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Patricia C. Wrede – Daughter of Witches

May 19, 2014

33. Daughter of Witches by Patricia C. Wrede (1983)
Lyra, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. Shadow Magic

Length: 215 pages
Genre: Fantasy

Started: 15 April 2014
Finished: 23 April 2014

Where did it come from? Bookmooch.
Why do I have it? I loved Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles as a kid, so as an adult I collected as many of her other books as I could.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 July 2010.

Being afraid of
witches is difficult when
they’re saving your life.

Summary: Ranira has been a bondswoman in Chaldon ever since the high priests burned her parents for witchcraft. Ranira hates and fears magic, just like everyone in Chaldon, but she’s not particularly fond of the Temple priests, either. But when strangers show up at the inn she works at immediately before Festival – a time when all outsiders are required to leave the city, and to harbor them is to invite strict punishment – she soon has no choice but to go along with them, or risk being sacrificed as part of the Festival ritual. But can she really trust these strangers, especially when they seem so cavalier about using magic?

Review: This novel felt tighter and better constructed, and somewhat less clichéd than Shadow Magic. I think this was mostly due to the tighter focus: Daughter of Witches is only focusing on one girl’s story, not a kingdom and three races of people and a thousand years of history. So the result is that the characters wind up feeling more developed (marginally. I never caught whether Ranira was supposed to be 12ish or 18ish, and I couldn’t really tell from her POV, which is problematic, and makes a huge difference in how I interpret her actions.) But even though it’s more focused, it still feels like early work. There’s not a lot of Wrede’s normal snappy wit to it – maybe organically so, since Chaldon doesn’t really seem like a culture that would encourage sassiness, but I missed it all the same. The book also feels like one long extended chase sequence, but not really ever a particularly exciting one. So, overall, it was an enjoyable enough read, and it filled in more of the Lyra world, but it also wasn’t one that’s going to stick with me. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: As Wrede got more experienced, her books got better. This one’s not a bad read if it’s handed to you, but I wouldn’t make the effort to seek it out.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Couldn’t find any (although that’s not too surprising; it’s way back on the backlist.) If I missed yours, leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The sun was already high in the sky as Ranira hurried across the bridge towards the Temple of Chaldon, cursing the innkeeper Lykken to whom she was bonded.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2014 11:02 am

    I have tried several times to read this book (same cover) and I keep eventually setting it down and forgetting about it. It’s not an intentional DNF – its a totally blanked on it and lost it somewhere. I can’t even remember how far I have gotten. I love Mairelon and Magician’s Ward but have had a terrible time with any other Wrede I have picked up.

    • May 21, 2014 3:17 pm

      Elisa – Have you tried the Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Dealing With Dragons, etc.)? They were my first Wrede (and my only, until relatively recently), and even discounting the childhood nostalgia, I think they’re way better than the Lyra books.

  2. May 19, 2014 2:45 pm

    Ooohh… I ADORED Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Chronicles, as well! I’ll definitely have to check this one out

    • May 21, 2014 3:18 pm

      Escaping – I’d recommend the Mairelon the Magician books first, or Sorcery & Cecelia – they’re both a lot closer in tone to the Enchanted Forest Chronicles

  3. May 20, 2014 2:59 pm

    I never liked Daughter of Witches. My sister loved it and read it until it fell apart, but yeah, it’s never been one of my favorites. (That does not affect how delighted I am to see someone talking about it! Patricia C. Wrede backlist FTW!)


  1. Wrede, Patricia C.: Daughter of Witches (Lyra II) (1983) | humanitysdarkerside

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