Title: The Bookminder
Author: M. K. Wiseman
Genre: YA/ Fantasy
Favourite Quote: ‘“But they’re just books -” Liara interjected, feeling more foolish than ever.
“Ah, but they aren’t. Come now, you mean you haven’t been at least a little awed by the promise of what lies behind each cover? You haven’t felt the pull of that incredible power, each tome with an aura of its own, a distinct flavor, making you feel somewhat uneasy but also entranced? Seduced? Not even a little? Don’t disappoint me, little magpie. The books know their own.”‘
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*
Liara is a 16 year old orphan with an ability to gain other’s possessions. She knows the rumours surrounding her birth and knows why she is treated as an outcast within the village of Dvigrad. Magick. The only person who stands up for her is Father Phenlick who took her in as a child and raised her within the church to keep her safe. When Liara’s stolen possessions are found surrounded by magick, Father Phenlick protects her once more but has no choice but to banish her from the village into the protection of the only person who will claim her; Nagarath the wizard of Parentino.
Liara cannot wait to leave the village behind and the people that have cast her off and filled her heart with despair and betrayal. Nagarath coming to her rescue is just what she hoped for as the beginning of her new life in banishment. Magick is in her blood, what better way of discovering who she really is than being the apprentice of a wizard. Only Nagarath has other plans for her.
‘”You’ve questioned me about your parentage for as long as you’ve been able to speak. And I’ve seen all of you as you’ve grown. You’ve a heart divided, Liara. Wanting so desperately to be normal, to be accepted despite your origins, and yet hungry for the particulars and how they might be of use to you even now.”‘
I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I put off reading it for a while and found that when I started reading the story, the pace was really slow. Liara’s life changed when she suddenly found herself banished from her village and into the world of an isolated wizard in the forest, but nothing seems to happened until towards end. I wasn’t sure at what stage it suddenly gripped me, but before I knew it, I was hooked on the story and needed more. I didn’t realise how caught up I was in their lives when before I knew it, I’d gotten to the end of the book.
The story itself is told in one of 4 locations, Liara’s village, Nagarath’s home magically hidden amongst castle ruins, the surrounding forest and finally the seaside town of Vrsar. Even with it’s limited locations, I never felt like there was anything missing. The author did an great job setting the scenes that you felt you were there alongside them.
‘Miserable and bedraggled as she was, Liara could not help the grin that spread over her face as realisation dawned. The winding narrow alley before her ended in a low wall. And beyond that, she glimpsed a great blue-green something filling the horizon. With a squeal of delight Liara ran to the end of the tiny street, eager to have a better view of the sea. Here was real magick. Liara breathed in a deep lungful of the salted air and leaned forward, drinking in the sight. Those who had built the city had made sure to take full advantage of the natural geography of the coastline. This foresight served Liara well as her eyes danced over the tiled rooftops, skipped over the spired of churches, and basked in the beauty that was Vrsar.’
After accepting the role as Liara’s guardian, Nagarath takes her to his home within the forest, swearing to protect his new ward the only way he knows how – through magick.
I really liked Nagarath as a character. He’s made out to be a lot older than he is at first, but we slowly realise that magick has taken it’s toll to make him appear older than he truly is. With his vast knowledge of magick and experience from a very young age, his role as her guardian/ mentor is well represented. We come to realise that he knows a lot more about Liara’s past than he’s let on, from how she was ‘created’, who her real family is, and why she needs protection that only he can give now. When he feels guilty for not being more involved with her upbringing, it leaves us to question more about his character and what secrets he’s hiding.
I wasn’t sure what to make of Liara’s character at first. She’s selfish, a liar and a thief and only has resentment and disrespect for everyone around her, only she makes it worse by feeling like an innocent when she’s discovered doing her sinful deeds. She’s even more frustrating when, because she has magick within her, she expects Nagarath to take her on as his apprentice, even when he tells her no. The way she secretly learns magick is really telling, especially when she creates the Catalogue for Nagarath’s library. In one way it’s nice to see that she’s taken her librarian role seriously and respectfully, another shows that she’s so self-absorbed and difficult which makes us question whether Liara will ever grow up.
The slow paced story is a fantastic way of building up the characters throughout the book. As Nagarath and Liara get to know each other within the confines of the castle, there are a lot of confusing emotions that are present which brings us to wonder where their relationship will lead too. Is it purely just guardian and ward learning to live with each other in Parentino? Is it wizard and apprentice reacting to each other’s magical aura? or is it simply a man and a young woman developing feelings for each other as they grow to rely on one another alone within Nagarath’s home. I really enjoyed the unknown chemistry between the two characters. By the end of the story, I didn’t even hesitate to get a copy of the next book to find out more.
‘He looked up at the dark ceiling, towards Liara’s quarters – Liara with her strange mood and unspoken questions. Though he hadn’t quite figured what had come over her while they sat together by the fire, he could tell when she was holding back. She clearly had questions that went beyond magick, beyond tea making and the like.
But so had he.
Nagarath turned his eyes back to the fire, as if staring into its searing light might burn away the fog that had settled into his mind.’
Sired by magick and violence, sixteen-year-old Liara is found guilty of witchcraft and banished from her tiny village by the very priest who raised, then betrayed her. However, a mysterious mage steps forward to assume custody of her: Nagarath, the Wizard of Parentino, whose secret spellwork has long protected both Liara and Dvigrad from the ravages of war.
Despite Liara’s best hopes, Nagarath refuses to apprentice her to his craft but tasks her instead with the restoration of his neglected library. Liara gleans what magickal knowledge she can on the sly, determined to learn, come what may. But the first test of her stolen knowledge goes awry and renews an evil wizard’s interest in the people of the Limska Draga valley.
Only by tapping Liara’s inherent magick and joining it with his own can Nagarath protect Parentino from suffering a horrible fate. However, her discovery of his secrets destroys their fragile trust and ignites the darker tendencies of her gift. Now, he must rescue her from the influence of his mortal enemy before their powerful new alliance destroys them all.