Reviewed by: E
Now available in one volume, the novels which began Tanya Huff’s career. Child of the Grove and The Last Wizard form a powerful fantasy duology about the last wizard ever to be born into the world. It is the saga of Crystal, a daughter of Power whose destiny is to put an end to the war between wizards and the mortal world. Now this magical tale is collected in one volume as Wizard of the Grove, featuring new cover art by Yvonne Gilbert.
This blurb came from Goodreads
I am a huge fan of Huff’s writing and have been ever since I read this omnibus years ago. I had picked up one of her books earlier in Friends of the Library Sale in my home town not realizing it was in the middle of a trilogy until after I got home so I think it is safe to say this is probably the first thing I read by her. It started me on a journey of discovering her backlist, looking forward to new releases, and pushing her stories on others long before I became a reviewer. Because the official blurb for Wizard of the Grove doesn’t contain a lot of details here are the blurbs for the two individual stories, also from Goodreads.
Child of the Grove The world of Ardhan is slowly losing its magic, but one wizard remains–a master of evil bent on claiming lordship over the entire world. To stop him, the Elders send Crystal, the Child of the Grove, daughter of Power and the last-born wizard to walk the world. The final war is about to begin.
The Last Wizard Crystal was given to the world of Ardhan by the Elders to save it from an evil wizard. But after destroying her enemy, Crystal’s purpose for existing ended–until she saved a single human life and found a new cause for her growing powers. The enthralling sequel to Child of the Grove.
Along with the creation of the world came Gods and Goddesses, the Elder Races, creatures, and man to populate the world. Gods and Goddesses along with their magic were a part of the world until the joining of humans and Gods created Wizards who overthrew and killed the Gods. Wizards ruled until in their hubris they decided to mess with the earth itself and therefore created their own doom. All the wizards except one perished from that doom. The remaining wizard slowly regained his power and embarked on a long process to take over Ardhan with one kingdom still fighting a losing battle. It was that kingdom who fought off the first attack by the wizard generations in the past and still had a tiny bit of Elder Races blood running through the family of the King who was chosen as the last attempt to end the wizard’s domination. Child of the Grove is bittersweet. Huff really showed both the cost and the gift of love from a parent/child relationship as well as that or a romantic nature. While I loved the storyline and how Crystal gave all she could to achieve her purpose, on this most recent reading I found myself wishing Huff would write the story of Crystal’s aunt because she “sacrificed” herself in marriage and finally had a chance to live outside the shadow of Crystal’s mother.
The other thing I think I finally appreciated to a greater extent on this rereading was how Huff wrote The Last Wizard giving the rest of the story. In most of the epic fantasy/science fiction the story or series tends to end with the defeat of the villain and the triumphant return or death in victory of the rightful ruler. From there the reader is usually left to imagine that things are rebuilt neatly and live in the kingdom, planet, solar system continues on as it should. Huff answered the question to what happens next on several levels, just as she seemed to explore love on several levels in Child of the Grove. While Crystal, and her search for a purpose to her life was central to the story, Huff incorporated such a rounded view I felt like I could understand how long and slow the process of recovery post victory really was. I enjoyed how Huff provided closure for several of her characters introduced in the first story, which included Crystal and someone who had always been a presence in her life. While the romance reader in me also wanted to see two other people find happiness with another person, Huff did a great job showing how they were still so wounded inside, they couldn’t form a connection to that level with anyone yet but the story ended on a positive note for them as well.
I am so glad that DAW has released The Wizard of the Grove and made it available digitally for the first time because it still stands out among all of the stories I have read and reminds me of why I read Huff to this day.
I give Wizard of the Grove an A-