Audiobook Review: Wheel of the infinite by Martha Wells

Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Martha Wells

Publication Date: July 2011

Narrator: Lisa Reneé Pitts

Author Info:

Wendy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, Wells weaves her magic and builds us a world at once unique, inviting and familiar, though it is by no means the typical medieval European fantasy setting.

 Darkness looms and terrible forces threaten to rise from the storm. The sorceress Maskelle has been summoned back from exile to aid in the annual process of remaking the Wheel of the Infinite in order to maintain peace and harmony. Maskelle travels unobtrusively with a group of play actors, but as the Voice of the Adversary she is not unknown. In fact, in spite of her dark past, she is revered as much as she is feared and her word as much as her power commands respect. Yet Wells makes it clear that she is a woman first, not merely a demi-god to be worshipped.

Along her journey, Maskelle meets the swordsman, Rian, whom she rescues from hoodlums intent on his death. He too has a questionable past, which Maskelle eventually teases out of him, just as he learns of hers. Their relationship is intriguing. I want to say that there was no spark and it did not feel genuine, but in thinking about it for a while after, I came to really appreciate how well they functioned and how easily they accepted each other. Neither of them had reason to trust each other, and, considering Maskelle’s history with her lovers, Rian ought to have gone running. Yet, they both fit together in this comfortable, pragmatic coupledom.

One of the things that sets this book apart from others in the genre is the lead character. Maskelle is not the typical heroine. She is a middle-aged woman of colour coming to terms with the creaks and groans that come with her age. She is a bit bitter, but not without reason. She is proud. She is powerful. And she knows how to laugh at herself and with those around her.

Her world is also unusual, but that should be no surprise. Once again, Wells weaves her magic and builds us a world at once unique, inviting and familiar, though it is by no means the typical medieval European fantasy setting. This has more of a modest South East Asian feel, with a myriad of people populating the different places through which Maskelle and her companions travel.

There is a heavy focus on the religious aspects of the world, which Wells carefully brings to light as the plot unravels. To be clear, by “heavy focus,” I don’t mean that this is in any way a preachy story. I simply mean that it is a prominent part of the plot through which Wells continues to show us how incredibly complete her world building skills are, without being overwhelming.

I initially listened to this as an audiobook, but eventually switched to the ebook. The narration was too disjointed and the transitions were not very smooth. I probably should have switched to the ebook sooner, as I think it would have helped me connect with the characters even more.


1 Comments on “Audiobook Review: Wheel of the infinite by Martha Wells”

  1. Pingback: Tough Traveling: Middle-Aged Heroes | The BiblioSanctum

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