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Wheel of the Infinite Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Along with the incredible world-building, the characters are just great. Sure, they save the world, but really they're all just trying to pick up the pieces of the various mistakes they've made along the way, from demon-possessed puppets to vengeful dark spirits to a serious case of unemployment.
I'm not doing this book justice, but if you're in the mood for smart, exasperated, sarcastic people solving the mystery of why the fabric of the world seems to be coming apart, this is a treat.
I'm reviewing at this length because I think the book is intriguing, but it is buried in superfluous detail.
As always, the world building is gorgeous, slipped so smoothly into the text you barely notice it's there, but with so much detail and thought gone into it's construction. The different cultures are unique and distinct, rather than the variations on medieval culture that seems to dominate the market. You can tell Wells has gone to some effort to move outside the usual conventions of fantasy with the complications posed by the Wheel. This is not your standard magical object, or heroic quest. There are elements of mystery, with the characters struggling to find the source of the interference while dealing with their own painful histories. The nightmarish figure of the cursed puppet afforded some moments of black comedy and was genuinely disturbing. Best of all, there is no 'light' or 'dark' side of magic, which I find an incredibly irritating and arbitrary convention in modern fantasy. There is only magic, it's misuse, and the consequences: all of which figure strongly in Maskelle's past and the reasons for her exile.
I was slightly taken aback by the ending, and the appearance of a certain character. I felt it was maybe too easy a solution for such a massive problem. On a second read through, I realised that hints had been dropped the whole way through, and it actually did make a great deal of sense when taking into account the history of the Ancestors and Maskelle's dealings with the Adversary. On the whole, it was much more satisfying the second time round, probably because I took more time with it. Either way, it's a very enjoyable read and well worth ordering in.
*set in an alternate world version of SE Asia (Angkor Wat & surroundings)
*Lovely stubborn older female protagonist
*Supporting cast of crazy actors with a possessed puppet
*Worldbuilding by way of the two main characters thinking the other's culture is weird
*a mandala that actually rebuilds the world, with consequences & intrigue