The Apprentice


No one ever approached Shayna's tower, for the plainsmen feared the sorceress--until Corwyn came, seeking apprenticeship.

Jaimah, Shayna's servant girl, feared Corwyn. He had hidden powers that were far beyond those of a mere apprentice. But he was kind, and she found herself strangely attracted to him.

Far more terrifying was Shayna's obsession with an evil and uncontrollable spell to bind the Master Magician Morgus to her own will. She had failed once already. Now she sought the mountain Peak, to try at the place where magic was strongest.

Jaimah knew that she planned to draw Corwyn's own magic into herself to aid her spell. And she knew that Corwyn held secrets about himself from the sorceress. She knew that there would be an inevitable confrontation between sorceress and apprentice--with her the helpless pawn!

Review of The Apprentice
Kat says:        
May 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm

There was a book that came out in the late 80′s, early 90′s called “The Apprentice” by Deborah Talmadge-Bickmore. It was one of those books that was on the shelf one day, gone the next, dropped because of bad critic reviews (reader reviews tend to favor it) and just not enough interest, though it probably would have done better today. It was ahead of its time, focusing almost solely on characterization in a time period when most people were still going the “epic fantasy” route, and adding a heftier dose of romance than you saw back then.

The book had a main character names Jamiah, who is about the least ass-kicking heroine you’d ever hope to meet, but the reason I love her is because of how realistic I find her. She was taken in by a power hungry sorceress when she was abandoned by her parents, and raised in near isolation in a tower on a mountaintop. The sorceress was wonderfully
portrayed as a sort of abusive mother, someone who had and probably still did love Jamiah, but who was also domineering, controlling, emotionally and physically abusive, and dismissive of the heroine. And this is where we come into the story.

A man wanting to be the sorceress’s apprentice (I know, the phrasing brings Disney flashbacks) appears at the tower and is accepted, but he has a side he only shows Jamiah: a power that might be stronger than even the sorceress’s, and he seems to be angling to take her down. The bulk of the story shows how Jamiah–used to a subservient life doing what others tell her–deals with this.

She spends quite a bit of the book panicked, wishy-washy, and dealing with increasingly torn loyalties, but she does so in a manner appropriate for someone coming from her circumstances. And while she is, almost by necessity a passive heroine, she is by no means a weak or stupid one. When she feels she knows the right action to take, she takes it immediately, and always follows through with it, no matter what the consequences.

I am always impressed by strength of will in heroines in my books, but even more so when it comes to characters like Jamiah. She’s coming from a weaker, worse place than those who happen to know martial arts or have incredible magic to call on, but she acts anyway, even in defiance of everything she’s known. If she needs saved, its obvious it’s because she has not yet learned to save herself, not because she’s too simpering to try. And if she’s wishy-washy, its for legitimate reasons–anyone in her circumstances might feel powerless, beaten down, or even broken, and certainly would have trouble knowing who to trust. But she feels her way out anyway, and does so with courage, if not always grace.

So…yeah, of all the kick-ass heroines I’ve read about, for some reason I have a thing for the underdog.

1 comment:

Three Rs said...

This came out the year I graduated high school, and I took it back and forth to college with me many a time, I loved it so much. Definitely a favorite.

I always hoped you'd write a sequel. I loved Corwyn and Jaimah, both individually and together, and wanted to see their relationship once Jaimah was out from under Shayla's thumb. I wanted to see Jaimah bloom fully, and see Corwyn... well, ok, I'm a sap: spoil her rotten. ;)