Tor, Dec 2002, 24.95, 269 pp.
In Ethshar of the Rocks, apprentice wizard Kilisha returns to the shop after collecting ingredients for her next lesson when she realizes a disaster has occurred. The shell of her mentor Ithanalin the Wise lies perfectly still as if he has been turned into a statue. Using a magic mirror that absorbed much of Ithanalin's memory she learns what happened to her teacher. He was working on a spell when someone knocked on his door. When he went to answer, he tripped over a spriggan and lost control of the spell sending his essence among the nearby inanimate objects. The knocker opened the door letting out the fleeing rug and much of the furniture.
Kilisha begins an effort to gather up the animated inanimate objects so that she can get help from the Wizards Guild in performing a restorative spell. However, because of rebellion elsewhere, Kilisha receives little aid from the guild so she must depend on her own resources to gather the now living artifacts, amuse a spriggan that just wants to have fun, and hopefully with fingers crossed bring back her teacher to his former self.
This amusing fantasy is a delightful tale that showcases Lawrence Watt-Evans' ability to cast a spell on his audience. The entertaining story line is an action-packed journey into wizard-hood that teens will especially like, as there is plenty of cotton candy to sweeten the tale. Kilisha is a wonderful heroine who faces the responsibilities thrown on her with trembling fear, but performs her duties majestically. The support cast, especially the spriggan, adds to a gentle frolic for genre fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner