Tag Archives: Jody Lynn Nye

Nye, Jody Lynn: A Forthcoming Wizard (Tildi Summerbee II) (2009)


A lot of the books I read remind me of issues that I regularly think about. A Forthcoming Wizard (and An Unexpected Apprentice) reminded me of the many times I have wondered about the concept of racism and the idea of “perfect/ideal”.

Back in the days the Shining Ones took it upon themselves to experiment with the knowledge they had acquired. Like all good scientist they asked themselves the question “I wonder what would happen if …”. Unlike the really good scientists, the Shining Ones forgot to ask themselves the next important question “If I do this, how will it impact …?”. The Shining Ones just went ahead and did what they wanted in the name of furthering their own knowledge often deceiving themselves as to the level of nobility of their choices. Oh, what tangled webs we weave. At one point some of them looked beyond themselves and saw that perhaps they had gone too far in satisfying their curiosity. All of them except Knemet finally came to see that there comes a point in one’s life when one has to acknowledge the consequences of one’s actions.

Is Knemet evil? Maybe amoral would be a better word for it. He doesn’t do things because they are bad. He just does whatever is needed to expedite his wishes. Knemet just wants the Compendium/the Great Book so he can destroy it, thereby ending what he considers his dreary life. But as we already saw in An Unexpected Apprentice, destroying the Compendium will destroy the world. He could care less, and that is why The Great Book must be kept from him.

In my review of An Unexpected Apprentice I posited the hypothesis that the Scholardom could be considered the “bad guy” of the story of Tildi Summerbee. I believe I retract that hypothesis. They base their actions on a certain set of traditions, values, and knowledge. Some of those actions are definitely in the category “bad” in that the actions are incredibly racist. But most of the Scholardom (at least the ones we meet) are teachable. Once they see that their own theories about purity were wrong/misguided, the Knights of Scholardom are willing to try and change.

Tildi continues with her growing pains. Challenging our own traditions and myths hurts. At least I know it did for me. Tildi managed that awful task of asking herself if what she thought was the “right way” might possibly be wrong or just one of many ways. Doing so changes the way she is perceived by others but more importantly how she perceives herself. Her friends both help and hinder her in this process.

The ending of the Tildi Summerbee saga is predictable and almost Disney-like. I think that will be a comfort for the younger audience.


My review of An Unexpected Apprentice

Nye, Jody Lynn: An Unexpected Apprentice (Tildi Summerbee I) (2007)

An Unexpected Apprentice
Cover art by Michael W. Kaluta

“Her friends shot her sympathetic glances, but none of them dared leave their husbands’ or fathers’ sides to be with her.

Smallfolk tradition prevented the girls from going off without permission, even such a small distance. It was only common sense, Tildi had been lectured all the time while growing up. Girls weren’t as strong or as fast as boys. Plenty of dangerous creatures lurked about the Quarters waiting from such a tender young morsel to happen by unprotected – and not all of them were wild animals. That was the rationale her mother had given her for why the custom continued even in cultivated places where there was no reasonable threat. The explanation did not satisfy her, but such matters could only be discussed in private among her companions where the boys couldn’t hear them. Disobedient girls would be made to stand up in meetings with a slate around their necks that read SHAME.”

Even today it can be difficult to find female main characters who stand alone. Or rather female characters who do not need romantic involvement or hero-worship of a male character to keep the story going. Tildi Summerbee in An Unexpected Apprentice manages to be such a character. Perhaps that is not such a surprise considering the society she comes from. In tearing herself loose from the Smallfolk Quarters and setting out on her own, Tildi has to redefine and question the values she has grown up with. Having been orphaned from her entire family is probably a major factor in her seeking her own future independent of the voices of her elders. Sometimes it is when we seemingly have no choices, we find that it is only just now that we have real choices.

I like Tildi. She goes from questioning her right to do anything to being someone who has learned to do without all the things she had previously thought important.

The wizard Nemeth is the reason Tildi and her merry band of 6 set off on their quest to recover “The Book” (really a scroll). My diagnosis is that Nemeth has gone insane from his contact with The Book and from his lust for revenge. I understand his need. Who hasn’t at some point or another wished for the ability to pay back some perceived wrong (whether real or imaginary). Revenge coupled with power over the fabric of the world turns out dire in its effects.

Thankfully Tildi’s merry band is a little more experienced than she. We have the wizards Edynn and her daughter Serafina. Both are accomplished at their craft even though Edynn has centuries more experience than Serafina. The princess Rin is the representative from the centaurs (half horse/half human). She is highly competitive, fun and strong. Tildi ends up having to catch a ride with Rin because of her complete lack of experience in riding any kind of animal. Lakanta is a peddler and a seemingly odd choice for the merry band, but as the story progresses we see that she too represents a group of people that aren’t quite human. Finally we have the Captain Teryn and her soldier Morag. Morag has been magically transformed into a mix of human and something else. For natural reasons he tends to panic when faced with too much magic. The Captain is highly protective of Morag.

There are two more characters that I really enjoyed in An Unexpected Apprentice. One of them is Silvertree. Silvertree is supposed to be the home of the wizard Olen. It is that. But Silvertree is also a person in its own rights. If visitors offend it, Silvertree makes life a whole lot more difficult for them – the way it did with Rin’s brother when he was rude to it. Tildi, on the other, hand gets VIP treatment from Silvertree. I like a tree with a personality.

Magpie is another great character. He lets the world think of him as nothing more than a troubadour with his mind aflutter with silliness. In fact there is a bit more depth to him and he just happens to be the third son of King Solindur of Orontae.

Nemeth isn’t really “the bad guy”. He is just crazy. If I was going to pick a “bad guy”, I would have to choose the Scholardom. Scholardom is such an innocent sounding word. Well-intentioned people can be incredibly dangerous. Getting their hands on The Book is something that must be avoided for these are the people who want to correct all the aberrations of the world. That would mean that any mix of human and other should be changed into human. They find it unfathomable that anyone would actually choose to remain as they are.

I think An Unexpected Apprentice would fit the age range of anyone able to read the Hobbit or Harry Potter. An Unexpected Apprentice is full of humour, of action, warmth, and drama.


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