Windrose Chronicles : The Silent Tower, The Silicon Mage, Dog Wizard, Stranger At The Wedding

Book Review : The Silent Tower
By Barbara Hambly

Spoiler Alert!

176308

Summary

In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions.

On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed.

With intricate world-building and complex plot twists, The Silent Tower is a compelling introduction to one of this generation’s greatest female fantasy writers.
(Courtesy of Barnes and Noble)

Adult Point of View

When summer hits I like to read an older book, it might be one that I remember reading as a teen, or something fun, light and magical. I can’t believe that books from the ’80’s are now considered “old”, but my kids inform me they are positively ancient. As far as they know Hambly was Austen’s best friend (but I digress.)

The Silent Tower was originally published in 1986. As with all the books I like from this decade, the female protagonist is strong, but she still has weaknesses. I was surprised by the complexity of Hambly’s plot and had to pay attention to keep up with the parallel universes, the computer jargon and magic. I know I didn’t absorb all the technical details surrounding the computers, programs and geeky-tech stuff, but I could gloss over it to the main plot and enjoy the story.

I liked this series because of the characters:

Joanna Sheraton gets befuddled in social circumstances, she’s very intelligent and a scatter-brain. She has let life happen to her instead of determining her own destiny, until she is confronted by magic. Once she is faced with a new reality she plucks up and gets to work on solving problems. She always has her purse with her, though non-magical, it reminds me of a bag of requirements – it always has just what she needs. Every woman could use a purse like that!

Antryg Windrose, a wizard, is considered dangerous by his peers and has been locked up in a tower that suppresses his magic. He is particularly adept at sensing the Void and can travel through to other parallel universes. The one problem, besides having been trained by the most evil magician of all time, is that he is mad.

Stonne Caris, raised with some magic, and committed as a ninja-type warrior is faced with the problem of his own humanity. He was trained to be no more than a tool, a sword for the wizards. The problem is a tool cannot make choices, and Caris is faced with many sticky situations and has to become human again.

 

3.25 out of 5 stars

-Michelle

 

Book Review: The Silicon Mage
By Barbara Hambly

Spoiler Alert!

176267

 

Summary

It was impossible, Joanna knew. When she betrayed her lover Antryg Windrose to the Council, he had been sentenced to death. Then she had believed his brain was possessed by the Dark Mage Suraklin, though now she knew that Suraklin had chosen Gary Fairchild. But guilty or innocent, Antryg was separated from her by the awesome Void between the worlds, far from any hope of rescue.

Nevertheless, she had to save him. Suraklin was planning to gain immortality by placing his mind in a computer that would get its power by draining the life-force from all on both worlds, dooming everyone to eternal misery and hopelessness. And only Antryg was strong enough a wizard to challenge the Dark Mage.

Once again, Joanna dared the fearsome tunnel through the Void, praying desperately that Antryg still lived and that she could find help to free him. If not…But she refused to think of that. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

Joanna was faced with a terrible decision in the first book and chose incorrectly. Gary Fairchild was oily in the first book and now he reeks of evil, not really an improvement to recommend him as a boyfriend. At least she finally knows the truth about Suraklin, and even more importantly about love – and herself.

The Silicon Mage introduces a new character, a sentient being from another universe who is technologically advanced. Imagine his surprise getting stuck in this backward world? He tried to become a god, but it didn’t really suit his palette. Antryg continues to be one of my favorite character as he rolls with every situation, from royals to peasants to monsters. He has a completely forgiving nature of Joanna’s mistake and still maintains that he is mad. I wonder if he doesn’t have the most sense of all.

3.25 out of 5 stars

-Michelle

 

 

Book Review: Dog Wizard
By Barbara Hambly

Spoiler Alert!

176276

 

Summary

On any given day in Los Angeles, you might meet a person claiming to be a wizard from another world. In the case of Antryg Windrose, it happened to be true.

Though Joanna Sheraton was an A-1 professional hacker, she could honestly say that computers weren’t her whole world—nor was the city of Los Angeles, the United States or the planet Earth as most people knew it, for that matter. Because Joanna had crossed the Void between universes into another reality, where magic was the only true science.

There she’d met Antryg Windrose, a mad renegade wizard, who, owing to a rather bizarre set of circumstances, now lived with her in sunny California—seemingly as far away as he could get from his former colleagues on the Council of Wizards. Most of them considered him a charlatan…a mere dog wizard who lacked the proper discipline needed to wield magic. Yet when monsters began invading the Council’s world—abominations from across the Void—even those mages not convinced Antryg was responsible knew that he was their best chance of combating the terror.

So they pooled their power to Summon him back, a call he fully intended to ignore…until they took away that option by kidnapping Joanna. Then he had no choice but to try to rescue her, though he knew it might cost him his magic, and his life.
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

 

One of my favorite moments is when Antryg lists wizard as a former occupation on his resume as he applies to be a bartender. The owner of the bar had lived in L.A. for a long time and didn’t seem surprised, though perhaps that was because Antryg reassured him that he had never accepted money as a wizard.

Dog Wizard is the culmination of all the preceding events, full of monsters, atrocities, technical geniuses, failed warriors, wizards, computers, piqued royals, betrayal and, of course, love. Antryg and Joanna seem to be on a merry-go-round between universes with the Void as their ticket gate. I continue to enjoy their relationship the most. Each is independently interesting and even more fun when they’re together.

3.25 out of 5 stars

-Michelle

 

Book Review: Stranger At The Wedding
By Barbara Hambly

Spoiler Alert!

176306

Summary

Kyra was preparing for her final wizard test before the Council. But suddenly, something was twisting her magic, weaving sinister portents of doom into even the simplest of her spells. Then she knew for certain that her young sister Alix was soon to marry–and soon to die. And so she journeyed back to the family who had disowned her. To save her sister, Kyra would have to face down her father’s rage, stand firm against the venomous rivalries of her family’s enemies, and confront the Inquisition. Then she must defeat a still deadlier foe–if only she could find it! (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

Stranger At The Wedding is set in the same universe, but is not an extension of the story surrounding Antryg and Joanna. It is also less complex than the first three books and could be read as a stand alone. Strong subjects are touched on, such as, a pedophile, but nothing is overly descriptive.

A minor character in the third book, Kyra, is now the protagonist. She has a strong will, a sharp tongue and unusual fashion sense. Kyra’s sister, Alix, is sweet and young. She is smart, but prattles which hides her intelligence. Alix is soon to wed a man, whom she doesn’t know and the biggest problem is that she loves a totally unsuitable man.

The final resolution seemed flat to me. Kyra can’t leave behind her magic and she can’t marry the man she comes to love. It felt like she ends up with half of each, but only for the next couple of years – the time he feels like he can run away from his responsibilities as the heir to a shipping dynasty. I don’t know how there could have been a better ending since the world created wouldn’t allow for their marriage.

3.25 out of 5 stars

-Michelle

 

Other books from the ’70’s, ’80’s & ’90’s by female authors I recommend are:

The Raven Ring by Patricia Wrede
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

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About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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