Returner’s Wealth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Review by Floresiensis
May 2010 will see Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, creators of the multi-million-selling Edge Chronicles, return with a brand-new frontier-fantasy trilogy. The Wyrmeweald series will have Stewart and Riddell’s existing fan-base hoping for much that is new and fresh while also crossing their fingers and praying that it contains the same elements that made the Edge Chronicles so enjoyable and involving. This is the very balance that the author’s hope to reach, as Paul Stewart explains:
“The Edge has dominated our lives for ten years and we’ve loved every moment of it, and we wanted to do something new, something which is familiar enough to appeal to our fans but different enough to bring a freshness and element of surprise.”
The good news is that fans need not fear, as they will not be disappointed in the slightest; Wyrmeweald: Returner’s Wealth will prove to be everything they hoped for, possibly even more. Stewart and Riddell have kept the ingredients that worked in their preceding work, transferred them to a new setting and created a thoroughly entertaining and touching story that will appeal to book lovers everywhere.
So what is it all about? Here is the synopsis:
Young pioneer, Micah, enters Wrymeweald full of hope to return home having made his fortune. But this is a land where wyrmes, fabulous dragon-like beasts, roam wild and reign supreme. In Wyrmeweald man is both hunter and hunted - and seventeen-year-old Micah may never return alive, let alone a hero...After a near-brush with death on the edge of a canyon, Micah soon finds a chance to prove his worth when he meets with Eli, a veteran tracker of Wrymeweald. They choose to defend a rare whitewyrme egg and its precious hatchling before it falls into the hands of a band of evil Kith. But the fledgling wyrme has its own guardian in the shape of the beautiful, brave and dangerous Thrace. Thrace, a Kin and a highly skilled wyrme rider-assassin; and Micah, a would-be Kith, should never mix - but the magnetism between them is strong. Together they join forces on a mission to rescue the hatchling and seek vengeance for loved-ones lost at the hand of Kith bandits. Meanwhile the glorious whitewyrme colony of Wyrmeweald looks on as its land is encroached by gold-diggers and ravaged by bounty hunters. Is Exodus the only option? And if so, when - and where - will they flee too?
Sometimes it can be difficult to get into a new fantasy series, the new setting and previously unknown characters can take a while to become familiar. Often it is not until this familiarity awakens that the readers really begin enjoying themselves. There are no familiarity problems at the beginning of Returner’s Wealth and this is where Stewart and Riddell show their greatest talent and skill. Within pages (not chapters) the warm and comfortable immersion necessary for good reading enjoyment has come about and the reader feels at one with the wonderful characters and the spectacular setting.
Inspired by the landscapes of the American West and the remote Scottish highlands Stewart and Riddell have created a harsh, menacing and expansive wilderness into which they send young Micah, as Paul Stewart continues; “I love old cowboy films which are about real life, hardship, toil, survival. I love that elemental danger. And of course there’s always a good love story!”
Whilst the Edge Chronicles often displayed their abhorrence of the slave trade, the first Wyrmeweald book highlights the cruelty, savagery and waste of poachers.
Returner’s Wealth marks the beginning of what appears to be another excellent series from two very talented men. The illustrations have been played down but are still as show stopping and worth looking forward to as always, helping to accompany the magnificent story itself. The themes explored are the dangers of enjoying killing, the empty feeling left after revenge has been exacted, the rapaciousness and wanton destruction and waste of humankind and love that is not always returned. The characters stories interweave beautifully and at no time is there a lull in the narrative. Wyrmeweald: Returner’s Wealth is fantastic – absorbing, stirring and intelligently written – everything you could possibly want from a fantasy book. Fantasy Book Review could not recommend it more highly.
Rodo from Cumbria, UK
I Love It, I Absolutely Cannot Wait For The Rest Of The Trilogy. There Is Way I Could Error This Book, Or Put It Down For That Matter! I Love The Characters; Eli's Kind Heart Yet Tough Way Of Life, Thrace's Unpredictable Turns Of Mood, Micah's Curious And Want-To-Do-Well Personality. They All Fit Together So Perfectly, And The Illustrations, Though Infrequent They Are Stunning As Per Usual With Riddle's Fine Talent. The Description Is Fa ntastic, It Really Builds Up An Image In Your Head About Places Like The Gutting Tarn And The Vast Expanses Of Desert. A Definite 10/10 And Well Worth Buying, If You Haven't Read It, Do So Now. It's a Fantastic and Enthralling Read!!!!!
Phoenix from Doncaster
Just finished Wyrmeweald: Returner's Wealth. I think that it is a brilliant and enthralling book, the characters and the landscape are fantastically written, I had difficulty putting it down. 10/10 from me and I would absolutely recommend it.
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