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WREN'S WAR by Sherwood Smith

WREN'S WAR

By Sherwood Smith

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-15-200977-9
Publisher: Harcourt

 The teenage heroes of mythical Meldrith are forced to flee their kingdom once the evil Andreus murders the king and queen and seizes power. Following Wren to the Rescue (1990) and Wren's Quest (1993), this fantasy adventure featuring the spunky Wren, the beautiful Princess Teressa, and the fearless Prince Conner, forces the youths into adulthood, as they rely on one another to raise an army and overcome the evil ruler. But while the trio gallop away on their noble quest, it seems that any true adventure or suspense hides in a distant corner of the forest. Wren casts spells and Teressa strengthens her sword arm, but any bloody skirmishes happen offstage and are further enfeebled via bland exposition. Neither is any excitement conjured by placing each of the characters in black- magic jeopardy, which just seems forced and predictable. The mechanical squeakings of the serial installment broadcast their guaranteed rescue. Similarly, the romance that doesn't ignite between Teressa and Conner, despite gratuitous sparks, is not offset by a closing passage that foreshadows a liaison between him and Wren, presumably in the next book. Though the series seems to be flagging, fans of the first two books will be pleased. Those seeking a more dynamic and frightening fantasy may find this brew too weak to enchant. (Fiction/fantasy. 12+)