Review of The Blight of Muirwood

SFFaudio Review

Scourge of MuirwoodThe Blight of Muirwood (Muirwood #3)
By Jeff Wheeler; Read by Kate Rudd
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 15 January 2013
11 hours [UNABRIDGED]

Themes: / fantasy / orphan / servant /

Publisher summary:

A devastating plague continues to rage through the land of Muirwood, and all hope is laid at the feet of the young woman Lia. Called as a magical protector, Lia volunteers to embark on one last quest to rescue the knight-maston Colvin – her great love – and his pupil, the alleged heir to the fallen kingdom of Pry-Ree. Undaunted by injuries, Lia sets off across land and sea warning the kingdom of the great plague that is upon them. The arduous journey leads her to the doors of Dochte Abbey, where her friends are supposedly held. However, a fallen enemy lies in wait for Lia, as well as an unbearable new truth. The revelation will pit Lia’s deepest desires against the fate of her enchanted world.

I finished this in the course of the weekend. This was partly due to various chores and activities I had to finish that allowed me the opportunity to get extra listening in, and partly due to my desire to finish the story.  While I found it enjoyable, it’s ending was mostly predictable, and I didn’t think it was as strong as the previous novel.

One of the aspects of all the books in this trilogy that I didn’t hit upon in my previous reviews is the heavy use of Christian allegory. A key concept to the series is that your ability to channel “the Medium” is largely related to your belief in it. This relates to the notion of giving your will over to that of the Medium and faith that it will protect and bless you if you do so. Many of the abilities of the medium may only be used to the benefit of others and not oneself. There is also a large theme of life after death, and resurrection of the dead. While these themes are present throughout the whole trilogy, they weren’t as much at the forefront as they were in this book. The plot of this novel largely revolves around testing the main character Lea’s faith in the Medium.

I’m reluctant to throw out the term “Deus ex Machina” because I feel that all the events fall within the explained abilities of the Medium. Someone who is strong with it would be able to perform those actions, however I could see someone making a good case for it.

Overall, I think Mr. Wheeler does a good job of wrapping things up with a neat bow. There is certainly room for future stories in the world of Muirwood; the author’s note indicated he has a novella called Maia taking place many years after this trilogy available on his website.

Ms. Rudd is once again the narrator for the third and final book of the trilogy. As with the previous two, she a good, but not great reader with little variety in her character voices. She does attempt to do some accents for a few of the characters, but many of them sounded the same to me.

Review by Rob Zak.

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