Wyrmeweald: Returner’s Wealth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Young pioneer, Micah, enters Wrymeweald full of hope to return home having made his fortune. But this is a land where wyrmes, fabulous dragon-like beasts, roam wild and reign supreme. In Wyrmeweald man is both hunter and hunted – and seventeen-year-old Micah may never return alive, let alone a hero…

After a near-brush with death on the edge of a canyon, Micah soon finds a chance to prove his worth when he meets with Eli, a veteran tracker of Wyrmeweald. They choose to defend a rare whitewyrme egg and its precious hatchling before it falls into the hands of a band of evil Kith. But the fledgling wyrme has its own guardian in the shape of the beautiful, brave and dangerous Thrace.

Thrace, a Kin and a highly-skilled wyrme rider-assasin; and Micah, a would-be Kith, should never mix – but the magnetism between them is strong. Together they join forces on a mission to rescue the hatchling and seek vengenace for loved-ones lost at the hand of Kith bandits. Meanwhile the glorious whitewyrme colony of Wyrmeweald looks on as its land is encroached by gold-diggers and ravaged by bounty hunters. Is Exodus the only option? And if so, when – and where – will they flee too?

wyrmeweald-returners-wealthI was actually rather interested in this book when I saw it, and with it being a fantasy aimed at a younger readership I really fancied giving it a go to see what the YA market has to offer, especially from two authors who have had great success with their previous books. I started reading it because I wanted a quick change from sci-fi, and being a YA book (despite it’s hefty size) it read very easily and quickly. From the moment I picked up Returner’s Wealth I knew I was in for a treat, the first pages pulling me in and taking me along for the ride!

We first meet Micah after he has left the safety of the plains and headed into the wyrmeweald, a place of danger where wyrme’s roam free and bandits – the kith – are a constant problem. As he makes his way deeper into the wyrmeweald he narrowly escapes with his life after encountering wyrmes before meeting Eli, a veteran of the wyrmeweald. Micah’s goal is simple – to gain returner’s wealth so he can return to the plains and live a life in luxury. With events drawing him and Eli to Thrace, a kin with her own great wyrme, events lead to more than just the quest fo the returner’s wealth.

Wyrmeweald: Returner’s Wealth is a great and action packed story that is set in such a vividly realised setting. The background details are revealed throughout and it’s great to read a story where the authors have done such a good job at creating a world that is interesting and enjoyable to read about, even the more sinister aspects add a great depth to the story.

Micah is the main character here and early on in the novel we learn of his reasons of leaving the plains through a series of flashbacks telling that tale. It adds a good amount of depth to the character and allows a connection to him throughout his journey and discoveries. Eli is also a really interesting character with more to him than first meets the eye. Through the interactions between him, Micah and Thrace we learn more of why he is like he is and how he has survived for as long as he has. Thrace is the outsider as far as the three main characters go, living a life of solitude with her wyrme and protecting other wyrmes in the weald. She has a good arc and the events at the end of the novel open her up more than I initially thought we’d see of her.

One of the things I did notice about this novel is that despite its YA target audience it does read very much like a normal fantasy novel. It’s not been hacked of all mature content and I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of some scenes. The occasional scene of violence and romance are handled well, but I though that this is a book for mid to late teens rather than early teens, at least that’s what I thought after reading it.

All in all a promising start to a series and I’ll be sure to check out the sequel when it’s released!

One thought on “Wyrmeweald: Returner’s Wealth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell”

  1. Oh, good to hear. I haven't quite gotten to the copy of Wyrmeweald I ended up with after your recommendation, but it's been looking at me from the TBR stack every time I pick something else up. Maybe next time, knowing it's actually worth its weight, it'll finally stare me down.

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