This particular book has been in my ‘to read’ queue for a couple of years and I finally decided I just needed to read it and get it off my list. Part of the reason it was in the queue for so long is that no matter how many times I looked at it or opened it to read the first three chapters, it just didn’t hook me. Having gone through the whole book now, I’m still not hooked.
Returner’s Wealth follows the journey of teenager Micah as he enters wyrmeweald looking for the ‘returner’s wealth’ – treasure for those brave enough to seek it. But there are wyrmes in wyrmeweald. ‘Wyrmes’ are essentially dragons, and there is a variety of kinds, each of them dangerous to Micah and the others who seek the treasure.
While the chapters in this book are extremely short, which typically makes the pace for reading very fast, the various viewpoints and jumping around in the narrative slowed this down a great deal for me. But I think what slowed it down the most was that I simply couldn’t relate to or care about Micah. His journey never seemed realistic and the book almost followed some pretty obvious and over-used fantasy themes.
The first three-quarters of the book seem to be all about identifying the characters and the world, and the actual action of the story picks up in the last quarter of the book, but by that point I really wasn’t interested much anymore. What saved this book for me was the beautiful black and white artwork at the beginning of every chapter. This art DID make it worth flipping pages.
It is possible that young readers, who are not already familiar with so many of these themes and characters (from book series’ such as the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey), then this will appear new and marvelous, and if they are somehow captivated by the mooning Micah, then perhaps this series will have a chance to grow, but for me, it was a real bust.
Looking for a good book? Returner’s Wealth borrows from a lot of similar fantasy books and provides a slow read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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authors: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
series: Wyrmeweald #1
hardcover, 410 pages