Elizabeth Boyer,
Wizard's War #2: The Curse of Slagfid
(Del Rey, 1989)

The Curse of Slagfid picks up where The Troll's Grindstone left off. Leifr, now revealed as a Scipling, continues to fulfill a hero's role in the Alfar realm with the help of his wizard pal, Thurid. His romance with Ljosa is still on hold since the climactic battle at the end of the last book; she's missing, and possibly hiding in the form of a cat. And now a new sorcerer, Djofull, is wreaking havoc, and might just be able to resurrect the evil wizard Sorkvir, whom Team Leifr so recently defeated.

Oh, and Thurid has the severed but animated hand of another wizard clinging to his arm. His (its?) motives are ... vague.

This book stumbles, however, because after the opening adventure that sets the stage for the bulk of this novel, Leifr and Thurid find themselves in a cursed and barren wasteland, the guests of an unwilling and resentful family plagued by Jotuns (malformed night-walking giants). They are sworn to rid the land of the curse by destroying the Jotuns -- and the power behind them -- by season's end.

The problem is, once they arrive in cursed Hraedsla-dalur, the book becomes a long waiting game. There's a lot of inactivity to slog through as our heroes bicker with each other over the proper course of action, and bicker with their always-angry hosts. By the time we arrived at our climax, I was tired of the tale.

Elizabeth Boyer served up several excellent fantasy adventures before this one, so I'm willing to give her a pass. There are two more books in the series, and I'll give them a try. This one, though, did not impress.

book review by
Tom Knapp

12 August 2017

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