Admittedly, An Apprentice to Elves, is a bit of a slow boil. In fact I was surprised when I checked Goodreads and saw that it was only 336 pages (I read an advanced copy for Kindle). The writing style takes some getting used to, as does the world of Iskryne. However, if you spend the time and get to know this piece, you’ll be rewarded with a rich world with likable characters and some interesting modes of living.
The humans are short lived and seemingly violent. The Svartalfar are stifled by their rules, etiquette and tradition, while the Aettrynalfar seem reclusive but open minded. Of course there are the mysterious trolls which we learn little about except that they are pretty darn magical but most likely evil. And of course, there are wolves as well. The main character, Alfgyfa perfectly placed to belong to each of these groups but lacks a feeling of belonging to any. She appears to be the deepest and most interesting of any of the characters in the novel; however, her story doesn’t seem to be her own. She moves within the plot to solve other’s conflicts but I never felt that she got ‘her’ happy ending.
There was one line that stood out to me. A line that was ‘heavy’ you might say. The inquiring Alf, Idocrase, asks Alfgyfa about the human’s short lives and their lack of tradition. He asks her: “Without traditions how can you trust?” She responds that it’s our stories that build trust. This seemed very important to me somehow that I haven’t worked out yet.
In conclusion, An Apprentice to Elves, is not a novel that will inspire the raw enthusiasm of a new Jurassic Park movie, but there are some interesting pieces in their to explore if you can sift through the rest.
PS: I might check out A Companion to Wolves and The Tempering of Men first. I haven’t read either yet but I get the impression it would definitely have added to the experience. Have a few other things I’ll be looking at first, but I might go back to them 🙂