Imagine a world where words are so precious they are only etched in gold, and only the privileged are allowed to learn how to read. Muirwood Abbey is one of the few places where learners are taught to read and engrave, and thirteen year-old Lia wants nothing more than to learn both of these skills - yet she is a wretched, an orphan, and doomed to remain in the Aldermaston's kitchen, forbidden to read and subject to his authority. Her future is destined for preparing recipes in a privileged household until, unexpectedly, a mysterious knight-maston abandons the wounded squire Colvin at the Aldermaston's kitchen in the middle of the night. Soon after, Sheriff Almaguer comes hunting for Colvin, and Lia is thrust into the greatest adventure of her life as she and the squire are forced into a partnership that brings her closer to her dream - and Colvin closer to his fear of dying on the battlefield.
The Wretched of Muirwood is the first book of the Muirwood Trilogy.
I was fortunate to be able to pick up The entire Muirwood trilogy as Kindle Freebies, they are currently at their regular price of $2.99 each. I moved The Wretched of Muirwood up in the TBR pile because a friend had just gotten done reading the trilogy and really enjoyed them. Since I trust her judgement, I decided to give it a try!
What I found was an enjoyable medieval setting fantasy, with characters I was interested in, and a little bit of mystery to keep me wondering. I can't imagine not only not knowing how to read, but not being allowed to know how to read, because of being an orphan. It becomes clear very quickly that Lia is special, with abilities that normal Wretched do not have, and she definitely marches to her own drummer. There is plenty of action and a little magic, somewhat explained but still mysterious, and Lia's adventure matures her quickly as she takes on responsibilities that a girl her age just shouldn't have to worry about, but there is no one else and so she takes charge. Lia and Colvin don't really care for each other at first, but come to be very close, facing their fears together.
The Wretched of Muirwood is well written, good character development and description of setting and events, with a solid and interesting storyline. I look forward to the rest of the trilogy, as well as the other work I see that is available. For more information on the author visit his website jeff-wheeler.com.