The Wizard Hunters

by Martha Wells

Hardcover, 2003



Call number

PS3573 .E4932



Eos (New York, 2003). 1st edition, 1st printing. 400 pages. $24.95.


Ile-Rien is in peril. A mysterious army known only as the Gardier has surrounded the country, attacking in ominous black airships. Hope is not lost though, for a magical sphere created by Ile-Rien's greatest sorcerer may hold the key to defeating the faceless enemy. But the sphere is unpredictable and has already claimed several lives. When a magical spell goes disastrously awry, young Tremaine Valiarde and a brave band are transported to another world--a world of rough magics, evil mages, honorable warriors, and a secret Gardier base.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ronincats
The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells is a book I read for an online discussion group. (pre LT, remember back when AOL had online discussion groups? This is the remnant of one of those, Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy.) There is a book that precedes this, and someone who reviewed this commented that some of the same characters are in this book, so knowing what happened to them took some of the fun/suspense out of reading the first trilogy. I can see that happening.

We start out with the character of Tremaine in Ile-Rien. This starts off full of interest--I really liked the beginning. Her nation is under attack by mysterious enemies, and losing. Because of her ownership of a sphere, she is pulled into the resistance, which is trying to follow the enemy back into another dimension where their attack bases are located. A second frame of reference is with the natives of that world (Syrnai), two men who are wizard hunters. After really good introductions to both point of view characters, the story settles down to rather more mundane exploration of each other's cultures, us against the dual bad guys, explosions and rescues. It's the first of a trilogy, so although it ends at a certain climax, there is obviously much more to come.

What I liked: the characters of Tremaine and Ilias.

What I didn't like: rather plebian us-against-them action. It wasn't bad, but it didn't catch me up and make me not want to put the book down. In the nature of trilogies, this may change in later books.

From what I have read, The Death of the Necromancer (the pre-story) may be a stronger book. I actually thought it was going to deal with the Syrnaic backstory, which appears to be considerable, but it doesn't. It is all Ile-Rien backstory.

At this point, I would give this a lukewarm recommendation. It is at least on a par with most fantasy being published, probably better than many, but not on my A or B list.
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LibraryThing member Shrike58
Tremaine Valiarde is seeking death, but not just any death. It has to be the stylish sort of death that looks like the hand of fate. Having been left alone in the world, humiliated, and facing the destruction of her nation by an implacable enemy, you might also wish to pass away. Instead, Tremaine gets an adventure where she has to live up to her underworld heritage and embrace the cathartic cleansing that only assauged vengeance can give.

Though this is only the first book in a trilogy, if you've read the other stories Martha Wells has set in Ile-Rien you'll enjoy this one too.

If I have to mark it down for anything it's that the plot depends a little too much on 'deus ex machina' plot devices; though in regards to this book that is ironic in its own way.
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LibraryThing member robrobriver
The first book of a trilogy set in Wells' world of Ile-Rien, which has been invaded and nearly destroyed by ruthless airships. There are obvious parallels to World War II. Tremaine, the heroine, is pragmatic, complex, and not especially likeable, though she finds friends and allies before the book is done. Worth rereading.
LibraryThing member wealhtheowwylfing
Dammit, Wells! Her first book was excellent, her second was good, her third was terrible and this, her fourth, is only passably good. The story starts with the main character trying to kill herself. She’s sarcastic about the reasoning behind her suicide, which really endeared her to me; unfortunately, I didn't like the character that much for the rest of the novel. Wells excels at constructing theories of magic and dealing with the ensuing complications, and the novel itself is set in a magical version of Britain during the Blitz. Good enough that I'll read the sequels.
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LibraryThing member pwaites
The Wizard Hunters takes place in the same setting as some of Martha Wells’s previous novels, most notably Death of the Necromancer, but is the start to a new trilogy. I didn’t find it to be among Martha Wells’s best outings, but it was still an enjoyable fantasy novel.

If Death of the Necromancer has parallels to the Victorian era, The Wizard Hunters has clear parallels to World War II. Basically, it’s taking Ile-Rien, a setting I’ve grown to love through Wells’s previous books, and literally blowing it up. For Ile-Rien is under attack from a mysterious and unknown enemy, the Gardier, who’s black airships seem to appear out of nowhere and who display no mercy.

I think The Wizard Hunters would have had a lot less of an impact on me if I hadn’t read Death of the Necromancer. The most emotional part of the book for me was seeing the destruction wrecked on a setting I’d loved and the dire fates of the previous book’s cast.

But The Wizard Hunters itself wasn’t that great. I wouldn’t call it bad, but it falls more in the category of mediocre. What draws me again and again to Martha Wells’s work is the imagination she displays in crafting her worlds, but both worlds of The Wizard Hunters (there’s two) felt like places I’d seen before. I really love the overall idea – mysterious invaders from another world appearing out of no where. It was sort of a fantasy take on alien invasion. However, there wasn’t much I found thrilling about the book. I was mostly tepid on how the plot played out and the new character cast, and I did have trouble remembering who some of the minor characters were.

All that said, I may give the second book in the trilogy a shot at some point, it just won’t be high up on my to read list. So far I haven’t read a novel by Martha Wells that I’ve outright disliked or even not enjoyed enough to finish. And I do have enough lingering interest in the invasion plotline to want to see how everything plays out.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
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LibraryThing member iansales
I bought this a few years ago for a planned reading challenge in which each month for a year I’d read the first book of a popular fantasy series and then write about it. I lasted six months before giving up. The Wizard Hunters, the first book of The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, I’d heard positive noises about, so I picked it as one of my twelve books. And it’s sat on my TBR ever since. Now that I’ve read it, I suspect I might have enjoyed it more if I’d read as part of reading challenge – it probably stacks up better against the other books I’d chosen back then, when I was a little more receptive to epic fantasy. Now, reading The Wizard Hunters I found myself mostly bored, and annoyed at how bad a lot of the writing was. Often I’d have to go back and reread something because Wells’ prose wasn’t clear enough – there was a line, which I now can’t find, of course, in which the main protagonist Tremaine shakes her head and then puts it to one side. Tremaine was, I admit, fun; as was her companion, Florian (a woman in the book, even though the name is masculine; but never mind); and I did like the mix of magic and early twentieth-century technology… But it took too long for the story get moving, the writing bounced from serviceable to bad, and there was far too much back-story the reader was expected to know. I won’t be, er, hunting down the sequels.… (more)


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Physical description

400 p.; 6.13 inches


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