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on 1 December 2015
This is the first book of the best series ever.
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on 13 July 2015
This story had me addicted from the very beginning. I simply could not put it down, it has certainly stepped up the level of fantasy novels I have been used to reading till I read these novels and have even purchased both hard and soft copies. Highly recommended!
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on 9 May 2015
Beautifully written, as all books by this author. Prepare to be transported to another world.
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on 12 April 2014
I loved Ms Wurts "Empire" books, so I was looking forward to reading this series. The story itself is excellent, very unusual and with lots of potential. Unfortunately the author has decided to write in the most flowery and pretentious style imaginable. This is not a quick read, you have to fight your way through every sentence in order to find the story. On many occasions the prose wanders so far away from the plot that you lose your way, and many times I found myself asking "what has just happened?"

Over the whole series there are many times that I can manage to pick holes in the logic of the story, and that is ultimately very frustrating. The world the story is set in is huge, well crafted but due to the small size of the maps in the books and their complexity, it is lost on you, which is a shame, also a few character have similar names which due to the complexity of the writing causes confusion.

Arriving at the end of Book 8 the conclusion was satisfactory-just, but a little disappointing. Still imagine my shock to discover that the series continues in Book 9. Reading this book upset me no-end, it begins 250years after the last one, omits many storylines and then proceeds to essentially start the series all over again. The main character fall back into their previous positions, and pretty much start again. Nothing inventive in this book whatsoever! In fact, to me being very cynical, I saw it as nothing more than a money making scheme. Very disappointed in a well respected author stooping to such tactics.

I don't like giving negative revues to books, the author slaves for months/years on their projects and deserve recognition for their work, But in this case, Janny Wurts has achieved nothing more than alienating her readership.
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on 3 June 2004
I picked up this book on the strength of Janny Wurts' collaboration with Raymond Feist on the Empire Trilogy, a series which I greatly enjoyed as an enrichment of Feist's Riftwar Saga. Having never heard of Wurts before I was pleasantly surprised to find her an author of such a weighty tome as Curse of the Mistwraith, being the sort of person that considers a story of less than 500 pages to be a mere novella. Once I'd got past the difficult opening chapters I found myself swept away with the story.
On first impressions Curse seems like a fairly typical tale of a band of unlikely heroes in a quest to beat the bad bad mistraith, known as Deshthiere. But it gradually becomes clear that the necessity to clear the skys of Athera of a sentient fog is only the start of a vast and complex story. The true tale lies in the feud between the half brothers, Lysaer - the Lord of Light - and Arithon - the Master of Shadow.
The Wars of Light and Shadow series really is one of the best conceived series in modern fantasy. Janny claims to have spent about 20 years planning the series before she even started it, and it shows. Her Cycle of Fire series, while good, reads like a practice work compared to this. Some readers have described her as too wordy and at times, perhaps, she does use a more complex word where a simpler one would do, but I think her use of advanced vocabulary just enriches the experience of the reader.
You will experience the agonies of Arithon as he tries to come to terms with a fate that he abhors. You will also develop sympathies with Lysaer, the unwitting tool of Deshthiere - Janny does her best to make you appreciate how much a tool his is and also how great a ruler he could have become had he not been enmeshed in Deshthiere's curse.
This book forms a prelude to the Wars of Light and Shadow series and sets the scene by describing the origins of the mistraith, how it might be undone, and the consequences of trying to defeat it. The following books - Ships of Merior, Warhost of Vastmark, and the Alliance of Light triogy fully explore the consequences of the events in this book. I dare you to read Curse and not want to rush out and buy the rest of the series.
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on 25 April 2001
I went into a local bookstore with the honest intention of buying the new John Grisham thriller. For some inexplicable (but highly fortunate) reason, I went over to the sci-fi and fantasy rack and picked up Curse of the Mistwraith. I didn't particularly like the cover, and I wasn't especially thrilled by the synopsis on the back of the book. But I bought it, took it home, began to read it and finished it the next day. I then proceeded to read it again. When I realised it was part of a series, I went back to the bookstore and bought the rest in a rather glassy-eyed daze. All I can say is that it's absolutely beautiful. The language is rich and flowing (though I sometimes feel Ms Wurts studies too hard for words of four syllables) and the characters are complex, three dimensional and interesting. There are so many sub-plots and dramas going on alongside the main story that it's impossible to become bored and the format and layout of the book with the little tasters in between main chapters keeps the reader's attention completely hooked throughout. I cannot congratulate the author enough on this excellent piece of work.
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2003
Two half-brothers, gifted with the powers of Light and Shadow, are forced from their home to another dimension. There they defeat the evil Mistwraith to free the land from darkness. However, the Mistwraith curses them and they find themselves under the sway of complete emnity for one another.
The scale of this novel is truly worthy of the name 'epic fantasy' and the journey undertaken by the brothers will have you trudging through the murky land of Athera with them. Arithon and the Fellowship of Seven are excellently realised and charismatic characters who are the core of this sweeping story. Many have complained about Wurts' affinity for long words, but I had little trouble with her language and found it a refreshing mental exercise to use my vocabulary.
Whenever you just start to like Lysaer, he does something so arrogant/stupid/selfish that you immediately dislike him again. I see that Wurts has decided to make him the villain and Arithon the hero, but I felt that the story would have been much more interesting if we had been allowed to grow to like both brothers before the curse pits them against one another. Considering Lysaer is half the story, making him such a git is, I think, a mistake.
A promising start to an epic series.
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on 4 September 2002
It's the first book in her wars of light and shadows, it's in my opinion essential to read this book before any others in the series (there are 6!^o^) as this book gives background history to what follows - maybe not the best book in the series, but nevertheless excellent, well worth the read and well worth buying, as without it you can be a little 'left in the dark' about some of the more sutbler references in the other books!!I should know I read the second book - ships of merior - first!!!
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on 4 April 2008
"On the splinter world of Dascen Elur, two kingdoms have been at war for generations. The heirs to the thrones of these kingdoms, half-brothers by chance, are carrying on the battle begun by their forebears. Lysaer, light of hair and fair of bearing, born to riches and raised to inherit the crown, blessed with the Gift of Light. Arithon, with dark hair and bearing upon his shoulders the need to engage in continued piracy of the seas to support his people even through his Mastery of Shadow and magery. Through a series of events, these two find themselves in a strange land, swaddled so in mist that not even the sun can pierce the ever present dampening gloom. A gloom that has lasted five hundred years and divided the people into townsmen and clan barbarians. Into all of this comes the West Gate prophecy made by Dakar the Mad Prophet. Two shall come through the West Gate and by combining their powers shall defeat the Mistwraith and return sunlight to Athera. So begins Curse of the Mistwraith, a story of deep, thought stirring events. Janny Wurts has crafted a masterful tale of wizards and enchantresses, of love and hate, of war and death. This is a book that should be savored slowly. Ms. Wurts utilizes a method of combining large chapter like sections that allow you to immerse yourself in this world of her creation with short triplets that give you necessary images that will reflect in greater depth later in the tale. Rushing through the pages will leave you without the necessary framework to truly appreciate the climactic ending of this first volume. An ending that will leave you speechless, nay breathless."

This is what I wrorte about this book in 1997. It still applies today and with the first three arcs of the five arc story now told, this series has not just broadened, it has deepened into what is becoming my favorite fantasy series of all time... even outshining The Lord of the Rings.
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on 20 August 2012
The curse of the mistwraith volume one of the wars of light and shadow opened my eyes to the greatest fantasy series of all time that is a testimony to what a dedicated, visionary writer can achieve. I was blown away by the sheer originality and creativity that was on a par with JRR Tolkien in regards to its uniqueness and vastly detailed plot that was a delight to behold. This compelling book I was unable to put down as I lost myself within its pages that were full of outstanding individuality, on such an epic scale as to overwhelm one entirely. This striking volume stands out on any bookshelf with a cover illustrated by the author herself who brings her own creation to life in full, vivid color before your very eyes. If you enjoy bloodthirsty, atmospheric battle scenes mixed with sorcery and powerful magic then the wars of light and shadow will impress you, being a concoction of Kate Elliot and Robin Hobb; it really is sword and sorcery at its very best.

Lysaer and Arithon are half-brothers brought up by mages in a world that is harsh, bloody and quite cruel. One bears the power of the light whilst the other commands the darkness; hence together they are a force to be reckoned with and battle to restore the sun captured by a Mistwraith. The sorcerers of the fellowship of the seven have more knowledge than initially meets the eye, as the two brothers hold not only their fate but that of the entire world in their hands. The harmony and balance of the world is at stake and through unity and solidarity the entire course of the future changes forever.

This gripping tale complete with maps and glossary is a book to treasure that takes this genre to exceptional new heights. The curse of the Mistwraith by a talented writer captures your imagination, taking you on a fast-paced action packed rollercoaster of a ride that maintains its momentum throughout. The truly unique, original storyline is so unpredictable as to make you want to read on, leaving you sat on the edge of your seat whilst it builds up to a striking and magnificent climax that astonishes. This is an exhilarating, thrilling read that is full of electric tension and suspense evoking the fantasy genre brilliantly with the added mixture of sorcery, magic and myth as to spark your imagination. I did not want this tale to end hence I went to then read book two of the series and continue on the journey, delving back into Janny's world feeling as if I was back home with something so familiar and memorable. This really is a remarkable read that has left a very large hole in my heart, being something that I shall now treasure. Outstanding and origional this series is so distinctive and unique, that is a truly timeless tale. Absorbing and beautifully written many fans of other reconizable works of fiction within this genre will love the wars of light and shadow, especially those readers like myself who enjoy Raymond E Feist's work some of which Janny Wurts is co-author of. I cannot enthuse enough about an author who shall remain one of my favorites, being full of creative vision and depth of feeling that is quite incredible.
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