Book Titles: ‘The Wretched of Muirwood’ (Book #1) | ‘The Blight of Muirwood’ (Book #2) | ‘The Scourge of Muirwood’ (Book #3)

Author: Jeff Wheeler

Series:
Legends of Muirwood

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Magic

Format: e-Book


Goodreads Synopsis

‘The Wretched of Muirwood’ (Book #1)
In the ancient and mystical land of Muirwood, Lia has known only a life of servitude. Labeled a “wretched,” an outcast unwanted and unworthy of respect, Lia is forbidden to realize her dream to read or write. All but doomed, her days are spent toiling away as a kitchen slave under the charge of the Aldermaston, the Abbey’s watchful overseer. But when an injured squire named Colvin is abandoned at the kitchen’s doorstep, an opportunity arises. The nefarious Sheriff Almaguer soon starts a manhunt for Colvin, and Lia conspires to hide Colvin and change her fate. In the midst of a land torn by a treacherous war between a ruthless king and a rebel army, Lia finds herself on an ominous journey that will push her to wonder if her own hidden magic is enough to set things right. At once captivating, mysterious, and magic-infused, The Wretched of Muirwood takes the classic fantasy adventure and paints it with a story instantly epic, and yet, all its own.

‘The Blight of Muirwood’ (Book #2)
The Aldermaston, the protector of Muirwood Abbey, is directed by the Medium to make Lia the new hunter of Muirwood. This will take some doing and a lot of training, but with leather bracers, a shooting glove, and quivers in hand, Lia rises to the challenge. Her first real order is to protect Ellowyn Demont from rivals like the Queen Dowager and the Earl of Dieyre. Lia knows very little about the princess’s land of Pry-Ree, but when Ellowyn is abducted, Lia will join forces with Colvin to bring her back. Lia and Colvin must venture into the heart of a fallen kingdom, one devastated by an encroaching sickness called the Blight. It is here that a dark new secret is revealed – one that will make safeguarding the Abbeys nearly impossible. 

‘The Scourge of Muirwood’ (Book #3)
When a deadly plague is unleashed in the land of Muirwood, the fate of the world is placed in the hands of a young woman named Lia. Charged to be a magical protector, Lia volunteers to be sent on a desperate quest to rescue the squire Colvin, her love, and his pupil Ellowyn Demont, the alleged heir to the fallen kingdom of Pry-Ree. Still recovering from the injuries of her last adventures, Lia sets off across land and sea warning the kingdom of the oncoming plague. The journey leads her to Dochte Abbey, where her friends are supposedly held. Instead, though, a fallen enemy lies in wait for her, as well as an unbearable new truth. The revelation will force Lia to choose between the lives of her closest friends and her deepest desires…


The trouble with reviewing books is deciding whether or not you should be objective or subjective. That’s why I take the easy route and just share my experiences while reading. I read the three books in very quick succession, so it is hard for me to remember which book things happened in. Hence the series review.

I really enjoyed Wheeler’s writing style. The characters had an engaging (at least for me) way of interacting with each other. That helped me become engrossed in the world and invest in the characters. I have noticed that I am now increasingly picky about writing style and narrative voice. I just don’t have any tolerance for stories where I find those things jarring (hence why I gave up on ‘A Glimmer of Hope’ after only 11%).

I was pretty sure I knew Lia’s secret from early on the in story, and although there were attempts to convince me I had it wrong eventually I was proved right. My main motivation for devouring the books so quickly though was not the magic or the intrigue. It wasn’t learning about how society worked in the world. Nope. It was the romance.

And I hate myself a little bit for it.

Remember when you read the ‘Twilight’ saga in a matter of days because the angst was just so real you became addicted to it? A similar thing happened to me in this series. Now please don’t misunderstand me, these books are FAR superior to ‘Twilight’ but as the story lost its way a little bit across the three books I just kept reading. I read past bits that made me momentarily think ‘huh?’ so that I could see the lovers finally unite.

The world created in the Muirwood series is explored by Wheeler in another series but I won’t be picking those up. The last book just left me feeling meh. Which is a real shame, because for most of the series I was much more engaged than that.

So would I recommend The Legends of Muirwood? Yes. Definitely books 1 and 2, and then prepared to be a bit disappointed with the third one.

Overall, a pleasant experience.

I am not a fan of the word failure but in terms of NaNoWriMo2018 it is appropriate. I failed. I got just over halfway and then BAM! Life happened.

Mum had a fall and I found myself taking a week’s leave to travel and be able to take care of her. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for her to get to the point where she was able to look after herself again but by that point the damage was done.

I write mostly at weekends and losing just one pushed me too far behind to be able to make up the words in time. I would have had to write 3500 a day for the last week of November to make it work. That week was also the last week at my old job. And the week where I really needed to get the house ready for Christmas as we had people staying the second weekend of December. And I started my new job at the start of that same week.

In short, I had zero brain space for writing. I felt sure that I was on the brink of making myself ill by trying to do it all at once so I didn’t. I decided to take NaNoWriMo off the to-do list.

Originally, my plan was to write 50,000 by the end of the year (so roughly 30,000 in November and 20,000 in December). Since deciding on that new plan I have written exactly 0 additional words.

Without NaNoWriMo I just can’t seem to get myself motivated to write, but here’s hoping I can change that in the New Year when I have settled more into my new job and the new routine that goes with it. I want to see where my story goes. Fingers crossed I will find out.

National Novel Writing Month
2018 Diary
Day 3

Thank goodness that this isn’t my first year! I have already proved that I take a while to get going. I have already proved that it takes me a while to train myself out of re-reading what I have just written and correcting what I have typed. I have already proved to myself that I will make it to 50,000 words but it will take me the whole month to do so. 

Currently…

Day 1 – 966
Day 2 – 0
Day 3 – 1,672

There have been some lows…

And some highs…

But the most important thing to remember is that the story has started! 

Well that and I can fix the fact that I am dancing between different tenses later. 


Tools I used today: 

While I continue to #NaNoPrep and get excited for Thursday, I have been playing around with ideas for book covers. Canva is a great (and free) tool for this as it allows you to duplicate and tweak things easily. Here is what I came up with:

As you can probably tell, much of my story takes place in a forest. 

A Change of Plan

While on a walk recently, I decided to drastically changed a key part of my story. Initially, two of my characters were going to wash down stream and then have to work their way back to where they live. Now, only the MC will be washing down stream and will meet a cast of additional characters once there. 

Earlier this year when I read a book about the impact of gender pronouns I started thinking about whether there could ever be a world where they were removed completely. It occurred to me that because these words were so ingrained in our society it would be difficult. But what if society got a do-over? 

What would you change? 

I started thinking about all of the problems in society today and what I could do to fix them. One of them was to remove the issue of people being different. Everyone wears what are essentially grey sacks (so no one has a shape) and has their hair cut really short (or maybe hair doesn’t grow any more – it is a post apocalyptic world after all). People are taught to notice things (for ‘things’ read ‘differences’) but to not pass judgement on them (taking the idea from meditation – notice but pass no judgement). 

People are also not allowed to touch. Lets face it, sex is the most natural thing in the world, but my goodness does it screw things up. Instead people are taught to self pleasure but this isn’t seen as a sexual act. No one knows what sex is! (Population is controlled another way) 

People don’t know what sex is, or what people’s biological sex is. They have no sense of whether they are a boy or a girl. They have no idea if anyone else looks the same as them under their sacks. 

There is no closeness in society at all.

 It should be pretty obvious dear reader that some people are going to have their eyes opened across the course of the story! 

Hello Story Lovers! Welcome to my Sunday update post where I share mid-way reviews on my current reads with the hashtag #SoFarSo.

‘The Sword of Shannara’
by Terry Brooks

So far so… classic fantasy adventure 

Number of Pages Read: 269/664 (41%)

Quick Notes: This is the biggest book I have read in a long time and I seem to be making slow progress. This isn’t a reflection of the story (although it did take a little while to find its feet), but more the writing style. I tend to read pulpy quick reads that I am able to speed read. This isn’t possible when you are coming across sentences like this:

This isn’t an issue as much as an observation and something to keep in mind when tackling a new read (especially if you running out of time with your goodreads challenge). 

Want to join in? Use the prompts above to write your own mini review of what you are #currentlyreading. Then share your mini reviews using the hashtag #SoFarSo and link your blog posts in the comments below.

Today I have spent some time researching using The Better Novel Project. I am determined to go into NaNoWriMo this year with more of a plan than last time.

@mystorynotes (1).png

I am using ‘The Master Outline‘ that has been put together by Christine over at The Better Novel Project. She has deconstructed novels such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Twilight and pulled together a list of key elements.

While this isn’t a new idea (I attended many a lecture on how there are only a limited number of stories) it is helpful to curtail my ideas into a structure that I can work through during November. In fact, Christine has been helpful enough to break her Master Outline into a 30 day plan especially for NaNoWriMo.

nanowrimo-outline-cheatsheet