All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.I enjoyed The Wizard's Promise. I don't think it was as ground-breaking as the earlier two books, but it was a pleasant read. It can be summarised as "girl who wants to be a witch is stuck being a fisherwoman and a three-day fishing trip goes exceedingly awry."
As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.
One of the things I like about this world is how equal women are. It's not unusual that Hanna is a) a fisherwoman and b) has magic. When, later in the book, she finds herself alone in a strange place, she finds work on a (different, larger) fishing boat to make enough money to get by. No one ever questions her ability to do things because of her gender (a little bit because of her age, but even then, not very much).
One of the things that bugged me in the earlier books was Annana's accent/dialect, emphasised by the first-person narrative. That was absent in The Wizard's Promise, which made it an easier read, I think. But on the other hand, there wasn't the element of amusing banter between the two leads. Hanna spends a lot of time more or less alone. She makes friends and is never completely isolated, but most of the time she is alone in her mission. On the other hand, it was refreshing to read a book with such a self-sufficient heroine. She doesn't break down when things go wrong and she is stranded alone, but rather takes the most practical steps she can to work towards getting back home.
Also, there isn't a romantic storyline (although there might be in the sequel), despite what the blurb implies. Isolfr, the boy mentioned in the blurb, is more of an enigma than a love interest. Mind you, his magical abilities do lead to some amusing interactions, which I won't spoil. Overall, this possibly could have been a bit more fast-paced, but I was never bored, there were just a few slower bits. Thinking about it more, it's probably more a case of the plot not building up to a save-the-world-type event, but rather a more sustained level of excitement with a few peaks before the climax.
As I said, The Wizard's Promise was a fun read. I would recommend it to fans of adventure stories, YA or otherwise. It's not the most exciting read ever, but not everything has to be. I will definitely be picking up any sequels and will probably keep on reading everything the author writes.
4 / 5 stars
First published: May 2014, Strange Chemistry
Series: yes? Book 1 of 2 and also part of an on-going universe
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley