Book Review: The Warrior’s Path by Catherine M. Wilson (Three Stars)


Book Review: The Warrior’s Path (When Women Were Warriors #1) by Catherine M. Wilson

(Three Stars)

“There’s no putting spilled blood back.”

More like 3.5 stars. A well-conceived and well-realized epic-style fantasy about a time and place were all (well, most) of the warriors were women. This story follows a young woman on her quest to become a warrior. On the way, she finds value, belonging and love. Not a bad start.

“Tell me later,” she said. “Sit down. Let’s just be quiet for a while.” “I need to tell you — ” “Hush,” she said. “You won’t find the truth in so much talk.” When I stopped talking, my trapped thoughts flew around like dry leaves in a whirlwind.

An iron age culture where all the warriors were women fits modern sensitivities but not historical trends–the Amazons notwithstanding. Not because men are better warriors–though they do tend to have greater upper body strength–but because men are more expendable, even in–especially in small, primitive communities. Child-bearing age women are not. In fact, given the mortality rate of infants and mothers until just 200 years ago, a culture would risk extinction allowing its women to be the sole warriors. Unfortunately, modern times have made women as expendable as men.

“In the dark, you can’t see more than a little piece of anything, and most of what you see in the shadows might be things your mind makes up.”  “Oh,” I said. She smiled. “Didn’t your mother ever say that things always look better in the morning?” I had to smile too. “Everybody’s mother says that.” “Then it must be true.”

The writing and story has a gentle spirit, despite the martial theme. In fact, all the fighting occurs off-stage–as in Shakespeare. Too bad the sex wasn’t similarly left under the covers. The multi-page sex scenes seem pornographic and forced relative to the general tone of the story.

“How old am I?” “I don’t know, Mother. Very old, I think.” “Once I was like you.” “What lies between, Mother?” “Lunch.” “What?” “Bring me some lunch.”

Unlike many multi-volume works Wilson made a pleasing end to this first installment, while leaving plenty of hooks into the continuing story.

“Someday I will be a warrior, bird bones and all!” Maara laughed at my anger. “Someday you’ll be what it’s in you to be. It does no good to argue with the gods about it.”

A good read.

“Do you think I need a mother?” “We all need our mothers.” “Warriors too?” “Warriors too.”