The Wretched of Muirwood has almost 1900 Amazon reviews with a 4.5 star average and it’s the first novel in a fantasy series that also has high scores. I didn’t care much for the story. Setting and back story are so-so, characters are so-so, setting and magic system are a quasi-religion where faith will let you do stuff and fear or jealousy will keep you impotent. Real faith is not utilitarian.
Wretched of Muirwood follows the traditional unknown/poor/underdog person discovers he has magic and an important fate. In this case the underdog is Lia, an orphan left at the Muirwood abbey where she lives and serves in the kitchen. Lia tells us from the first chapter that she wants to read, to be a learner more than anything, but it’s forbidden. After 287 pages we don’t know much more about her, although we trudged through a nasty swamp, rescued a young Earl, fought off the evil sheriff and suffered homesickness.
The novel wasn’t catalogued in our system as YA but it’s obviously meant for younger readers. It’s short with plenty of white space and big print to fill 287 pages and the characters are youths. None of the emotional conflicts feel real.
Let’s say 3 stars, not horrible but not recommended.