Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts
Prince Lysaer controls light, but has never been trained in sorcery. His half-brother, Prince Arithon, controls shadow and received sorcery training before having to embrace his royal future. The two are sworn enemies because of their fathers. Their mutual grandfather is the man who taught Arithon his magical skills. When Arithon is captured, the grandfather swears that whatever happens to Arithon will happen to Lysaer. Lysaer’s father forswears killing Arithon because of the threat and instead has him exiled. Because of the curse, Lysaer gets caught in the exiled land with his hated half brother.
This is the story of how the two survive in a gray, mist covered land. Rathain is their new home, one they will not leave. There are prophesies that it will take both of their power to rid the land of the mist. As they begin their journey in reluctant cooperation, they learn to respect each other. They begin to see each other as worthy men rather than as adversaries. This new land that will belong to them is attempting to divide them.
The sorcerers of the Rathain guide them on the journey to defeat the mistwraith. They have done some future visioning and continue to see wars and bloodshed between the brothers. As one manipulates light and the other shadow, the evil is stealing in to pervert the princes’ work. They turn from newly trusted friends to enemies more bitter than before the exile.
This novel yanked my emotions all over the place. I was sure at the beginning that Lysaer is supposed to be the character to sympathize with. Then I found myself feeling sorry for Arithon. As the novel continues, one character becomes less sympathetic on the surface than the other. It is only when remembering the pervading evil that keeps the reader’s sympathy divided between the two. The battle scene is horrendous. I was reading that while waiting for my daughter’s choir concert to begin. I know other people in the audience were wondering at my painful grimaces as the battle unfolded. It was difficult to restrain my tears for both of the princes.
This is a deep tale, with many layers still to be uncovered. It is not a quick read, by any means. The characters are too difficult to let go. I had to put the book down, read something else, come back to it, and immediately be immersed again.