Book Review: A Tapestry of Spells by Lynn Kurland

Posted February 12, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: A Tapestry of Spells by Lynn Kurland

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Tapestry of Spells by Lynn Kurland
Genres: Fantasy
Published by Berkley on January 5, 2010
Pages: 371
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Dreams of Lilacs, Ever My Love, Star of the Morning, The Mage’s Daughter, Princess of the Sword, Dreamspinner, River of Dreams, Dreamer's Daughter

Fourth in the Nine Kingdoms fantasy series and revolving around Gair of Ceangail’s dead children. The couple focus is on Sarah and Ruith of Ceangail.

My Take

I swear, I am so confused over which book actually starts this series. I’m not sure if it matters, for the first four or five books, if you read them in order.

A Tapestry of Spells is a bit soap opera-ish with its fairy tale style, and it and Sarah and Ruith’s quest pulls me right in.

Sarah’s burn is a plot voucher that must be resolved while those pages from Gair’s books are plot coupons that must be recovered. It’s Ruith who knows what to do with them, but it’s Sarah who can find them, forcing them into a partnership as they track Daniel’s journey.

It’s quite the antagonistic partnership with each doing their best to hide the truth of themselves. One in which friendship slowly grows, as they travel, gathering broken mages, and suffering through rogues, cheats, and thieves.

“‘Didn’t we just have this conversation?’

‘I didn’t like the ending of it.'”

It’s a fantastical world with its magic and dreams.

“Perhaps we’ll eventually collect enough injured mages to make up a single, whole mage…”

That Sarah, lol, she’s a character and such a contrast with her evil brother. I love how determined she is at the start with her well-laid plans and then picks herself up even as she vacillates over her brother’s plans.

Kurland teases us with what must have happened to that ten-year-old Ruith, as Ruith remembers that fateful day at the well, although I am confused as to why Ruith felt he had to hide out in this little house on the mountain for the past twenty years.

It’s a grown up fairytale with lots of action and plenty of characters with a reasonable pace. It’s the prose that frustrated me sometimes with its combination of the normal and the flowery.

The Story

Sarah may not have inherited her mother’s abilities, but she has certainly been planning for a disappearance. One that isn’t thwarted by the loss of everything she’d planned for her journey, for Daniel’s actions force her to take to the road.

It may not be the road Sarah had planned, and it certainly isn’t Ruith’s choice. For he is determined to not become his father

The Characters

Sarah of Doire is a weaver and is considered the village witch. Castân is Sarah’s faithful chestnut steed. At the very start, at least. Ned Crodh is a nervous boy whom Sarah inherited when her mother, Seleg, the witchwoman, died. Daniel is Sarah’s evil brother.

Ruithneadh “Ruith” is the youngest son of the evil Prince Gair of Ceangail, who was unpredictable in temper and going mad. An extremely evil mage who had been so very full of himself. Osag will be Ruith’s horse.

When Gair was 1,000 years old, he married Sarait of Torr Dòrainn, an elven princess. Ruith had had five older brothers who included Keir, Gille, and Eglach and one sister, Mhorghain, who had been but six that fateful day. Seanagarra had been his beautiful childhood home.

The wizardess Eulasaid of Camanaë lives near Gilean and is Ruith’s grandmother. Sgath, the son of Ghèillear, is Ruith’s paternal grandfather with a lovely Folly on a lake; Taigh-mòr is the big house. Sile of Torr Dòrainn is Ruith’s maternal grandfather.

Master Franciscus is a brewer of fine ale.

Master Oban of Bruaih is the expensive mage. Seirceil of Coibhneas, the youngest son of a nobleman from Meith, is a decent, kind mage. The pretentious Connail of Iomadh was actually born of Peirigleach of Ainneamh and a tavern wench. Urchaid of an exhausting number of places is a dark horse.

Doire is…
…a village in the county of Shettlestoune. Lady Dorcas Higgleton, the alderman’s wife, has a fat purse. Prunella is her plain, shy daughter. Lord Higgleton is thrilled with the results.

The Kingdom of Neroche
Miach is the kingdom’s archmage and a bird shifter. Adhémar is Miach’s older brother and the king. Queen Deşdhemar had been their mother and the archmage before she died rescuing Miach. I think Anghmar was their father??

The Kingdom of Ainneamh is…
…an elven one.

Lord Doílain, the eldest son and one of Gair’s bastard sons, now lives at Gair’s old keep of Ceangail with many of his bastard brothers, who include Táir and Amitán.

Lothar of Wychweald, Droch of Saothair, Wehr of Wrekin, and Gair are evil mages.

Treun of Angesand didn’t allow Alan of Gilean to get away with his theft for long. Uachdaran of Léige had had a spell of concealment.

There are a slew of magics in Kurland’s world, including Fadaire; Olc; Camanaë, which is best for healing; and, Wexham, which is favored by the rulers of Neroche.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a graphic with the blues of a mountainous region with low-lying cloud. In the middle is a golden castle of stone with turrets and towers blanketed in snow. Ruith is in the foreground in a green hooded cape, mail on his shoulders and arms, a sword in one hand and his bow in the other with a quiver of arrows on his back. At the very top is an info blurb in a pale blue with the author’s name below but above Ruith’s head in white outlined in a deep gray with a slight shadow effect. The title, in a pale orange also outlined in grey using a stylized serif font, crosses Ruith’s legs. In very tiny black print, is the series information on the left and below the title.

The title refers to Sarah’s skills, for she can weave one heck of A Tapestry of Spells.

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