When Catherine Wilson queried me about writing a book review for the first book in her When Women Were Warriors trilogy, I naturally went to check out her site. And I almost said no because in my experience, self-published fiction tends to be the result of delusions of grandeur. But after I read the excerpt on her site, I decided to give it a try.
I'm glad I did. Wilson's book was intended to be the first part of an epic book, but when she decided to self-publish, she decided (considering advice from an editor and friends) to publish it as a trilogy instead. The Warrior's Path follows a young woman who's desire is to become a warrior, like her mother before her. In order to do this, she must find a warrior in the Lady's service who will apprentice her, but she's a small woman, a trait not treasured in the warrior mind. The Lady assigns her as a companion to a warrior who is a stranger to the realm and is tasked with learning more about her.
I like Wilson's style, despite a little repetitiveness. Story-telling plays a pretty major role in the story, and I'm certain that this probably remains the case throughout the rest of the trilogy, which appeals me. You know how much I like story-telling in books. I love that all the stories, instead of "Once upon a time," start, "In ancient days, when only women were warriors..."
The setting is well-developed, but the characters fell short of my expectations. I would have liked more conflict, internal and external; even at the end of book one, I don't have a deep sense of most of the characters. And the lack of men in the story (the few in the book are peripheral characters) threw a balance off; I'm curious as to whether this will be remedied in the next two installments.
If Wilson had published her story as one long book, I would certainly have kept reading; I'm not sure, though, whether I will go about the process of getting the next two books (as I already have 30 books to read before the summer's out--and that's just by the end of summer). Though I mostly enjoyed this first in the trilogy, I'm afraid many of her readers will feel the same: I really wish this had been one book.