Worldweavers 1: Gift of the Unmage
by Alma Alexander
Cover Artist: Kamil Vojnar
Review by Gayle Surrette
Eos Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780060839550
Date: 01 March, 2007 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Galathea Georgiana "Thea" Wintrop is the seventh daughter of parents who were each a seventh child -- a double seventh. She was expected to be powerful and talented, but she's flunking magic. Her older brothers tease her and even her younger brother can do magic. But the disappointment in her father's eyes is painful. Her parents have sent her to various summer programs and no one has been able to teach her magic. Thea is afraid that they're going to send her to The Wandless Academy, a last ditch school for people who can't do magic to learn a trade. So, it's a surprise when Thea's father takes her to spend time with a friend, Cheveyo. It's her last chance to learn to work magic.
Most 14 year olds don't have the news clipping in their scrapbooks that prove that they aren't living up to what's expected of them. When Thea was younger, people just thought she'd be a late bloomer, but now they've lost hope. Thea tries with all she has to become what is expected but she can't feel the magic energy in her world. She's hurt and feels betrayed by her family when she's sent to live with Cheveyo in the desert. But her time with Cheveyo, who names her Catori, is a pause where she can find her bearing and begin to be herself. Cheveyo introduces her to Grandmother Spider and a whole new world of possibilities opens for Thea. She also learns that there's more to her world and what is happening to it than what goes on in her life. Thea begins to look outside herself at other people, at the world and its problems.
Thea's world is one in which magic exists but also one where some people just can't learn or are allergic to magic. It's also a world where humans have met and established trade with beings from other places -- the Alphiri, the Dwarrowim, and Faele. It's our world with a big twist to keep us unsettled and wondering how else this world differs from our own.
Thea may not be able to do magic but that doesn't mean she isn't special. I found myself enchanted by this young woman who tried so hard to please others and struggled to learn what would please herself. All the characters were fully developed and multi-dimensional, there are no walk on parts. The setting is as important as the characters and they all flow together to make you keep turning the pages only to find you must wait for the next book to see what happens next.