The Wizard Hunters

by Martha Wells

Hardcover, 2003



Call number

PS3573 .E4932



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


With the country of Ile-Rien under attack, a mystical sphere created by Ile-Rien's greatest sorcerer accidentally sends Tremaine Vallarde and others to another world filled with chaos, where Tremaine must unearth the secrets of the sphere.

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 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)
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 bezoar44
Entertaining fantasy; some steampunk elements, such as airships lifted by flammable gas; but other technological details seem more like World War II era; and magic permeates everything. The plot involves a forlorn hope from one world encountering a set of wise primitives on reconnaissance in another, all in the shadow of a powerful and mysterious menace from a third. Most of the key characters are engaging; the cultures they hail from suffice, but aren't particularly memorable. Still, I'll enjoy the rest of the series.… (more)


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Physical description

400 p.; 6.13 inches


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