The Wizard’s Ward by James McAleese

Disclaimer: I received this physical finshed copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Wizard’s Ward

Author: Jame McAleese

Book Series: Vale Book 1

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For…: young adult readers, fantasy, high fantasy

Publication Date: April 30, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy

Age Relevance: 16+ (romance, war, alcohol consumption, possible attempted sexual assault, torture, gore, blood magic, death)

Explanation of Above: There is some slight romance in the book and there is some alcohol consumption shown in the book. There is a war ongoing in the book and there is some torture and gore mentioned. There is also blood magic shown and used in the book, as well as death. There is also a possible attempted sexual assault, but it is very vague.

Publisher: Vale Media LLC

Pages: 291

Synopsis: Francis has gray blood.

The King of the Elves ordered all gray bloods be put to death, by any means necessary. Francis, the Wizard’s Ward, has been hiding in plain sight all her life, under the care of Billington, the King’s wizard. When Billington disappears from the Cardinal castle, Francis enlists the help of her first love, a battle-ridden soldier called X, to find the only family she’s ever known.

But outside the castle walls, there is a war raging between kingdoms and Francis faces countless dangers that plague the land of Vale. Shapeshifting bounty hunters search for military deserters, pirates maraud Vale’s seas, combat-trained dragons dwell in the witch’s mountains, and betrayals harden once-warmed hearts.

As the journey pushes Francis to her limits, she uncovers the true power of her gray blood, a power that could fulfill a prophecy and bring down a psychotic king.

Vale: The Wizard’s Ward is the first installment of an epic young adult fantasy franchise. 

Review: For the most part I thought this was an ok book. Overall I liked the story and the characters were well developed. I think this will be an amazing storyline in the future and with a bit more editing it’ll be an epic fantasy novel series.

However, there are a few things that I had issue with. There were undefined time skips throughout the book. The pacing was way too fast but yet there was a lot of background information, which meant we didn’t get to the heart of the plot until about 200 pages in. There was lots of telling and not showing in the book and it lacked a lot of world building for me. There’s also an issue with blood magic being used which made me a bit weary of the text and while I’m not educated on the matter I think the author should review blood libel to make sure to avoid any antisemetic writing.

Verdict: It’s ok, it’s got potential, but it needs some work still.