Thursday, May 21, 2009

When Women Were Warriors: The Warrior's Path by Catherine M. Wilson

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.


Zibilee said...

Sounds like this book was a little underwhelming, though I can imagine it would have been better as one book, like you said. In any case, my daughter might enjoy this book, so I will be keeping this one in mind.

Jena said...

Zibilee--I don't know how old your daughter is, but there are a couple of Sapphic sex scenes (not very graphic) in the book. They were part of what unbalanced about the book, I think; the narrator would talk about men and relationships abstractly, but none of the characters seemed to feel any attraction for the two men who had any part in the story.

Cheryl said...

I love it when a book takes you by surprise. I had a similar experience with Axe of Iron by J.A. Hunsinger.