Read The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells Online


Once a fertile and prosperous land, Ile-Rien is under attack by the Gardier, a mysterious army whose storm-black airships appear from nowhere to strike without warning. Every weapon in the arsenal of Ile-Rien's revered wizards has proven useless.And now the last hope of a magical realm under siege rests within a child's plaything....

Title : The Wizard Hunters
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780380807987
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Wizard Hunters Reviews

  • Miriam
    2018-12-21 11:05

    Those who read The Death of the Necromancer (related to this book, but not requisite for understanding it) will remember Vien as an urbane, prosperous city at the height of its power. From a cultural capital and political powerhouse, it has transformed in the space of only a few years as a mysterious and apparently unstoppable enemy reduces the city to ruins and its inhabitants to refugees. Before the war, Tremaine was a successful playwright with a circle of entertaining arty friends. Now she volunteers for the dangerous work of driving ambulances and goes home alone to her missing father's rambling old house of Coldcourt. To help the dismal war effort, her family has donated both money and their collection of magical spheres to a research group trying to find a way to circumvent the enemy's immunity to magic. One night one of the wizard researchers, a family friend, comes to ask Tremaine if she has any additional spheres. Little does she know that her decision to accompany Gerard to the Institute will send her into danger and across dimensions...

  • Rachel Neumeier
    2019-01-13 09:25

    Okay the first thing to know is: If you’re starting THE WIZARD HUNTERS and you’re not sure you like it? Read at least three or four chapters before you decide.The Characters:We have a third-person divided pov structure, Tremaine in a world with the flavor of, say, mid-1800s England; and Ilias in a very different world that doesn’t map terribly well onto any real historical era I can think of but is much less technologically advanced. It’s important that you wait for the two plotlines to converge before you decide whether you like the characters or the story, because I just about guarantee you will once the plotlines come together. Which they do very early on, so there’s actually not much patience required. And after that, the books really take off!Tremaine is my favorite character EVER! She is right up there with my other favorite-ever characters, like Miles Vorkosigan and Vlad Taltos and Eugenides. She is prickly, sarcastic, ruthlessly practical, sometimes insecure, occasionally suicidal, and doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body. I mean, there is romance — but it starts late in the series and it is never, but never, a gushy obsessive romance.There’re lots of secondary characters from Tremaine’s world — of the ones we see from the start, Gerard is possibly my favorite of them because I have a thing for dedicated do-the-job types. I love Florian, too, though. I kept rather hoping Ander would get shot or fall off a cliff or at least see the error of his ways and start taking Tremaine seriously, but, sigh, I guess there really are jackasses like that in the world and he does provide a certain something. Like, a contrast to Ilias, for one thing.Because Ilias! Tremaine is my favorite, but Ilias is also great. He’s like the Muscle-Bound Barbarian Warrior, only for grownups: complex and believable, fascinating backstory, highly competent but plausibly so. I love his relationship with his friend and foster-brother, Giliead. And I love the way their society is so different from Tremaine’s and how those differences echo through the whole story.You are probably getting the idea that there are a lot of characters. This is true, and more as time goes on, but Wells handles them all extremely well, and gives them all time off as appropriate rather than trying to clutter up every scene with the whole bunch of ‘em, and so it’s easy to keep track of everyone. Particularly since everyone is distinctive. Mostly Wells sticks with Tremaine and Ilias as the pov protagonists; as we go on through the trilogy we do get little sections from other points of view, but this is beautifully handled and never obtrusive or annoying; there’s none of that dilution of pov you get in some modern epic fantasy until you can’t tell who the blazes the main character is supposed to be.The world:Oh, it’s so much fun! I’m actually not always in the mood for a gaslamp fantasy setting, so gating from Tremaine’s world into Ilias’ and back mixed the settings up and kept everything feeling exciting. Those gates! New corners to peek around just everywhere, and this is Martha Wells, right? So you know the scenery is going to be grand-scale and stunning. Ruined cities everywhere, and all of them different. But the ruined cities aren’t the only thing on a grand scale: check out the Revenna. One of my favorite lines from the first book was something like: “So, we’re going to make our secret escape on the biggest ship in the world.” (And they do.) I thought the ship was modeled on maybe the Queen E, and I was almost right — Wells has an author’s note that says she actually based the ship on the Queen Mary.I love Tremaine’s world — like a gaslamp fantasy, right? But with fey that seriously affected things until cold iron became more common. My favorite exchange in the third book, one of the few times we actually see a fey, it says to Tremaine: “You look tasty, little girl.” And she levels a gun at it and says, “So do you.” (The fey is in fact more intimidated by Tremaine than the other way around.)I love Ilias’ world more. We get to see a good bit of it, but Ilias’ home town is my favorite. The customs are so different and the interaction between the characters is really enhanced by this. I don’t want to be too specific. Just take it as read that every scene is beautifully set, okay?The plot:The overarching plot is complex, but it hangs together just fine. It’s an invasion story — as suggested by the title of the trilogy, right? — and of course the plot is concerned with taking back Ile-Rien from its conquerers. The conquerers are . . . really interesting. Almost anything I say about them would be too much, so silence seems the best policy here.The first book is really pretty well self contained, which is handy if you want to give the trilogy a try without committing to all three books, but the second definitely feeds right into the third. The romance could not be more removed from the simplistic insta-romances we see everywhere today and that for me are such a turn-off. Wells handles her romance with subtlety and humor and lets her people be complicated and conflicted. But not in an annoying way! Not that kind of conflicted!There was some political idiocy in the third book, which was painful to read. I mean, don’t we get enough political indiocy in the real world? Thankfully the scenes where we have to endure moronic self-serving politicians working hard to seize defeat from the jaws of victory are quite brief. And I hope you don’t mind if I just say that the worst of the lot gets what’s coming to him. Too bad we can’t deflect nasty curses onto deserving politicians in the real world!The overall plot is impressively coherent, all the complicated problems on three different worlds arising from one basic source. The tiny little deus ex moments here and there are actually fitting and believable.Overall:This is a great trilogy. It's definitely a keeper; I know I'll be reading this one again.

  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    2018-12-21 15:08

    Warning: slight spoilers below. But stuff I’d have wanted to know.An obscure epic fantasy that came highly recommended (by Kate Elliott, for instance. I like her books and the way she talks about books, particularly the social consciousness with which she reads, but I have to stop taking her fantasy recs. They’ve ranged from so-so at best – Daggerspell, Banner of the Damned – to unreadable at worst – Irons in the Fire, bleh). But in the end this bored me so much I took nearly a month to finish it, a bad sign for an adventure fantasy book of under 400 pages.Wells must have heavily workshopped the first sentence – for that matter, the first chapter – because this book started off very well, only to disappoint within the first hundred pages. Here’s the opening line:“It was nine o’clock at night and Tremaine was trying to find a way to kill herself that would bring in a verdict of natural causes in court when someone banged on the door.”Who could read that and not want to know more about Tremaine, and what has brought her to this point? Not me. Too bad the characterization turns out to be so flat. Tremaine is supposed to be suicidally depressed, but she doesn’t come across as suffering from depression at all, more like a morbid smart-aleck, and once her suicidal inclinations have served their plot function (getting her into a dangerous adventure), they soon disappear, only to be ultimately explained away by magic. I am not sure why Wells felt an external force was needed to “explain” why Tremaine was hit harder by events than others; why isn’t it enough that she’s a different individual, one more prone to depression?Not that there’s a whole lot of individuality to anyone in this book. Even many of the most important secondary characters, like Florian and Gerard, can be easily summed up as “nice people, who do magic” – more plot function than personality. And the minor characters? Forget about it. I still can’t tell you who that guy Niles was, though apparently he had some importance. And I regularly read books far more populated than this; I keep track of characters like it’s my job.But back to that beginning. When a character worries about a court verdict in the first sentence of a fantasy novel,* I expect a story built around a highly structured society: something like His Majesty's Dragon, or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, or Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw. For the first few chapters that’s what we get, as Wells builds a fascinating fantasy version of London during the Blitz. But all too soon, the leads are dumped on a remote island and spend 100 pages running around tunnels and fighting. That was where it lost me, and by the time we return to the original setting toward the end of the story, I was so bored by these shallow and static characters that I no longer cared. Nor did the worldbuilding turn out as deep as expected; this is more the kind of fantasy where people conk enemies (mysterious evil invaders with no discernible reason for their belligerence, natch) over the head than the kind dealing with social intricacies.That said, obviously there is an audience for this kind of thing, and the plot isn’t quite as silly as you might expect from some of the blurbs (which make it sound like it’s all about uncovering the secrets of some magical object – there is some of that, but it isn’t overwhelming). It is not as dire as a lot of fantasy out there, and the writing isn’t terrible, so if you are a reader more interested in plot than character, this may be for you. But after this bait-and-switch I won't be reading the sequels, so I'm glad there's at least a bit of resolution here.* This part of the sentence apparently meant nothing, just another way of saying "trying to find a way to kill herself that would look like natural causes." I hate it when I'm paying more attention to what a writer is saying than the actual writer is.

  • Elsiekate
    2019-01-18 09:12

    this is actually a review of the trilogy, comprised of the wizard hunters, the ships of air, and the gate of gods. i think that you could probably read the later books without having read previous books and get filled in enough to comprehend what's happening, but don't do that. start at the beginning, even though the first book starts slowly, and enjoy spending time in this place with these people.ile-rien is the world where several other of wells' books are set, so if you've read her other books (and you should) some things will sound familiar--names of past rulers and such. but those books took place further back in ile-rien's past. we're not quite up to modern days, but electricity and motor cars are present now, in addition to magic. ile-rien is now at war with the gardier, who come from another world, and they are losing the war. we meet tremaine, who has been volunteering in the war effort. the sorcerers of ile-rien are trying to use spheres of a type first created by tremaine's uncle (by title, not by blood) to fight the gardier, and they are running out of spheres and sorcerers to test them. tremaine has an old prototype in the house, doesn't she? it turns out that she does, but it won't activate unless she is in contact with it when a sorcerer tries to do a spell, so she will have to come along to help out.then the scene shifts to another world. we follow two wizard hunters, ilias and gilead. gilead is the chosen vessel of the local god, given the power to sniff out magic spells, or curses as they are known in that world. there is new wizardly activity in a location where the two of them previously encountered and defeated a wizard, so they are investigating to see if a new wizard has taken over.point of view shifts from group to group, person to person, world to world. we even sometimes see things from a gardier viewpoint. the spheres give the power to move between the worlds but the gardier have that power too. the two main groups of the rienish sorcerers and the (don't have the book with me but i think the world was called) syprian wizard hunters meet up and discover that they need each other's help, but can the syprians overcome their deep hatred and justified suspicions of magic enough to work with the rienish?there's a romantic element to the story, too--i enjoyed it but i guess if you can't stand any hint of romance (and i don't mean of the harlequin variety) in your fantasy reading, take note of that. i can't recall most of what happened in which book, only that once it took off, i didn't so much read it as devour it and roll around in the delight of reading something that was so much fun. again, i warn you--it started slow. but once the groups meet up, stuff starts happening so fast that you feel like you will fall out of the chair as you read. there are some lulls, as you travel about on an ocean liner inspired by the queen mary, for example, but you can't trust a lull when a gardier airship can show up in the sky above you at any moment.

  • Just A. Bean
    2018-12-20 14:58

    Thirty (or so) years have passed since the previous book, and much has changed in Ile-Rien. For one, the technology has jumped form mid-19th century to early 1930s (I noticed that the tech advance in Ile-Rien is a lot faster than in our world, but magic may have something to do with that). Most of the main character of the previous book are missing, absent or dead. Ile-Rien has been losing a war for about three years.In the middle of all this, two sets of characters from two different worlds come together: the daughter of Our Heroes from the last book, and her wizard friends who are trying to find out who the country's mysterious enemy is and how to stop them, and a pair of warrior brothers from a parallel world that's still iron age tech, who hunt wizards for a living. The two groups don't speak the same language when they meet. It's exciting :DI love the culture clash, and how it continues in large and small ways through the series. You've got diesel punk people (eventually) teaming up with age of heroes warriors to combat people with 1960s(ish) tech, and the ways that works and doesn't is a constant theme and source of both conflict and entertainment.As always, it's the character that really carry it through. The protagonist from the Ile-Rien side was more or less raised by James Moriarty, and as a catalogue of issues because of it, including suicidal depression and an inability to make friends at the start of the story. I loved watching her figure herself out, and try to alternately use and avoid what her father taught her to save her country. For the iron age side, there's a young wizard hunter with massive abandonment and loyalty issues (a familiar type for Wells), and already something of an outsider view of his own people. Together they fight crime! (Well, evil wizards). Along with them is a whole cast of supporting characters, including many interesting women, and a (sort of) robot, and it was just really hard to put this book down. Or the next one. Or the one after that.

  • Gail
    2019-01-02 10:17

    This is a VERY different fantasy. Almost a steampunk fantasy, because the magic is worked by means of mechanical doohickeys. In one of the universes of this story. This story crosses multiple universes. Two, anyway, with a probable third. The heroine's world is at war with these technologically advanced magic haters that fly in blimps and fry the magical instruments of her world. The hero lives in a completely different universe where ALL wizards are evil, and all magic spells are curses. He's a sidekick of the current avatar of the local god and goes around with him executing wizards. But the folks who have moved into the last wizard's old lair are different. They have these machine things. The story moves the hero and heroine closer and closer in their individual worlds, until finally they meet (in his) and their respective worlds ally against these bad guys. This is the first book in a trilogy, and a very interesting read. I'm going to have to order the next two off the internet and read them. (They weren't in the book store.)

  • Micah Goettl
    2019-01-05 15:06

    Spoiler-Free Review (I think . . .) The story opened with a killer hook. What a fantastic opening line! It drew me in and introduced the heroine really well. Tremaine is an interesting character, full of delicious dichotomies. I love her moments of vulnerability because the rest of the time she's as tough as they come, but not with the kick-butt charisma of some other tough characters. She's so awkward. Ilias is strong with a good sense of humor; Giliead is protective and uncomfortable with the responsibility put on him--and perhaps a little lonely. The first chapter was great. Then, like someone hit the breaks, it slowed way down. The introduction of Ilias and Giliead was not my cup of tea. There was a lot of narration about past events and not much action. I don't even need swashbuckling . . . just something more than paragraphs of backstory sprinkled with them climbing through a cave. Not exactly riveting. But I held out hope and after a few chapters it picked up again. One thing I really like about this book it how not much happens but it fills lots of pages without feeling slow (except for the first few chapters, of course). I know that may sound weird--"not much happens"--but what I mean is that the events are so localized, so focused, that the characters, once entangled in those events, have no time to meander. Once the ball got rolling, it kept rolling. At the same time, with all that rolling going on, it didn't feel rushed. There were scenes with crazy chases and fights, and then there were scenes where they just sat around tending to wounds and it was interesting. There was a good balance on the whole.On the writing style: there were many, many commas. For example: "She struck hard-packed sand, the breath knocked out of her, the man landing heavily a few feet away. Wheezing, she twisted, kicking out at him. Caught by surprise and badly shocked, he lost his grip on . . ."You get the idea (and hopefully that bit completely out of context didn't destroy anything for anyone.) Sometimes it just felt like the sentences could have been broken up a bit more. But that might just be personal preference; I tend to like short and punchy interspersed with the occasional long bit for emphasis. Overall, the writing was of good quality and didn't really bother me.On the world-building: detailed and fascinating! I really liked Ile-Rein and Syrnai and how well they were described, how well the cultures were developed. Another thing I thought was absolutely fantastic was how she played the language card. All these races speak different languages. But everything is written in plain English--no funny keyboard slap thing that are meant to look like foreign languages. "Sorbgouerg irnilshhhf," he said, voice booming like war drums. That doesn't give me anything. Martha Wells did a fantastic job with this, making you feel the language barrier between the characters without creating one between them and the reader.The realization at the climax had me gripping the book tightly!Overall I really like this book! My only complaint is the initial slowness. But I know from experience that novel beginnings are hard, so I'm not going to fling around any blame.

  • Robo Ric
    2019-01-05 15:10

    Martha Wells is one of my favorite writers. Her ability to create entire new worlds and, in particular, beings and societies, is amazing. She's very detailed and always displays great imagination. That being said, this trilogy was the first time I had trouble finishing one of her books.Minor plot description: We've got Ile-Rien, a world technologically set in about the 1930s, except without airplanes or cannons. They also have magic. They are in a war with a mysterious race called the Gardier who is kicking their butt in a major way. Nothing is known about them. Eventually, Ile-Rien wizards manage to cross over into a different world, Cineth. Cineth is technologically backwards and the only magic there is performed by wizards who are both evil and mad. That should be enough to give you the flavor of the thing. As to how it works, Ile-Rien is a much more boring place than the Ile-Rien of, say, The Element of Fire, with its Fey and its strangeness. The modern Ile-Rien is a pretty standard place with few surprises, so Wells' abilities are wasted here. The Gardier, well... nothing is known about them. You can't beat that for boring and it was one of the most frustrating things I ran into with these books. The only reason I managed to actually finish the trilogy is Cineth. That's standard Wells' goodness. The characters, the idiosyncrasies, the laws, everything here is rich and absorbing. And not less the plight of their people in their struggle against the evil wizard Ixion. The labyrinthine Ile-Rien ship, the Ravenna, also provides a tremendous setting for this part of the plot to continue to play out.The biggest trouble, of course, is that is is only the secondary plot. The primary was such a burden to get on with that I would only recommend this book to hardcore Wells' fans.

  • Lucy
    2018-12-29 14:13

    I've committed to trying to give more word reviews instead of my typical stars, including going back and writing reviews as I re-read anything I've already read.The Wizard Hunters is a book I frequently re-read. It's always loaded on my nook, although the first time I read it, it was a paperback version I picked up in a used book store. My usual used bookstore bookcheck involves picking out something with a title or cover that draws me in, reading the back or the inside flap, and then reading one or two pages to see if it clicks. I knew from the very first sentence of The Wizard Hunters that I was going to buy the book, which is rarer than one would like it to be.I was not disappointed and years after the fact still love to reread the Ile-Rien novels. I was hopelessly pleased when some short stories were released later on, and always like to revisit the world even if I think Wells is done writing for it. The characters are well-written and interesting, and the plot within the three books of the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy is tightly woven and packs a few surprises. It's easy to get attached to everyone, and while the first time through I was impatient to get back to Tremaine and the Rienish when POVs swapped in the first book, I also know I quickly came to like Ilias and Gilead for their wry senses of humor.Wells always has a really good grasp on conversation and banter, and her characters are always fun to read. That definitely shows through in this installment, and the story itself keeps me hooked time and time again. I always recommend this trilogy to everyone, because I love it forever.

  • Brittany
    2018-12-30 09:23

    Martha Wells has more imagination and more heart than any other 12 authors put together. (Unless you're exceptionally persnickety about which authors you pick and the list includes a lot of names like "Pratchett," "Dunnett," and "Bujold.)"She creates the most breath-taking and ambitious, and also enjoyable, worlds. In the Raksura books, she created the best tree-houses ever. Here, she reminagines World War II and the London Blitz, being sure to incorporate world-travel and a gorgeous cruise ship taken over by the soldiers where our protagonists get to live and run around. (Apparently, the Queen Ravenna was based on the real live Queen Mary). There's also magic, adventure, romance, intrigue, mystery, and politics. It's just so well done and, have I mentioned? so much fun.

  • Wealhtheow
    2018-12-21 08:20

    Dammit, Wells! Her first book was excellent, her second was good, her third was terrible and this, her fourth, is only passably good. The story starts with the main character trying to kill herself. She’s sarcastic about the reasoning behind her suicide, which really endeared her to me; unfortunately, I didn't like the character that much for the rest of the novel. Wells excels at constructing theories of magic and dealing with the ensuing complications, and the novel itself is set in a magical version of Britain during the Blitz. Good enough that I'll read the sequels.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-04 06:58

    Read this for my old book group. I liked it quite a bit at the time, it was an intriguing high fantasy, but now I don't really remember the details much. It's something that I would recommend, though, and that I'd pick up again if was in a mood for high fantasy.

  • Megan
    2019-01-02 08:10

    In case you're wondering how into this series I am, I definitely almost chanted "OT3! OT3!" out loud at more than one point. (I for sure did it in my head.)

  • l.
    2018-12-28 07:14

    My favourite of her novels thus far. I love her heroine. I love the opening. It's just what I wanted to read.

  • Nathan
    2018-12-30 11:07

    First posted hereThe land of Ile-Rien is under attack by the seemingly invincible Gardier, who use their black airships to destroy, then seemingly disappear. The Gardier also somehow have the ability to block all the magic the Ile-Rien have for protection, and they also have a magic of their own that destroyed mechanized weapons.Invincible army, one person holds an object of power, a person may wonder why I even cracked the cover of what seems like a very trite read. I admit at times in the book I wondered the same thing. There is some interesting stuff in this book, and in many ways it pushes beyond the cliches, but I can't say it ever grabbed me.What worked well in this book? It had some unusual hooks. The main character, Tremaine, is looking for a way to keep herself in danger, a death wish without the desire for people to know it. This keeps her early motivations mysterious(though this plot line is almost completely discarded by the mid point). Both the Ele-Rien and the Gardier are living a technological era where magic is in use everyday, not hidden from the common eye. And there is an early culture clash when it is found the the Gardier hold a staging area in a land with a more "primitive" culture.For all that almost nothing worked for me. There just wasn't the focus needed to make any thing work, none of the good ideas were really expanded on. Tremaine has a death wish, but it is gone halfway through the book, then explained away at the end. Not transitioned out, just explained away. The interesting first contact plot line is ruined for me by the ease of communication and by just how little difference there really is in the cultures, despite the characters seeming to think otherwise. And the neat mix of technology and magic comes to nothing, as magic rules throughout the entire book. The Gardier are given no depth, they are a faceless evil. The "primitives" are shallow, following the typical book wherein they need to have all their traditions proven to be wrong by a more knowing culture. The book could not seem to decide what it wanted to be. At times high fantasy, escape story, war story, epic quest, and even a sad attempt at subversive espionage activities. Perhaps if the focus had been on a couple of these items it would have worked better, but none were expanded on enough to catch my interested, making the whole read fairly disjointed. Lastly, and this is neither good nor bad, this book is definitely the first in a series. There is very little resolution in this book, it is obviously a setup for the future.And for perhaps the strangest nit-pick I have every had, every male character of note in the book had a name that started with either A, I, or G(mostly G). Gardier, Giliead, Gerard, and Gervas. I am not sure if anyone else reads the way I do, but this caused me to backtrack and figure out which character is which several times.2 stars. I can see it being of interest for fans who want something different, but for me it tried too many things, and did very few of them very well.

  • William Leight
    2018-12-30 13:23

    As might be expected from the first in a trilogy, “The Wizard Hunters” has a lot of setup in it, but Wells prevents this from dragging by deploying the backstory in the form of a series of unfolding revelations. Depressed, bohemian playwright Tremaine Valiarde (our heroine) is not what she seems: her father Nicolas was an adventurer and master criminal, and Tremaine’s unusual background has given her some unexpected skills and attitudes. The mild-mannered, scholarly wizard Gerard, being a former associate of her father, is also not quite what he appears to be. Giliead and Ilias, the hunters of the title, are far more intelligent and resourceful when facing a technologically and magically superior foe than their relatively primitive society would seem to suggest. And most importantly, the experimental magical device that was left with Tremaine by her father’s old friend Arisilde Damal prior to his and Nicolas’s disappearance is far more than simply a handy gadget for moving between worlds. Otherwise, though, the book follows a fairly predictable arc, with intervals of backstory alternating with action sequences that help to illuminate what the characters are learning, and finishing with a small victory, the difficulty of which makes clear the magnitude of the task that will be faced over the next two books. As Wells is adept with both backstory and action sequences, this is nothing to complain about. If we don’t learn much about the Gardier, who are almost invincible, vaguely steampunky, and pure evil, Ile-Rien — fin-de-siecle England, except that we’re in Paris — and the Syprians — Giliead and Ilias’s people, whose world has a resemblance to the ancient Mediterranean basin, except with more evil wizards — are both well-described, and Wells gets good mileage out of the clash between a culture where magic is omnipresent and one where wizards are evil madmen and any sign of magic is to be shunned. And the action sequences are, as always, brilliantly done: Wells expertly maintains tension as the characters maneuver around the island where they spend much of the book, trying to avoid both its former inhabitants — the vicious creations of the evil wizard who used to have his base there — and its current ones, the equally vicious Gardier. Extra urgency is added by the Rienish characters’ knowledge that the fall of their country (which gives its title to the trilogy) is a matter of weeks at most. The characters are mostly handled competently, with the main arc involving Tremaine, giving something useful to do and something to hope for, emerging from her funk. Though watching Tremaine surprise people, including herself, is a lot of fun, Giliead is the other key to the book. As the Chosen of his god and the defender of his people against wizards, he is placed under an almost impossible burden, one that is made worse by the way that most Syprians view any contact with magic — even defeating it — with suspicion. Creating a believable character from these ingredients requires a tricky balancing act between an unrealistically pure hero and an angsty mess, but Wells pulls it off very well.

  • Lorelei
    2018-12-21 10:15

    I went back and forth on whether I wanted to rate this one 3 or 4 stars. I did get what wanted out of it, which was an engaging and not overly-heavy adventure story, but I don't think I'd come back to it, and I'm not in a huge hurry to read the sequels. Tremaine and Ilias are great characters, but most of the secondary characters feel less developed. The setting of Ile-Rien is an unusual one for fantasy, but we don't get a lot of time to explore it outside of Tremaine's memories. Meanwhile the culture of Ilias's people felt underdeveloped to me. Maybe it's a side effect of the plot, but I just didn't get much of a sense for them beyond being apparently in constant danger from psychopathic wizards. The story is doing a lot at once, and I think maybe I wanted more time in one place or the other that wasn't all crisis. I want to read about Tremaine growing up in Vienne with Nicholas and Arisilde, trying to fit into society and inventing herself as the "flighty artist" to escape her father's world.I'm kinda disappointed in the Gardier as villains. Their primary motivations seem to be as evil as possible? I don't know, a war out of nowhere with a mystery enemy feels like a very empty conflict. Maybe the later books will do more to complicate them, but we had a brief glimpse of a Gardier POV that did nothing but reinforce the evil warmonger for its own sake view, so I'm not convinced it will happen. My favorite thing about the ending was the revelation about the true nature of the sphere and the Gardier's magic, and finding out more about what is going on with all that is probably what will keep me reading.

  • Lindsay Stares
    2019-01-10 14:14

    Premise: Tremaine lives in a world at war. Her home, the nation of Ile-Rien, has been besiged for years by the people known to them as the Gardier. They come in airships to bomb the cities, can disable engines and mechanisms from afar, and nothing Rien's highly educated sorcerers have come up with has been able to defend them. Somewhere both close and very far away, Ilias and Giliead live in a fishing village. There are indications that a wizard may be operating on the Isle of Storms, and they go to investigate. They are ready to kill, since of course all wizards are corrupt and insane. Tremaine's heirloom, a mysterious sphere, holds the key to a spell that will change the course of the war and bring two very different cultures face to face.Now this is fabulous world-building. Ile-Rien is at a vaguely late-Victorian level of technology, plus some very civilized magic. Sypria is at a medieval level, plus a relationship with local gods and a pathological distrust of magic. The confrontation between the worlds does run the risk of feeling obvious when I describe it that way, but the characters are so unique and well drawn that I completely accepted both points of view.Tremaine is a fantastic character from the first page. The last daughter of a somewhat checkered family, her inital melancholy introspection is soon driven into action. She is a mass of contradictory forces: well-spoken and well-educated but with a streak of only slightly buried violence and a fierce determination to win.Ilias and Giliead I had a slightly harder time with at first, because their setting and mindset is so different that I didn't see how the two plots could fit together. Eventually I really liked them as well, though: fearless warriors with a dark sense of sardonic humor from a society that needs them but doesn't fully appreciate them.I really enjoyed all the supporting characters as well; there is a complex web of allegiances which is constantly shifting. Hanging over the character drama is the looming threat of the Gardier, whose motives seem inscrutable. There is a huge reveal late in the book that was masterfully done, and while I expected a twist of some sort, I didn't imagine it would be so fascinating.While I wouldn't characterize this book as extremely brilliant or ground-breaking, I did completely adore it, and I moved immediately on to Book Two.

  • Aelvana
    2018-12-26 14:23

    Tremaine is looking for a way to kill herself when Gerard, an old family friend, shows up to ask for the sphere her uncle gave her when she was a child. Their country is under attack by an unknown enemy, and the spheres are a vital piece of the defensive effort. But the sphere refuses to respond unless Tremaine is there, so she finds herself enlisted in an adventure stranger than any she could've imagined . . .The plot takes a little while to get going on Tremaine's side, but her character is compelling enough to draw you along. She wants to kill herself, but not in a manner that would leave anyone suspecting murder. Volunteering for dangerous work helping people in the bombed-out areas of the city hasn't worked so far---she's still more alive than she wants to be. The details of her character, her country, and the war are precise and subtle. I really like the way Wells draws people on the page. Tremaine doesn't understand her own motives, and she comments at one point she feels split between a flippant personality and a dangerous one, and she's not sure which is closer to the real her. And her relationship with Ilias feels right: this isn't a romance, although she is attracted to him, mostly because they're in the middle of a big mess and trying not to get killed. Maybe later, there will be time to figure out if it's love. For now, they trust and rely on each other even when they have a lot of trouble understanding each other.I also liked the different societies in play. The cultural differences aren't just window dressing, they're key. Ilias's people don't just dislike wizards, their whole society is built around killing them (which makes their reaction to sorcerers like Gerard funny and tense). And Tremaine's people may have the technology and magic, but when she's on Ilias's world she's dealing with enemies he understands far better.Overall this manages to be both very character-driven and packed with action scenes. It ties some things up but the bigger questions are unanswered, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. I rate this book Recommended.

  • Coolcurry
    2019-01-18 11:55

    The Wizard Hunters takes place in the same setting as some of Martha Wells’s previous novels, most notably Death of the Necromancer, but is the start to a new trilogy. I didn’t find it to be among Martha Wells’s best outings, but it was still an enjoyable fantasy novel.If Death of the Necromancer has parallels to the Victorian era, The Wizard Hunters has clear parallels to World War II. Basically, it’s taking Ile-Rien, a setting I’ve grown to love through Wells’s previous books, and literally blowing it up. For Ile-Rien is under attack from a mysterious and unknown enemy, the Gardier, who’s black airships seem to appear out of nowhere and who display no mercy.I think The Wizard Hunters would have had a lot less of an impact on me if I hadn’t read Death of the Necromancer. The most emotional part of the book for me was seeing the destruction wrecked on a setting I’d loved and the dire fates of the previous book’s cast.But The Wizard Hunters itself wasn’t that great. I wouldn’t call it bad, but it falls more in the category of mediocre. What draws me again and again to Martha Wells’s work is the imagination she displays in crafting her worlds, but both worlds of The Wizard Hunters (there’s two) felt like places I’d seen before. I really love the overall idea – mysterious invaders from another world appearing out of no where. It was sort of a fantasy take on alien invasion. However, there wasn’t much I found thrilling about the book. I was mostly tepid on how the plot played out and the new character cast, and I did have trouble remembering who some of the minor characters were.All that said, I may give the second book in the trilogy a shot at some point, it just won’t be high up on my to read list. So far I haven’t read a novel by Martha Wells that I’ve outright disliked or even not enjoyed enough to finish. And I do have enough lingering interest in the invasion plotline to want to see how everything plays out.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.

  • Lisa H.
    2019-01-14 07:14

    I'm a huge fan of everything Martha Wells has written, in large part because her female characters are always so well-developed and presented as strong individuals, not just an afterthought to a male-driven plot. The Wizard Hunters is the first volume of a trilogy - the first time Wells has presented a multi-volume work (for which I am grateful, having gotten fairly sick of fantasies that contain about one book's worth of substance, but are stretched to fill three -- or more.)Tremaine Valiarde is the daughter of Nicholas and Madeleine Valiarde, who were the main characters in Death of the Necromancer (set in the period prior to Tremaine's birth.) As TWH opens, Tremain's mother is dead, and her father presumed so after his disappearance. Tremaine herself, an author and playwright, has been living alone in the family home, Coldcourt, wrestling with a bout of depression, and volunteering with the Aid Society to help the victims of the current war (although in truth she seeks simply to place herself in a situation to bring about her own "accidental" death.) A previously-unknown enemy, called the Gardier, assaults not only the people and buildings of Ile-Rien, but also the magical bulwarks that shore up its defenses, as well as its armaments and any other technology they might try to use.Tremaine gets dragged into an investigation by Ile-Rien's magicians when they seek to borrow a device made for her as a toy by her "uncle" Arisilde Damal, Ile-Rien's greatest magician, who is also missing and presumed dead. Unfortunately, the sphere refuses to be employed by anyone unless Tremaine is present, and her death wish gets set aside as she and several others involved in the project -- to find a way to counteract the Gardier spells and give the military a fighting chance -- unexpectedly are transported to a different world where, with the help of allies native to that world, they might just find a way to undermine the efforts of the Gardier to destroy their beloved country.

  • Erica
    2019-01-18 15:06

    This is where I first discovered Martha Wells, and remains (with the rest of the trilogy) one of my favorite books of all time (as an English major, I do not say this lightly; for perspective, this made the short list along side Pride and Prejudice, Name of the Wind, Way of Kings, Blackout/All Clear, A Fire Upon the Deep etc.).She had me from the first line.Tremaine Valliarde is one of the most unusual heroines I've ever encountered. With her awkward tweed, bad bob, slightly suicidal tendencies, and utter impatience with foolishness, she doesn't make the likeliest candidate for epic adventure. But she does make a fabulous one. She is clumsy but determined, sarcastic but kind, cavalier to hide the fear that she'll screw everything up. Many of the other characters are just as memorable. You get the sense of having entered into the middle of a number of complicated things with read people with rather tragic but fascinating stories behind them already. I actually double checked to make sure there wasn't a book I'd missed--not in a bad way. You do learn everything you need to, when you need to. In the end it just made it feel more real and engrossing.The interaction of cultures is fascinating, especially the Syprians and those from Ile Rien. It's wonderful to actually see characters have to work through language barriers as well as very reasonable yet very problematic cultural differences. And if you feel the Gardier are a bit two-dimensional in the bad-guy department, there is some nuance to come (and explanations) later in the series, so hang in there.Good plot, great setting, great characters, and a refreshing social makeup that explores gender relations and cultural interactions without getting bogged down in it. Wonderful read all the way around.

  • Courtney Lake
    2018-12-21 10:17

    I loved the heck out of this series.... I loved Tremaine, our flawed heroine who is strong but not in an obnoxious "I'm going to write a strong woman" way that some of the authors are churning out this way. Wells writes EXCELLENT strong women, mostly because she throws in various strength of characters for all genders. There's been a matriarchal theme to both of her major series and she does it well. She has some excellent (but believable) skills that she uses, and is aware of her own weaknesses but doesn't always try to avoid them. I can completely see her as the daughter of a crime boss raised by a eccentric genius and always on the lookout for attempts on her life and safety. I really enjoyed the relationship between Ilias and Gil. They were the best of brothers and best friend relationships. The way she worked in a bunch of low key physical contact and reassurance between them, hair ruffling, hugs, close proximity sleeping, was done in a way that made it seem very natural. The side characters well also well done. All of them. And they were consistent, which is sometimes hard. I will admit I was sort of confused at the beginning. I felt I was reading the second book in a series, with the constant references to "last time" the two men were on the island of storms, and Ixion and so on. But I pushed through and it all became clear. I liked her style of Magic, how even the super powerful sorcerers from this modern world of Rien still used things like Salamanders blood, virgin hair, rosemary, salt and ash, just like hedgewitches or merlin-era wizards.

  • Jim
    2019-01-02 08:16

    Six years after reading and thoroughly enjoying The Death of the Necromancer, I came back to Martha Wells again wanting to read more of her books, and decided to start with The Wizard Hunters, the first of a trilogy set in the same universe as the previous book, but about 50 years later. It was definitely worth reading, and made me wish I'd come back to her a little sooner. Wells seems to have a gift for writing exciting, suspenseful fantasy adventures with unique and interesting characters. If you like action-oriented fantasy and settings where magic and 20th century technology co-exist, this is a series to put on your to-read list. The characters in Wizard Hunters were not quite as memorable to me as Nicholas Valiarde and his contemporaries in Necromancer, but the story was leaner and possibly better-paced. It definitely kept me turning the pages once I got going. On the whole I think Necromancer was the slightly better book though, or at least I liked it better. Three stars for now, but I might still go back and change that once I've finished the rest of the trilogy.

  • Ita
    2018-12-18 14:00

    This is the first book in my all-time favorite trilogy. I've read it numerous times and it's on my short list if comfort reads. I am so glad this trilogy is coming out in audio so I can seduce my audio- listening friends into becoming rabid Martha wells fans too.Others are better at summarizing the plot, but I'll just say that it contains my favorite male and female characters. Tremaine is strong and sarcastic without being obnoxious or bitchy. Ileas and Gilead , although they're very different, have a complete understanding of each other, are completely loyal to each other. The relationship between the three is perfect.The plotting is intricate and fast-paced, with surprises around every corner.And the world building. Wow. The story is set in 3 fascinating parallel worlds: Tremaine's steam-punky faux France, ileas and Gilead's primitive Grecian- flavored world, and the grim Gardier world.GO READ THESE BOOKS!

  • Kogiopsis
    2019-01-13 10:01

    I read this last fall and didn't take the time to do a review at the time, so now I don't recall much about it except for a few overall impressions:- Tremaine, the main character, is depressed and suicidal and while this wasn't the best portrayal of depression I've ever read, it remains a very rare trait to find in fantasy protagonists. Overall I felt like she was a good representation of what it's like to be depressed, though its effects did seem to fade rather rapidly.- There's a lot of world-hopping involved in this book and it's dizzying and confusing.- Tremaine and Florian had much more interesting chemistry than Tremaine did with her actual romantic interest - go figure.Honestly, I'm more interested in reading more of Martha Wells' writing in general than I am in continuing this series in particular, but I'll probably wind up doing both in the end.

  • Lisa
    2019-01-18 12:00

    I love the Ile-Rien universe and the various inhabitants. I first became familiar with it when I read "The Death of the Necromancer", loved it, and emailed Martha Wells asking if there were any more Nicholas Valiarde books. She replied no, but suggested that I try "The Wizard Hunters" which featured Nicholas's daughter Tremaine. I'm glad I did. The book does start off somewhat slowly, with two seemingly disparate viewpoints, but I'd read a review that addressed this and that urged the reader to stick with the book, as this would resolve itself in a few chapters and then proceed to take you on a great adventurous ride. It did, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one, "The Ships of Air".

  • Sarahz
    2019-01-06 09:56

    This is a fun series - I really like the characters, especially Tremaine and Ilias. Tremaine's unique flavor of optimism (which the other characters tease her about) is really something, and I like her ruthless, practical nature. I also like that Ilias and Gilead are very capable warriors, but still revert to much younger behavior when they're off duty and allowed to play like the brothers they are. There's a general theme in the books of the families you make being more important than the ones you're born to, since Ilias and Tremaine are both much better served by their adoptive families than their blood relatives. The mix of different technology levels and culture clashes was very enjoyable, and this book set up the future adventures well. Lots of fun.

  • Liz
    2019-01-15 08:12

    I really enjoyed this book although, I'll concede, I really needed to enjoy a book right about now because work is beginning to rear its terrible head and that means stress cannot be far behind. So I turned to this because it was recommended to...well Twitter at large by Kate Elliott and I liked Elliott's alternate Britain with magic.This was different, although in a good way. I enjoyed the adventure and it was the kind of steampunk that I like - there's magic and there's technology and people wear goggles and that's it. It's also epic fantasy with world saving and battles and espionage and it's a trilogy and I've given myself permission not to do any work for the rest of the weekend, so stay tuned for the next book in the series...

  • Johanna
    2018-12-19 12:16

    Alas, I never was able to get more than 100-ish pages into this book. I took a break from reading it, then came back to it recently hoping the second time around it would capture my imagination in ways it hadn't the first time around. But still no dice. The premise is intriguing, but the writing leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. WAY too much description, taking pages and pages to describe a moment, and rather obviously at that. There's a lot of verbatim inner monologue, characters commenting on the obvious, etc. It's a bummer, too, because I've heard great things about Martha Wells. I'll try some of her other work, maybe one of those will stick.