Title: The Wizard’s Promise
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Hanna Duology, book 1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Strange Chemistry (May 6th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
*This review contains some mild spoilers!*
"All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.
As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help."
Hanna can control the wind and has always dreamed of becoming a witch. Instead of following her dream she works for Kolur as a fisherman’s apprentice.
In one of their fishing runs they encounter a magic storm and are blown off course. Soon after Hanna realizes Kolur is not only a fisherman, he is also a wizard with a hidden agenda, an agenda that without her knowing is taking them far from home.
Hanna grew up with her mom’s tales of adventures and even though she wanted to have adventures of her own she never thought it’d be like this; with a reluctant secretive wizard and towards an unknown destination.
I had heard great things about Cassandra Rose Clarke’s books and when I saw this book (yes, I fell for the beautiful cover) available for review I thought this was my chance. Sadly the only great thing about The Wizard’s Promise is the cover.
During the first pages of the book Hanna is very promising as a character, but soon after that evaporates and she becomes very dull.
I understand she was taken to an unknown destination without any explanation. I can understand how frustrating that must be, but I was expecting more from her that the whiny girl we get.
I also know Kolur kept secrets from her and it was difficult for her to trust him afterwards, but despite his secrets he was not only a man she knew all her life, but also her mother’s best friend. When they are cast to an unknown land, with unknown people, Hanna preferred to trust unknown people than staying with the man she knew and that by this point had been honest with her about his plans.
The secondary characters lack so much depth that it was impossible to connect with them. We have Kolur and fisherman/secret magician with so many secrets that only by the end we see some glimpses of who he really is.
Frida, a powerful witch (with secrets, of course!) who wanted to spill the beans but a promise to Kolur kept her mouth shut.
Isolfr, a mysterious non-human boy full of… guess what? Yes, Secrets. He wanted to help Hanna but couldn’t tell her why. He needed Hanna’s help but couldn’t tell her why. He follows them around but couldn’t tell her why.
That is my biggest problem with this book, so many unnecessary secrets and so many unnecessary mysteries, it was frustrating to read page after page of don’t ask questions, you don’t need to know and I can’t tell you. If at least something interesting had been happening at the same time this could have been bearable, but almost nothing happened during the whole book and what happened was boring and repetitive. They are on the boat, Hanna is controlling the wind, Hanna is fishing, Hanna is mending the sails, Hanna is sulking, Hanna is asking questions to Kolur, Kolur is not answering, they get into a magic storm, they get cast off course, they buy supplies, they fix the boat and back to being on the boat, controlling wind, fishing, mending sails, sulking, asking questions… This goes on and on and on.
The world building is the only thing interesting in this book. Different places, with different people and of course different fishes. There is magic and magic is use in all aspects of life, from the mundane to protections from evil. There are different beliefs and of course a villain and his followers, scary creatures of the Mist that weren’t that scary.
The Wizard’s Promise is a book with a lot of potential, unfortunately it stays there, in only potential. I’m not planning to read second book in this duology and sadly I cannot recommend this book.
My Verdict: 2 ½ Paws
Other books in the duology
The Wizard’s Promise (May 6th)
The Nobleman’s Revenge (TBA)
Other reviews Goodreads