The Far West is the third YA frontier fantasy/adventure novel in the Frontier Magic series by Patricia C. Wrede.
The series started with Thirteenth Child and then went on to Across the Great Barrier, if you haven’t read those books I’d recommend clicking on the titles and reading those reviews instead of this one. Don’t wanna spoil anything for ya!!!
For those of you bibliophiles who are up-to-date on the series, you’ll remember that Eff proved herself to be quite the powerful magician when her traveling party went beyond the Great Barrier in the last book – meeting dangerous saber cats, steam dragons, and an entirely unknown species that they’ve named the medusa lizard because of its ability to turn you to stone.
But her feat doesn’t make too much of a dent back home. She’s still helping with chores and actively participating in wildlife studies at the college, which she enjoys very much. Yet her heart keeps drawing her back to the Far West.
Her mother and sisters think she’s crazy to want to venture into the unknown again – but for Eff it is fascinating and adventurous.
So, when the government decides there needs to be a new expedition and her twin brother Lan, longtime best friend William, and mentors are all going to go – well, she wants to go with them.
Will this journey finally push her luck too far?
I absolutely love the naturalistic, softly elemental magic drenched in organic frontier life – as well as Eff’s matter-of-fact personality in The Far West and the previous two novels.
The thing I struggle with in all of these books, though, is this slowness that is just so relaxed (which I actually like) that can tend to be sluggish. However, I wasn’t bored at all while reading The Far West – that I want to be clear on. I’m always intrigued reading this series. It can just feel like it’s plodding at times.
Yet I care for these characters that Patricia C. Wrede has created and the simplicity of the storytelling pulls me in. The gentle relationships, surprises and expeditions have a unique, consistently excellent way about them – and we get a smart, independent heroine in Eff.
It’s hard to put my finger on anything I’d change. Because the thing that frustrates me (the leisureliness) also charms me. Wow. This book makes me sounds like I have a split-personality! Hopefully, as fellow book lovers, you know where I’m coming from with all this gibberish.
Thing is, The Far West felt like a conclusion to the Frontier Magic series. I don’t know for a fact that it is, but it really felt like an ending. And I have to say that I am satisfied and happily contented by the way things wrapped up. I did skim some of the more detailed paragraphs, but I really did enjoy the story would look to maybe read the series again someday – when I have time (what a thought!).
I do recommend The Far West and the entire series – but just don’t expect to whip through it. This is one to take your time on, soak in the language and find interest in smaller things. Sounds like your kind of book? Check it out!
*Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Dec 31st, when the third annual Stand-Out Books of the Year list is posted!!!