A Sorcerer’s Treason, book one of the Isavalta Trilogy by Sarah Zettel

Just finished reading a Sorcerer’s Treason by Sarah Zettel.  This is my first time reading Sarah Zettel but definitely won’t be my last.  I thought this was a great fantasy adventure, the worlds were well drawn and interesting to read about and, although I’m a bit late to read this series, the added bonus of my tardiness means no wait for books 2 and 3.  So all good to me!

The Sorcerer’s Treason tells the story of Bridget.  Bridget is a light keeper living on Sand Island during the early 19th century (think it was the early 19th c anyway).  She is an outcast from the general population due to her past, a child born out of wedlock that mysteriously died, and also because of her strange psychic abilities which give her vivid images of both the past and the future.  Bridget lives a very solitary and quite sad life although she takes her duties very seriously.  During a storm she rescues a stranger from certain death on the rocks.  This stranger has either hit his head harder than Bridget at first suspected or he is a sorcerer from a distant world reached through the land of death and spirit.  A world of magic where animals are not always what they seem.  This stranger, Kalami, wants to take Bridget to this world where her own magic will elevate her status hugely – and where she’ll be able to help the Grand Dowager protect her realm – Isavalta – from those who would wish to harm it.  It all sounds too good to be true!

I really enjoyed this, in fact I thought it was quite captivating.  There’s plenty going on and it moves forward at a fairly rapid pace.  The characters are well described and well rounded.  Both worlds are equally good to spend time in and I think Zettel manages to write in such a way that makes the scenes easy to conjure to the mind.

On top of this we have this strange folklore wound into the story.  Witches (Baba Yaga) who reside in curious, chicken legged houses, crows who are not all they seem and the fox spirits led by the Vixen.  Not to mention a caged and flaming phoenix, courtly intrigue and an interesting form of magic where spells can be woven into belts and clothing and worn about the person.

I just really liked the way this book was laid out.  We have different points of view and lots of different threads coming together, not in a confusing way at all but in a way that just makes you want to turn the pages faster..  And, what I particularly liked was the way that the author made me feel as wondrous and new to the world as Bridget was.  It was quite bewitching really and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of Bridget’s tale.

In terms of characters – there’s plenty of interest.  My particular favourite was Ananda and her sorcerer and protector Sakra.  I also liked the strange animal spirits who have their own powerful magic and live in a different plain where the rules are all different.

I don’t really have any criticisms.  I suppose you could say that this is a fantasy tale in the more traditional fashion rather than the more modern style fantasies that we are all currently enjoying – but this was written about 10 years ago, and this isn’t a criticism really because I really like this style and I think the author succeeds in weaving a great tale.

I would certainly recommend this and look forward to continuing this story.

A sorcerer's treason

A sorcerer’s treason


10 Responses to “A Sorcerer’s Treason, book one of the Isavalta Trilogy by Sarah Zettel”

  1. TBM

    I have to admit I was hooked when I read the title. Instantly I said, “Oooo…that sounds fun.” I’ll keep an eye out for this one!

    • lynnsbooks

      It was good although it’s not a new title but the bonus of that is no long wait for the rest of the series. They’re already released.
      Lynn 😀

  2. "Auntie"

    Actually, it not being just-like-all-such-books-are-now, is a plus to me. 🙂


    • lynnsbooks

      Ha ha, I didn’t articulate that very well really. I don’t really know how to explain myself other than I suppose it puts me in mind of the writing of Tolkien or Feist, as oppose to the new fantasy novels. I really liked it and thought the authors world building was really good. I also liked the folklore side of things which I think borrowed a few ideas from Russian and other cultures. A lovely read.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Grace

    Oooh, this sounds wonderful. I need to read more Sarah Zettel.

  4. lynnsbooks

    I agree, this is my first of her novels and I really enjoyed it. I think I actually picked up the recommendation from one of the reviews on Carl’s Once Upon a Time event – but I can’t remember from who otherwise I’d go back and thank them!
    I’m looking forward to No.2 and 3 now.
    Lynn 😀

  5. Carl V.

    I have heard many good things about the author’s work and I’ve even picked up her books several times in the store, just haven’t brought any home yet. Isn’t it great when you get into a book and don’t have to wait for the others? There is something really fun about that.

    • lynnsbooks

      I love the fact that I don’t have to wait for the rest of the series. I must say that I love Patrick Rothfuss – he is a total hero but do I wish that he would write faster (no pressure Patrick but pretty please).
      Lynn 😀

  6. Jami Zehr @http://absurdlynerdly.wordpress.com

    I’ve been meaning to read more Sarah Zettel after reading her vampire chef series, I think this may be the next series I check out.

    • lynnsbooks

      I saw your vampire chef review – I really like the sound of that one and will definitely check it out. This was my first Zettel. She has a lovely way with words and the beauty of this series, being a bit old, no wait for the next!
      Lynn 😀

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