Review: Frostwick (Wick 1.5) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4.25 stars

FrostwickStarwick is a Frostwick and a shadow of King of Lyus.  It was while he was on a mission for the king when he and the Crown Prince were attacked by a sorcerer thief intent on killing the Prince and stealing the royal seal he wore. When the thief threw a killing curse at the prince, Starwick stepped forward and took the curse upon himself.  Now Starwick is dying, his death postponed by a magical wards that hold off his death as long as he remains in the closest of proximities to the charmwick who cast it.  But the charmwick whose wards support Starwick? That would be Tyrwick, a master swordwick as well as charmwick and the bastard son of the King.  And Starwick has been in love with the black coated Tyrwick for years, a feeling that has never been returned.

Now the two must travel together to Draius, home of the Wick School and the most concentrated group of Wicks known throughout the Kingdoms.  Here they must find a spell to counteract the killing curse, aid in helping to apprehend the thief, and recover the powerful ring before the thief strikes again.  But the curse is getting stronger, and Tyrwick’s cold, disregard is sending Starwick into the depths of despair.  When all looks to be lost, can hope and a hidden love come forward to save Frostwick?

Frostwick is a short story, 64 pages, that  manages to bring back all the couples from one of my favorite books, Wick, by Megan Derr.  Wicks are sorcerers or magicians and each has one or more specialties or fields they control.  There are swordwicks (masters of fighting and protection), lyrewicks (masters of song magic), firewicks, waterwicks, well, you get the idea.  Once their power manifests itself, usually at a young age, then wick is added to the last part of their name.  Star became Starwick when he found he could not only control water but water in its cold forms of ice, snow, etc.  Starwick is first mentioned in various stories in Wick as he was the romantic love of two brothers, neither affair ending well.

Typical of Megan Derr, Starwick is not an easy man to like, he doesn’t even like himself very much.  He despises the job he does for the king,  along the line of  being a royal assassin.  Starwick has many layers to him and the same abusive background that the other wicks who attended the Royal College for Wicks suffered.  He is paired with an equally enigmatic character of Tyrwick, who treats Starwick with a rough distain. Readers of Derr’s previous novels will realize quickly that all is not what it seems between the two men and the joy is in Derr’s storyline, watching the interplay between the men, especially once they reach Draius where all the other wicks await them.  They are all here.  Creawick (my favorite), Tolkiwick, Roswick, Tolliwick,Fenwick, and all the others.  How I love them all.

And then there is the matter of the plot, which is a nifty one.  A charmwick thief throws a killing curse on the Prince which fails, but still manages to steal the ring.  He too has managed to get to Draius where he needs to steal a book Tokiwick has to help him use the power of the ring.  Megan Derr builds up our anxiety over Starwick and Tyrwick’s quest as Starwick’s pain is becoming increasingly debilitating and he loses all hope.  Powerful stuff.  The reader just aches as Starwick gives up and prepares to die, his pain made worse by having to be so close to the man he loves unrequitedly.

Here is the problem.  Frostwick is just too short to wrap up this intense, complicated story.  The end comes before you are prepared for it, and in a manner that leaves far too many questions unanswered, including who the thief was and why he wanted the Crown Prince dead.  The ending was so abrupt that I couldn’t quite believe it when I reached the last page.  The shortness of length also hurts when it comes to explaining who all these characters are, their backstories and interlocking relationships.  If you come to this book without first reading Wick, you will be utterly lost. And if you come to this book after reading Wick, you will end up a little frustrated at having so little time spent with characters you love.

But did I love this book with all the quibbles I had with it?  Yes, I did because even a short time spent with any and all of the wicks is time well spent.  And there is always the promise of more books in the Wick universe.  So yes, pick this book up but not before you start with the first one, Wick.  Or pick them both up and settle to indulge yourself in a remarkable universe full of vivid locations, wild and wonderful creations and wicks  of all sorts.

Herre are the stories in the order they should be read:

Wick (Wick #1) – read my review here.

Frostwick (Wick    #1.5)

Lovely cover designed by Megan Derr.

The Week Ahead in Reviews and Welcome 2013

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Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and the official end to 2012.  There have been plenty of highs and lows, especially lows that I am ready to let 2012 go and not mourn the loss.  But 2012 also brought me some lovely new friends, especially in our DC Metro Area M/M Romance group, my blog turned one year old and of course, Kirby found his way to our household to liven things up even further.

Today is the Redskins versus the Cowboys game (tonight actually) so this will be short and  sweet.  Yes, I know I said I was going to give them up, but then RGIII arrived, my  backbone noodled out, so I am once more a  rabid followers, sigh.

This is what our week ahead looks like:

Monday, Dec. 31st:                           Frostwick by Megan Derr

Tuesday, Jan. 1st:                             Scattered Thoughts New Year Wishes

Wed., Jan 2nd:                                  Cover Up by KC Burn

Thursday, Jan 3rd:                           Final Look at Dreamspinner Press Advent Stories

Friday, Jan 4th:                                 Bayou Loop by Lynn Lorenz

Saturday, Jan 5th:                             All I Want Is You by Marguerite Labbe

Thank you all for reading and commenting.  I hope you will stay with me in 2013.  Happy New Year from Kirby and myself and the rest of the terriers!