________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006


The Weathermage. (Tales of Three Lands, Book III).

Linda Smith.
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 2006.
375 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55050-352-9.

Subject Headings:
Magic - Juvenile fiction.
Quests (Expeditions) - Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4


The women came six weeks after Arlen died. [...]

"Two years ago, our Weathermonger realized that magic had been used to create a storm over Rork. This interested us, but we did nothing, only waited. This summer, the same power brought weeks of rain to the island. We were concerned. Untaught power can be dangerous. Our Dreamer dreamed of a young girl who lived in a house on the headland overlooking the western sea.

"Had [Galia]  created the storm? Made the rain? Surely not. Even if she had...

"I won't do it again," she whispered. Why should she? She would never be so angry again. So sad.

"Oh, Galia," Mala said. She wrapped her daughter in her arms.

"She's too young," Atholl said loudly. "I won't let you take her."

"No, Atholl," Mala said. "They are right."

And so Galia went to the College of Wizards in Freybourg, far from the sea, to study to control her power and to teach the teachers her own special sort of magic. Her magic, involving as it did a feeling for the land and the sea and the sky, had almost nothing in common with the sorts of spells that were the stock in trade of Freyan magic. As an exchange, it was not a great success. However circumstances caught up with Galia, and her story began to interweave the tales told in the first two books of the trilogy. Talisa's attempts to convince the queen of Freya that Cory had not set the fire as he had been accused (Talisa's Song), and Catrina's quest to find Garth who seemed to have disappeared in a peculiar way (The Minstrel's Daughter) tie in with her own problems with the other wizards and her Uglessian friend's being thrown in jail. The workings out of the plot are convoluted, but they do, indeed, resolve in the end. Galia not only contributes her skills to bring about the final denouement but also gains real friends--something she had not dreamed could happen in this foreign and difficult land. The emotional isolation that she had felt ever since her banishment from dearly loved home and family is finally broken, and life can begin for her as for the others.

     The stories of Cat and Talisa have been told in the first volumes of the trilogy, and while it is possible to read this volume as a stand-alone, it really is the child of its parents. It benefits greatly from one's knowing the background. Since I reviewed both of the previous books very favorably, I was in the right place to appreciate this one as well, and I did. It could have been difficult having three strong female characters vying for position in the one book, but Linda Smith is more than competent to control them all. I was occasionally impatient as she switched from one voice to another, keeping the three strands running parallel until the time was ripe to weave them together. I wanted Cat to get on with finding Garth, Talisa to obtain her interview with the Queen, Galia to get her wizard friend out of jail! This impatience, however, really just means that I was enthralled by all of the strands, and then by the pattern of the whole; I should complain of good storytelling technique?

     Of the three books, The Minstrel's Daughter is the most complete story on its own; it hints of things to come, but does not demand them. Talisa's Song is much more of a stepping stone on a journey, and The Weather Mage is the destination. I envy those who have not yet been introduced to “Tales of Three Lands” and who can, therefore, read them as the one book they really are. Happy reading!


Mary Thomas works in Winnipeg (MB) elementary school libraries and has been looking forward to the completion of this trilogy ever since she read the first book.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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