Saturday, January 25, 2014

Anais of Brightshire

Title: Anais of Brightshire
Author: Jamie Wilson
Series: Blood Mage Chronicles, Book 1
Number of Pages: 91
Date Read: 1/25/14
Genre: Magic, Historical Fiction, Mage Fiction

Synopsis (Found on

Anais, the eleven-year-old daughter of a fishmonger, enters the Great House of Brightshire as a scullery maid. Isolated from her peers, she fears a life of solitude and menial chores. The only person who shows her any kindness is a scribe, who offers to teach her how to read in exchange for her help in acquiring goods at fair prices in the market. When she discovers a manuscript describing the art of magic on a routine trip to the market, she can't help but feel tempted to try it, even though magic is strictly prohibited. Giving in to temptation, she starts spending her hours practicing simple spells for her own amusement, but when one of the girls from the kitchens goes missing - amidst rumors of monsters rising in the south and devouring townspeople - Anais decides to use her new skills to find the missing girl. In her search, she befriends the Lord of Brightshire's youngest son, Cedric, and his cousin Mediera. Finally having friends she cares for is great, but practicing illegal magic and fraternizing with those above her station puts Anais in more danger than she can handle.

My Review:

This was a really good short book. 

This book has to do with magic and mages and is set in a historical period where scullery maids were still employed, which I know is a vast areas of history but the book does not specify where it takes place or in what year. The book takes place in one of seven shires that each have a lord that runs it and no king that rules all of them. 

Our heroine is Anais, a young girl of 11 who is taken in the Great House of Brightshire as first a scullery maid. Her position changes many times and she end up as an apprentice to a scribe while secretly practicing magic. The story also goes into the friendships she makes with people in the house, her elevation of status and the different jobs she holds in each of her positions which I found to be very interesting. 

I liked Anais, who dreams of being more than a maid in life. She prefers to wear trousers to skirts and wants to do something in life that she likes. She is outspoken and opinionated, for a girl of her station is society and that's what I like about her. She still has opinions and voices them even when society calls for her to NOT have an opinion. She is also daring and brave to being to practice magic which is banned in Brightshire, where she lives. I like how we see Anais start out in the beginning of the book as a 11 year old girl who rather go to the market than takes on extra work in the house, to a 14 year old girl who does a lot of work and who is thinking about her future and what will happen to her. 

I also liked Cedric, Lord Seve's son who acts like he's not, well, a lords son. He befriends Anais and they spend lots of time together, teaching each other things like horseback riding, fishing, fencing, swimming and lots of other things. They bond together and I can see a future romance between them in the coming books. Cedric is fun loving, a great friend, loyal and has big dreams of becoming a solider. 

I also liked Thellium, who is the scribe of the house and who also befriends Anais. They make bargains together and he bails her out of a tough situation. He is very nice and friendly, who has her work for him but doesn't mind that she spends a lot of time with Cedric. He also has a few secrets about himself that are revealed in the book. 

The writing style is simple and straight forward which I like. I don't have to guess whats going on or get confused at the plot. The only I guess you would say problem I had with the book was that it was too short and the ending was kind of abrupt. I was getting all into it and all of a sudden it was like, the end! I feel like this is a book that I wish could be longer. I'm very excited to continue with the next book in the series to she what happens!


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