Books Review: The Wolf and the Ward; Lions and a Library

Catelli, Mary. “The Wolf and the Ward,” (short story) and “The Lion and the Library” (novella) Kindle editions

What can a woman do? Powerless, subordinate, dependent on family and on the good will of powerful men, Charity in “The Wolf and the Ward” and Lena in “The Lion and the Library” have nothing but wits, determination, and the will to use what they do have in order to see justice done. When magic is twisted and warped, these ladies find ways to untangle the knots and shine light on evil.

Mary Catelli’s spare writing style gives the reader just enough to build a world and to imagine the scenery without any excess. You do not need to know the story of the conquest of the Celestians by the Solanians to detest the results. Nor is it vital to understand what Duke Leonard rules over or about the fire. The stories both begin in the middle, with protagonists who discover that they must unravel a mystery. The style pulls the reader in and engages very well. As in, don’t start these when you have stuff to do or need to go to bed within the next few minutes. “I’ll just read a few pages” didn’t work.

For those who are getting tired of the “damsel in distress whips out sword/spellbook/Ninja training and saves self and dude,” don’t worry. The true Lord Martin and Erion the Scholar (and Scapegoat King) do not stand idly by.

This is just the sort of fantasy I used to enjoy and then had trouble finding on the shelves. Fortunately, Catelli has a very long list of works available through a number of stores and I look forward to reading more.

Highly recommended and suitable for younger readers (12+).