A Wizard's Forge, the first book in the Woern Saga by A.M. Justice, is a touch indescribable. It's fantasy, it's sci-fi, it's tragedy, drama, a bit of horror. But all those themes are well woven into a book that more than lives up to the promises it lays forth.
Victoria, Vic to those close to her, is a Logkeeper, the youngest ever. Her job is to record the history of the district, from the time the space explorers came to "Knownearth", until now. And to record the present with just as much accuracy. It is a job that Vic's family has held, and one that she has aspired to her entire life. Until the day that slave traders steal her away to Traine. She is sold into sex slavery, as most of the people she was kidnapped with, both the young men and women. There isn't discrimination to the gender of who is sold, only to their beauty and worth.
Vic is sold to the Realmlord, and is subject to psychological and physical torture, until she is a broken woman, obeying only the Realmlord and only seeing herself for her worth to him. But she does eventually build up the courage to run, and happens upon a teletransporter that takes her to another kingdom. One where she is allowed to heal, and recover herself.
Vic learns that her path is to become a warrior, to defeat the Realmlord, and to help break the stranglehold that Traine has on the world. She is successful in this, becoming the Blade to her squadron's dagger. Over and over The Dagger completes objectives thought impossible. And much of it due to Vic's desire for revenge. Eventually she knows that the time has come to travel to Traine, to meet her destiny with the Realmlord.
This seems a strange summary of the book, as there is so very much more going on. From the various courts, the histories of those lands, the inhabitants. The world building is masterful. It's very much like stepping into a fully realized world, and picking out the story of a single inhabitant. I'll be honest, it's a bit of a slog at times. The plot is so dense with goings on, with characters, and with a number of different plots and sub-plots. But it's worth it. Keep slogging, because it gets better and easier.
I highly enjoyed the book, even with my difficulties of trying to keep everything straight and sorted out. That's my problem though, not the author or the books fault. And it's nowhere near as sloggy as Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. It's closer to G.R.R. Martin. So if you're a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, action, horror, and that sort, give A Wizard's Forge a shot. Just remember, stick with it in the slow parts, because the way it plays out needs those slow bits.
I was given an ARC of this title by the publisher