary and clever that I have to handle it to Cassandra Rose Clarke for including those moments, in what mostly felt like a long introduction. I do hope the pacing issues get ironed out for book two, because I am interested in seeing where Hanna’s adventure will take her next.