Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Covenant of Muirwood #1

The Banished of Muirwood

Rate this book

In a stand-alone series set in the world of Muirwood, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her father’s ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret—despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves—even if that realm has forgotten her?

418 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 18, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jeff Wheeler

100 books4,573 followers
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jeff Wheeler took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to write full-time. He is a husband, father of five, and a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jeff lives in the Rocky Mountains.

Jeff's blog and suggested reading order can be found on his website: http://www.jeff-wheeler.com/

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,573 (39%)
4 stars
4,434 (38%)
3 stars
1,947 (16%)
2 stars
391 (3%)
1 star
119 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 532 reviews
Profile Image for Marie -The Reading Otter.
993 reviews77 followers
August 13, 2015
I received this book from NetGalley for review

There aren't many reviews of this book up. And the most of them are reviews filled with praise for this new fantasy story. And while I wish I could share in that praise, I must confess I can't.

Much of this story was really cliche, and something I know has been done before. Nothing really stood out to me in any way. The world was fine, the magic system was confusing, and I really didn't care for the main character.

One of the things that bothered me most about the story is the "women can't be trusted with knowing magic, or how to FREAKING read." And not for the reasons you assume. I just think it's a really weak and boring plot device to make the MC a special snowflake for learning in secret.

I almost DNF'd this book so many times. I got to the point where I wasn't really reading it, and just skimming it. I was bored and uninterested in the story.
Profile Image for Kerry.
554 reviews61 followers
May 17, 2017
A wonderful, harrowing and adventurous tale about Maia an exiled princess. Her life is difficult, magical, guided and at times mysterious. She seeks to find her place in the world and into her Father's heart. In doing so he sends her on a journey which will change her life for ever in many ways.
Maia is brave, inspirational, humble, graceful, resilient and every ounce a princess. She has a special destiny in store if she is willing to embrace it. With many challenges, dangers and obstacles to overcome along the way.
Having read the first series of books in the world of Muirwood Abbey and loved them. I wasn't sure what this series would be like or if it could live up to the first series. It definitely does and the main characters are just as strong, resilient, magical and inspirational as their predecessors.
A great book and series that is hard to put down. You can't wait to find out what happens next.
Profile Image for Lonna | FLYLēF.
161 reviews186 followers
December 1, 2015
FLYLēF Book Reviews

Original Post: The Banished of Muirwood at FLYLēF (www.flylef.com) with 2.5 of 5 stars

“NONE OF THE girls of the seven realms were allowed to learn the secret art of reading and engraving. That was a privilege only allowed to boys and men.”

For whatever reason, reading this disturbs me to no end. Of all the possible things to damper a female’s magic, why choose illiteracy? The story tries to explain the logic behind this. It failed. With great power, even boys and men are just as easily corruptible.

But, I digress.

In the kingdom of Comoros, chaos spreads after the king expelled the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar. Exiled by her father, Princess Marciana, or Maia, embarks on a dangerous journey to save her realm. To survive, she must use a forbidden magic she can barely control. Can she save her people before the forces of evil consume her?

I am quite surprise that The Banished of Muirwood, left me so unsatisfied—frustrated even. This has many elements that I generally enjoy in a fantasy novel: a new and imaginative world; ancient powers and forbidden magic; a bit of romance; and perils at every turn. Yet, these variables are underdeveloped and not married well. Perhaps, this is because the story is told out of chronological order. Unless I’m reading about time travel, this technique is probably one of my least favorites. The story alternates ceaselessly between Maia’s present and past. I get that Mr. Wheeler is showing us her painful history. Yet, it is an unoriginal backstory that borderlines dangerously close to the classic Cinderella story of poverty, servitude, an evil stepmother, and two cruel stepsisters.

I kept pushing forward nonetheless because the characters were somewhat magnetic, even though I didn't find them particularly rich or complex. Maia's companions included a kishion—a killer; Tayt—her guide—and his adorable bearhound; and Collier—her eccentric lover. They each have their own hidden agenda; however, their devotion to Maia was admirable. Maia’s character was also enjoyable until she turned her back on one of her companions because “the Medium willed it”—an action that was selfish, mindless, and too deeply rooted in religious beliefs. I don’t think she will stay with me beyond the scope of this review.

I mean no respect to Mr. Wheeler but I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I thought I would. However, it has a lot of good elements, and I’m sure it will find favor with many other fans.

{I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.}
Profile Image for Lis Carey.
2,165 reviews94 followers
October 16, 2015
This is a deeply frustrating book. In theory, it has so much promise.

Maia is the only daughter of the King of Comoros. By law she can't inherit, but she is the apple of her father's eye--until he decides he must have a male heir.

It's no surprise that the Seven Kingdoms don't recognize female inheritance rights; women aren't allowed to learn real magic or even learn reading & engraving. And yes, you read that right. Not "reading & writing"; reading and engraving. Even though in context it's clear that "engraving" is done on parchment with pen and ink. It's the first of many troubling signs.

Maia is sent away from court at age nine, and formally banished at thirteen, after her mother's marriage to the king is dissolved. At eighteen, the king summons her again because he needs a very particular kind of help. He needs to defeat the magic rising against him, and that involves finding a magic tome hidden away centuries ago. Chancellor Walraven, dead now and disgraced long ago, had taught Maia in secret to read, "engrave," and practice the magic forbidden to women. She knows as much as anyone can about identifying the right volume and bringing it back--but at least in theory, she won't dare to use it. And after all, she still loves the kingdom of Comoros, no matter what she feels about her father.

He sends her off with a trained assassin and a contingent of soldiers for protection. Our first glimpse of "current day" Maia is after they've already survived several disasters and it's just her and the assassin left, on the cursed coast of Dahomey, separated from their ship. The story then proceeds in distinctly nonlinear fashion, with Maia proceeding from this point well into the story, while having exceptionally vivid dreams about her girlhood and young adulthood, revealing to the reader how she got here. It's a technique that often works very well. In this case, it doesn't work for me at all. It's just frustrating and annoying.

It's not helped by what I'll simply call Wheeler's odd use of language:
The people of the Seven Kingdoms, or at least the people of Comoros, with a history very different from ours, and a religion that in no way resembles Christianity, celebrate Whitsunday.
We're told that a "collier" is the boy who shovels out the stables. No.
"Kystrel" apparently has a meaning in D&D, which is not the meaning Wheeler gives it in this book.
Waystones that can, among other things, be magically tapped for light or water, are called "Leerings." Really? Why?
It all made for a frustrating reading experience, as i got repeatedly kicked out of the story by the strange or simply wrong use of language.

There is a good story in here.It's just hard to find and enjoy, underneath the abuse of the language and clumsy use of storytelling techniques.

Not recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Terminally.
63 reviews17 followers
September 29, 2015
A Copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an Honest Review

Come check out my Book Blog for more fun stuff and reviews!

I am going to stop right here, and just put this up because this sums up my feelings on the book real fast and easy. Its a short 18 second clip from The Mummy starring Brenden Fraiser.


My mother taught me, as I am sure many of your mothers taught you, that if you do not have anything nice to say about something, don't say anything at all.

Unfortunately, as a reviewer, sometimes I must break that code. And today, is one of those days.

I am doing my best here to avoid spoilers as well.

The Banished of Muirwood had promise. Such promise. An interesting premise about a world with two competing religions, and a princess fleeing while trying to save her homeland. Mythology and magic that is fairly unique. Very interesting side characters and history.

But its all ruined. RUINED. By the main character Maia. She is, for lack of a better term, useless. Oh she tries. On a few occasions she tries to do something interesting, but in almost every case she fails spectacularly. Generally this would be interesting if not for the fact that every other time she is timid, passive, and basically exists to be hunted and to be fought over. She is literally the Damsel in Distress of the novel. And she is our main character, the person we should be cheering for.

The book can be summed up with the following pattern: Maia runs. Maia meets someone or plot happens. Maia gets captured. Maia escapes OR is rescued. Maia runs. Repeat ad nauseum.

There is a single moment where Maia manages to DO something other then run, but it basically amounts to nothing except for plot development, and she still ends up having to be rescued afterwards.

My emotions while I read this can be summed up as follows: Boredom, more boredom, anger, rage, you gotta be freaking kidding me! That last part was at the ending, where in the last 40 pages or so we get about 4 to 5 twists, including a twists that contradicts a twist right before it making the first twist rather STUPID.

If it was not for the fact that I promised that any book I pick up to review I would finish, I would have dropped this within the first 50 or so pages. This book got me so angry that I started ranting in the breakroom at work about how Maia was basically there to be the Damsel in Distress.

And the ending? It setups the sequel. Its not satisfying. Its not worth sitting through the rest of the book at ALL.

When I read, all I ask for are solid characters I can get behind, and a good story. This has neither. The writing, the world building, the mythology are all fantastic. But what occurs using those items is horrid and boring and POINTLESS. The funniest thing is that the blurb actually spoils more then I ever could. Its literally the book. Right there.

I am giving this book a 1/5. Stay away. Stay far away.
Profile Image for Ria.
541 reviews44 followers
September 21, 2015
Full Review @http://www.abookishescape.com/2015/09...

The End, was wonderful Maia learns so much about who she is and what is expected of her. As always she takes everything in stride. As I mentioned before there were a lot of difficult decisions that were made. Unfortunately this poor girl is forever doomed to not have what she thinks she wants. Her whole life has been about what others want for her. She is strong in her own way so I like her character very much. We are introduced to a very important person in Maia’s life towards the end and it is very exciting to say the least. As I mentioned before although this wasn’t a perfect read for me I very much look forward to whats next.

4.0 Adventure in search of ones true self while saving the land from destruction, lonely princess filled stars.
Profile Image for Pam Baddeley.
Author 2 books45 followers
July 12, 2021
This seemed a promising story to begin with, but I soon experienced a number of problems. I'm used to fantasy where the reader is dropped into the situation which only gradually becomes clear as the world building develops. But here the structure of the novel was almost intended to confuse. The initial chapter has the female protagonist, Maia, interacting with an old man who has been teaching her to read in secret because in this world women are banned from doing so on pain of death (shades of The Handmaid's Tale). But it eventually transpires that this is due to the possibility of women educating themselves in a type of spell lore which could result in them becoming deadly to all around them.

In the same opening chapter, Maia's mother gives birth to (yet another) stillborn child and Maia witnesses a terrible argument between her parents which is the beginning of the rift that will lead to her own predicament as the disowned daughter of the king. But after this opener, the book switches to several years later when she is a grown woman and has already visited a ruined abbey where her father sent her on a mission. The events at the abbey are not shown, probably because they would be a huge spoiler for the major problem that faces Maia later, but it means that there is a big disconnect in the story. In Chapter 2 Maia is running for her life through forest in the company of a man, who is apparently her bodyguard, from men who it is eventually revealed are from an order of mages except they aren't called such in this series. Given the missing events just before this happened, it was almost like reading a book where someone has torn out a chapter.

The book subsequently performs several such switches without benefit of a chapter subheading such as 'five years earlier' or similar that would have helped. Presumably this is because it transpires that Maia is actually blacking out and 'dreaming' vivid recollections of past events so the events being recalled are not the real past but her memory of it. For me that is academic and it would have avoided some confusion if there had been subheadings to give a clue of when in the timeline events were supposed to be occurring.

There were lots of other confusing aspects. The two magical systems or groups of people who practiced them were never really distinguished, in terms of how their powers work. But the history where one lot left the land and then came back and the others usurped their place but then allowed them back to ripoff their technology was not clearly established at all. It seemed to have taken place in the time of Maia's several great grandmother who was an Aldermaston in charge of an abbey, but it was also unclear as to whether that character had left or stayed and how her 'tome', as books are known, came to be handed down the female line.

Some aspects are included to make the setting a bit different - writing seems to be by engraving on metal sheets rather than with ink on parchment, which seems unnecessarily high tech and awkward. Terms are borrowed from the real world but given different meanings - a collier is a coal miner in real life, not someone who looks after horses as it is in the story, Aldermaston is a place where atomic research is carried out, not a rank equivalent to bishop or similar, a hetaera was the name given to courtesans in ancient Greece who were the only women allowed to be highly educated, rather than someone possessed by what we would call a demon (the book uses another term), Whitsunday is a particular Christian festival/holiday rather than something in the pagan religion(s) practiced by the people in this story. This all just jars the reader and throws them out of the story.

Also, a main problem for me was that the character of Maia was unconvincing. Despite her father's outrageous treatment of her and her mother she still loves him - though maybe this was meant to be drawing on historical precedent since the situation of Maia and her mother reminded me of Mary Tudor and her mother Katherine of Aragon, though with elements of Cinderella given Maia's treatment as the lowest scullery maid. Because of her 'possession' Maia is rather a passive character who spends her time escaping from place to place, being captured and then rescued, nearly always by men. I found the ending weak as I was too distracted with trying to assimilate the huge info dump introduced by a new character.

All in all, the book was a disappointment and even though I have the next two volumes, I'm not sure I can be bothered to tackle them. I discovered after reading this that there was a prequel series which might have made some of the background clear, but if it's necessary to read another series to have a chance of understanding this, that only shows this to have a major deficiency. So I can only award the book an OK 2 stars in view of my major disappointment with it.
Profile Image for ♛ Garima ♛.
894 reviews178 followers
December 31, 2015
I received ARC from 47North via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Just finished and don't know how I feel about this one.

I loved the writing style; it reminds you of a great story teller - the flawless narration. I simply enjoyed this and really appreciate when the story is told from 3rd person's POV. Any author who writes as 3rd person, do know how to write.

I really felt for Maia – she was this one moment

And this

And next she has been banished

And dishonored by her own father –

I could not understand why she wanted to helped her father after all this but I guess she was simply doing right thing.

What I was confused about is ending. I was hoping all the suffering Maia has endured would come to conclusion with some valid explanation but High Seer's explanation confused me more. That is part of novel I have hard time understanding because author has used so many new terms and words. This is my 1st attempt of reading Muirwood series and I really struggled sometimes and read the passage few times to understand what it means. I would really much prefer to have a small glossary at the beginning to make reading more understandable like Juliet Marillier does with her novels.

Regardless, I really liked the story - it has potential and would be continuing with next in the series.
Profile Image for TJ.
2,695 reviews163 followers
January 29, 2020
First, I must say Mr. Wheeler can tell a fabulous story that is both creative and riveting. It is almost impossible to know what is coming next, the twists and turns are so well written and developed.

The problem I have with this book is that it is so confusing. At first because it so suddenly did a complete 180 from the last book. And, although it is the start of a new series, it is also a continuation of the last Muirwood trilogy. It is set in the same world, with all the same aspects and characters - just a few generations later. BUT everything that we learned to be evil in the first trilogy is suddenly good in this one. It’s awfully confusing and, although by the end most has been worked out, it makes for an extremely frustrating read throughout the majority.

If one has read the Kingfountain or other series written recently, it becomes very obvious how far the author has progressed and how much tighter and expertly crafted his newer series are compared to this, his earlier work. In this book, there are questions about some major points in the plot that are never fully answered that REALLY drove me nuts! Especially the tattoo and how it got there.

Also, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style in this one. Bouncing from present to past in random chapters made it hard to know where the heck we were in time sometimes! This was especially infuriating at the end when the present was being overshadowed by Maia’s past. Yikes! It gave me brain shakes!

Oh,and I REALLLLLLYYYY Didn’t like that she will never be able to kiss anyone... seriously?

SO... even though this is probably my least favorite of all the books I’ve read from this very talented author so far, it’s still a series I’ll continue because in-spite of all the drawbacks, the stories are just too good to ignore.
Profile Image for Bill Tillman.
1,644 reviews65 followers
November 20, 2015
A spectacular first in a trilogy, Maia goes from 13 to 19. Maria is a princess, then a disavowed, then a Queen, then an Empress and finally a student. Whew great stuff, thanks to author and Netgallery.
Profile Image for C. Stuchl.
207 reviews
August 18, 2015
The Banished of Muirwood Jeff Wheeler

Princess Maia,18 year old, rightful heir to the throne of Comoros, has been disowned and exiled by her father. Her crime, she was a female and only a male could sit the throne. Females were forbidded to learn to read and write but her tutor, Chancellor Walraven, had tought her anyway in secret. She could also speak several languages. The one thing that could mean death was her ability to control the Medium.

With her is a kishion (bodyguard) who is supposed to protect her. He has other orders from her father. Jon Tayt joins them in the mountains as a tracker and guide. They are being hunted by evil men who will slaughter anyone who helps them.

I really liked the strong female lead. Wheeler fills in her background through dreams and memories. With the inserts from a long ago written diary we are told the history of her people and given a look at what is expected of her.

This series promises to become an epic fantasy. Loaded with magic and colorful characters it keeps you interested and turning the pages. You won't get bored reading because there is always a new land or character entering the plot.
Wheeler paints a colorful picture of the differents lands, cities and peoples. The book cover is just perfect for this first book. It shows the hardship and loneliness of her journey. I had the kindle version compliments of NetGalley.
Profile Image for Debrac2014.
1,922 reviews10 followers
July 31, 2017
DNF! I got more than halfway but found the story too confusing with the flashbacks! At first, I thought Maia was a strong character but as the story went on, she's shown to be very dependent on others!
Profile Image for Ravencrantz.
520 reviews58 followers
March 21, 2017
Maybe high fantasy books simply aren't for me? I feel like every one I read leaves me disappointed or bored or both. This one was no different. The plot was everywhere and the "twists" were obvious and annoying and contradictory to each other. The only character I liked was the dog, and once again we're given this magical world from someone's imagination and still women are treated poorly everywhere! I'm so tired of this.

The world building was decent, but incredibly confusing. Words were throw our way without much explanation and it was hard keeping track of all the countries and characters and which country each character was from. I still don't know who we're supposed to be rooting for. I guess the mages who are supposed to be super liberal because they let women read and learn magic, but only in secret so they don't anger any men. I don't understand how the magic works, or what the voices in Maia's head really were. When we read about Maia as a child, she spoke as if she was an adult. Most of the dialogue was wooden and dry and many characters melded together their voices were so similar.

I'll read the other two books I have only because I have them and I'm cleaning out my NetGalley queue. Other than that I wouldn't give this series another thought. This isn't a book I'd recommend to people unless they wanted to learn to hate the fantasy genre. It wasn't even awful enough to make fun of so there's no point in a hate read. I know ratings on goodreads don't mean too much (you can enjoy a book with a low rating and loath a book with a high rating), but I'm genuinely surprised that this has such a high rating. To each their own, I suppose. Skip this book unless you're looking for something to help you sleep at night.
Profile Image for Eric.
369 reviews54 followers
May 17, 2018
2.5 stars

I think this story might be better if the story construction isn't so damned muddled and confusing. The narration for the audio book also seems lacking.

I really wanted to get into this story except I kept stumbling over how the story is being written. The story starts with Maia's parents, the King and Queen, mourning over another stillborn baby. The King is pissed at his wife and wants a divorce. Except he can't get one because the Queen has done nothing wrong. So the King has the Queen banished. Maia cannot go with queen and must stay at the castle. Now fast forward to where Maia is running from the King's men. She has a guy to help protect her. Maia needs a guide to navigate the mountains they must cross. They meet John Tate the mountain man who immediately agrees to help them. Then Maia starts having dreams of her past situation at the castle that leads up to the current predicament. This process flips back and while new story elements exacerbate the current situation.

I'm currently indifferent about Maia and her quest mates. The chemistry doesn't seem to work enough to care much about them. Then there is the world building. The different forces at work is confusing to me. Maia is pawn in some evil purposes and she does some things that are against her natural will. Maia has a powerful magic but without further training can be dangerous to her and what she believes?? I don't really know. I'm not sure I really care.

In spite of my many issues with this book, a certain amount of interest has leaked through. Do I want to continue on to the next book? I need to think on it. I'm in no hurry though.
Profile Image for Jewelrymuse.
78 reviews1 follower
August 7, 2015
***Received a copy of this book via NetGalley for a honest review.
"The Banished of Muirwood" is the first book the a standalone trilogy by Jeff Wheeler.
Princess Marciana, "Maia", born the only child of her parents, becomes a pawn in the royal court intrigues and old laws. Secretly trained to read and write and in the ways of the spiritual and magical force called the Medium which is forbidden to females, she has only ever wanted to go to the abby to learn and be tested as a maston. She loses the wealth and status and is banished by her father to eventually become the servant to her father's new wife and family.
She undertakes a mission for her father in the hope she can find answers to save her kingdom which is stricken by evil and falling apart. With a king from a enemy kingdom forcing her to marry him and other enemies looking to capture her for use in their grand plans, she must trust in the Medium and continue her quest no matter how much she is tested.
This story of adventure, plots, and a study in finding strength and faith in one's self is a good read no matter how old you are.
Profile Image for Tiera McMillian.
1,150 reviews42 followers
September 8, 2018
Really really good! I think this author is slowly becoming one of my favorites! I become absorbed and obsessed with his books, even though they are so different from what I usually read.

Maia is a kind, compassionate, and intelligent FMC. I weep for her during her battles, and her bleak future after what has been done to her. Oh Collier... this author has an uncanny ability to tread carefully this line between bad and good making his characters walk gray paths and highlighting each decision, even those who seem evil at first. Do not get to attached to any judgements because he will definitely change your mind.

I will say that though these books may seem to move slowly at times I didn’t have any problems keeping interest. The story and plot are rich with intrigue, plot twists, heart wrenching decisions, and heart breaking actions. Another winner from Jeff Wheeler!
Profile Image for Matt (Book Devour-er).
80 reviews7 followers
January 21, 2018
All in all a pretty good read. I found the world interesting, even being slightly confused by it towards the beginning. I finished rather quickly which was kind of refreshing after reading some longer and more in depth books recently. It reads kind of like a thriller combined with fantasy which makes it a little lighter of a read. One thing i think this book could of used was some other perspectives. Maia is a fun and interesting character in and of herself but it would be nice to have someone else pulling you away from her head sometimes. Again, good book, going to start on the second.
Profile Image for ¸.•´ (¸.•` Laura.
47 reviews7 followers
November 21, 2022
I love a fantasy series, and while I will continue with this one a bit longer, it's almost as frustrating as it is enjoyable. So many tropes are stuffed into this it's like a bulging suitcase, and the main character is a terrible Mary Sue (there's no GOOD Mary Sue, I know). The world building is great, but the history and magic system/groups are confusing and despite getting to grips with some of it by the end, I'm still a bit lost to be honest.

Also Collier gives me Gaston vibes and I really don't know why :/

P.S. the kishion is great though
Profile Image for Tish.
522 reviews14 followers
September 22, 2015
Enjoyable fantasy with a female protagonist who seems to start off rather weak but becomes increasingly strong and independent. The book is exciting, has good world-building, and I liked the occasional flashbacks and journal entries. I also liked that a number of the characters were more nuanced than just "bad guys and good guys".

Looking forward to the next in the series!

Note: I received a copy of this from NetGalley and the publisher.
Profile Image for Angie on Books.
47 reviews14 followers
February 10, 2017
**You can read the original post on my blog @ angieonbooks.com**

I’m always hesitant to accept books from authors directly or take books from lesser-known publishers. I have a good reason, y’all, I’m not unnecessarily picky. I’ve had some bad interactions from people who are too close to the books. However, when I saw this on Netgalley I knew that it was worth that risk. I am so very glad that I did request the books and that the publisher also sent me the physical copy of the book(s). (They sent me the trilogy!)

I def prefer physical books though I’m not opposed to ebooks. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I absolutely love it but there’s just something about holding a book and looking at it beside me when I watch TV that makes me so flippin’ happy.

The Cover of this book was actually what drew me to it. It was so beautiful online and even more beautiful IRL. The details were so intense and perfect. I couldn’t stop looking at it. And when I read it, thank GAWD it was good. In fact, it was better than good, it was amazing. I’ve only read two books in 2016 so far and this is the one that left the most lasting impression. (The 5th Wave was the other.) I loved that The Banished of Muirwood and the 5th Wave were so different. The Banished of Muirwood was high fantasy while the 5th Wave was a scifi/dystopia novel. So, really, I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two.

Goodreads says this about the book:

In a stand-alone series set in the world of Muirwood, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her father’s ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret—despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves—even if that realm has forgotten her?
I haven’t read fantasy in a while, at least as far as I can remember, and this was a great way to start the year.

The World in The Banished of Muirwood
Was so vivid. The cover of the book helped me experience the book even more. Books don’t always do that but, like I said, the title was so detail-oriented it literally painted the setting for me. I’ve grouped the setting and the one section because they are so intertwined.

We follow the main character all over her world, running from many dangers that followed her closely. The coolest thing bout the setting is that it keeps changing. The characters don’t sit still for very long, let travel miles and miles through either states of a sort or countries. That much was unclear. Though it was awesome, I was not able to follow all the places they went. The words and worlds mushed together after a while and I couldn’t keep them separate, except for the ones where serious action happened. Which, granted, was pretty often.

The Words in the World
I wasn’t able to follow all the unique words that were tossed around and I’m concerned that I missed some pivotal points. For instance, the main subject of the discussion was not clear to me. After a while I believe I figured it out semi-correctly but it took too long and was quite difficult to follow.

The Characters
Each character was so unique. Maia was very clearly her own person, no others were like her, quite possibly because she was pretty much the only female in the story during present day in the story. Maia’s past was intertwined throughout the book with her present, which was really cool. Many books have tried that, this is the only one that I think really succeeded. I’m in the middle of reading Black Widow: Forever Red and they try that out a little, too, but The Banished of Muirwood excelled in that sense.

Maia’s relationship was frusterating. She so desperately wanted to believe that her father would come to love and cherish her again, but that never happened, at least not in this book. Her father banished her and sent her on a journey she was probably not going to survive. I was not sure what to make out of the banishment. Her step(ish) mother clearly hated her, that much she knew for certain, but I wasn’t sure if the banishment was truly from her father or her stepmother, working through the king. The flashbacks we see in her dreams didn’t make that clear per se, so I’m quite confused. Her father takes such a dramatic turn for the worst that I can hardly keep up.

Finally, the Story
The story was entertaining and kept my attention. I felt like the change of location was the most important part of the story, and the process of getting there. Arriving at the desired part of the world was important, too, but we saw them move more often than sit still: Maia with her hunter, Jon Tayt and the killer her father hired to protect her. There was equal emphasis on character development as well as the progression of the story but the story felt like it was more in the foreground.

Be ye warned, spoilers ahead
It’s spoiler time! The best time of the review. The king. Omg, the king. Not her father the king but the stable boy-king. I did not see that coming. I have this faint feeling that that is a twist that I’ve seen in another book or two but it was so long ago that I cannot remember which book. That turned out for the best because I did not see the twist coming–that the king was the stable boy who was flirting with her. I absolutely loved the executing of the twist, how at first we think that the king is the stable-boy’s brother, that was the twist I first thought was true, but then then came the twist a moment later when Collier Feint turned out to be the king, asking for her hand in marriage. Well, ask is a bit generous; he backed her into a corner and forced her to become his queen. So not cool, dude. But I think it’s going to turn out for the best. Even though he said he’d never love her, I mean, come on, of course they’re going to fall in love.

I was actually dissapointed by the lack of relationships in the book. When it first started out I truly thought the hired killer was going to be in a love triangle with her and the stable boy, but that never happened. Actually, the hired killer didn’t have a name or a face; we just knew he was hired by her father to protect her. EXCEPT NOT REALLY because he was actually hired to kill her. She figured that out sooner than I did but I believed it. I didn’t put it past her father to do something terrible like that.

And then yet another twist happened, the one that was eerily similar to Dreamstrider, where her mind and body are taken over when she’s sleeping. It was fun that I didn’t quite catch on to that at first but I felt like someone, Jon Tayt, at least, should have told her what he was seeing. That’s a big secret to keep from her–that she’s possessed by someone else when she sleeps and she goes around flippin’ sleepwalking for weeks. Had they let her in on it sooner, though, that would have ruined the surprise. I just don’t understand why both men kept it a secret from her.
Profile Image for Jo.
82 reviews9 followers
December 14, 2019
Given this is the first book in a long time where I will actually be pursuing the next book in the series, I can't really give this anything less than 4 stars (although I do think I would prefer 3.5/5).

This is an intriguing book that successfully gripped me and I finished it off in a few days. Maia makes a strong main character, independent if a little confused at times. I feel like I could have gotten to know her a bit better but overall she was a motivated and quick-thinker and didn't make any particularly stupid decisions. She has experienced a lot of strife but has pushed on regardless, avoiding becoming jaded and bitter, and her sense of loyalty is commendable.

The world-building is interesting. There is lots of pseudo-history fantasy authors are always so fond of, though I'll admit to being somewhat lost at times (mostly because I have a habit of skimming through the extra long historical exposition). In the end however, I followed it well enough to enjoy the conclusion to the first in this series and it all became clear enough. It all sort of tied together in the end, even if I maybe missed out on some of the foreshadowing.

The magic system is novel. I feel like Maia's powers could have been expanded on a little, I still don't really understand the full extent of what she can do and most of the battles largely comprised of Maia losing control, making people frightened, and her freaking herself out.

Maia's companions were good additions. They had some depth (although I didn't really form much of an attachment to the Kishion even if Maia would disagree) and Argus (Angus?) the dog provided some wholesome levity. The 'love' interest had me conflicted throughout and I'm very intrigued as to how that relationship will pan out in later books.

Overall, there were lots of unexpected plot twists and character reveals throughout The Banished of Muirwood that it made for an exciting read. The characters are easy to get attached to and the world-building creates an intriguing, novel setting for the reader to explore. I enjoyed the first in the trilogy and hope the next book can continue to intrigue me.

Edit: I've actually reduced my rating to 3/5 upon some reflection.
Profile Image for Iryna Paprotska.
194 reviews15 followers
February 20, 2019
The Covenant of Muirwood trilogy moves us many years into the future from the time previous events with Lia took place. I believe the story fits nicely into the line of books and I am still happy I decided to go with the order of books proposed by the author.

The story itself is nice. It was tiresome from time to time to keep the storyline in the present and in the past. I was also disappointed by the Cinderella motif in the book... Maia, the princess of the realm, as the main character is conflicting, strong and charming. But there are also some strange decisions she is making and some gaps in her personality.. I like the idea of her being the hetaera and fighting from within, it was a great moment in the book when she sees the hetaera mark on her shoulders, but her character lacks integrity not because of dual personality and this internal strugle. There was just something missing. I also did not like the way things have been happening between her and her husband. And there is this persistent note about forbidden kisses throughout the book, where I keep having this feeling it will be resolved in the end and the seal on her shoulder will be broken somehow.

I like the ending of the book. It was a good promise, as she learns a lot about her life and her role in the future. It was also a nice touch on the magic, in the end, to know that Lia was waving to Maia and her grandmother from the past seeing the future.

Overall the book was ok, but for a fresh Jeff Wheeler's reader, I would definitely not recommend starting here. We have to many context from previous books that will be missing, that it will be hard to grasp the idea, imho. 3 starts thus.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Donna.
22 reviews2 followers
September 21, 2017
I liked the strong female lead character in this book. This storyline shows many oppressions towards females in general, but the main character, Maia, mentally overcomes the countless obstacles that are thrown at her from every angle. This story paints a tale of learning self control, overcoming hardships, and determination in the face of all odds.

The only thing that made this book somewhat difficult to read for me was the complex pronunciation of names of various people, magic, titles, etc. I quickly switched to the audiobook version which made all the difference. Good storyline. This book paints a good picture for the next installment, but does not end in a cliffhanger, so it could easily be read as a standalone.
Profile Image for Megan.
1,541 reviews188 followers
March 14, 2018
The Banished of Muirwood was an entertaining read, though at times it was hard to follow the story and so it could've been better. Maia was an okay heroine, but she made so many silly decisions. The world was interesting and I'd like to know more about it. I'll probably read the next book in the series, just not sure how soon that'll be.
Profile Image for David Bergsland.
Author 98 books47 followers
August 12, 2019
Almost depressing

It’s a fantasy, and I love fantasy. But it’s so dark that it approaches hopelessness. I really wanted to like it, but it just wasn’t there. The good is just missing.
Profile Image for Taylor Peckover.
17 reviews
January 27, 2023
Another quick library grab about which I knew nothing. I was hoping it was a stand alone, turns out it's the first of a trilogy. I may or may no read the next book. Wasn't too bad, a fun story and easy read.
Profile Image for Chad.
14 reviews5 followers
October 19, 2018
Very good. Started slowly but has great character development.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 532 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.