Legends of Muirwood

Author: Jeff Wheeler
Title: The Wretched of Muirwood (#1), The Blight of Muirwood (#2) and The Scourge of Muirwood (#3
Published: 2011

Legends of Muirwood is a fantasy trilogy written by Jeff Wheeler, following Lia who is a wretched (an abandoned child) in a world where family legacy is everything. Her unkown parentage has made her strong in a magic forbidden to her kind, which will become essential in saving the world.

I enjoyed the first two books in a light-read kind of way. The characters were enjoyable to read, and the story was full of action. The world is not particularly fleshed-out, and the conflict is extremely black & white. The christian influence was obvious from the beginning, but I didn’t mind until I read the third book. I enjoyed the story while reading, but while processing it I noticed things that I had excused due to the medieval-like time period and the young age of the protagonist.

Suddenly I realized I’ve been reading something that seems like Christian extremism fan-fiction.

The main character goes from being a little bit of a troublemaker to «the prophesied/chosen one». Not usual for YA fantasy. Only the thing that separates her from others is that she is not her set of skills or her knowledge, but that she is extraordinarily obedient to the “medium” (God). The Medium grants her amazing powers, but only when she acts according to its plan. She is taught to never doubt the vague feelings she get, only to trust that the Medium is right in all things.

My biggest problem with this trilogy isn’t that the characters become less interesting as the books go on, or that the world seems very simple/small, or even the extremely black and white conflict.

My biggest problem is that all the evil beings are women. Men who do bad things only do them because they have been corrupted by the evil female sexuality. The evil women are recognized by their cleavage, provocative dancing and the fact that they will kiss men they are not married to.

The main character was also kept from reading and writing (why would she need to know how when the Medium will tell her what she needs in order to fulfill her destiny?) in order to stay pure and obedient, since educated women are more likely to become evil.

Without spoiling too much, the Medium’s (and therefore the main character’s) main goal is something extremely morally questionable (if not outright evil). Normally I enjoy that, only in this instance it is barely mentioned as questionable. The faithless are left to their doom with barely a thought about their suffering, since, after all, they were warned.

The series also ends in a very unsatisfying (too neat) way, possibly a consequence of following only one character while the rest of the good ones seem to perfectly tie up their ends.

I was fooled by the pretty great ratings on Goodreads (3.94 – 4.09 stars), but I would not recommend this trilogy to anyone who is not interested in a lecture of how educated and attractive women ruin the world. Literally.

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