Foundling Wizard is the first book in an epic fantasy series. It follows the journey of young Lorit as he discovers his wizard powers and begins his daring journey to reach the Master Wizards who can help him develop into his full potential.
Along the way, Lorit has to avoid falling into the hands of the Priests of the Temple of Ran, save other wizards from the same fate, learn as much as possible on the go and continue to his destination, taking his charges along with him. Things become more complicated when he becomes ‘paired’ with Chihon, a young sorceress, and therefore responsible not just for his own life, but hers, too.
Set in a world where every member of a family had specific tasks to complete, reminiscent of a medieval society, the descriptions are perfect for giving a background image against which to set the action. I followed Lorit’s journey in my mind’s eye and, when I found – to my surprise – a map at the end of the book, I realised my mind map fitted the author’s map almost exactly right. That is a sign of good description.
James Eggebeen’s characterization is another strong point of this book. From the main characters to the secondary ones, and even the odd market stall holder – each and every one of them has their own voice, mannerisms and look. I especially enjoyed the scenes where Lorit was at sea and those where he was crossing the Plains of Grass. Different characters, perfect descriptions. Lorit’s ‘growth’ and development is also very well thought out, as are Chihon’s. There are enough hooks in the text to hint at trouble ahead and also at hidden motivations of people Lorit depends on to continue his quest. More than once I thought Zhimosom was not sharing everything he knew, and as he matures and becomes more experienced, Lorit learns not to rely on him as much as before. The budding affection between Chihon and Lorit is a nice addition to the story.
The plot – again, one of the best features – couldn’t have been more complex, yet stays easy to follow. There is a battle between good and evil, there is a race against time, a touch of revenge, secondary strands of friendship and even closer relationships. Since all characters are so well thought out and come complete with their own histories, there are secondary plots developing from there, too. Sometimes, these plots are strong enough to mingle into the main thread of the story, as is the case with Gareb and Yerlow. No questions remain unanswered, and several twists towards the end of the book were totally unexpected.
Who would enjoy this read? Any fantasy reader, of any age. If you like wizards and a touch of magic, fantasy lands and out-of-the-ordinary creatures, you’ll enjoy this book. There is no sex or gruesome violence, so younger readers that would perhaps read the Harry Potter series would happily be able to read Founding Wizard.
I enjoyed reading this book, though I was sceptical at first – I have read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series, often read it out loud to my children, and could not imagine another wizard story that could rival it. Well, I’m pleased to say Foundling Wizard is giving Harry Potter a run for his money. I would love to read the next book in the series, as it is clear Lorit’s journey is not yet complete.
This is a good story, very well written. Well worth the time and money. I recommend it. It gets five stars from me.