I recently mentioned reading Lawrence Watt-Evans' excellent Misenchanted Sword again, and again enjoying it (and I'll repeat myself as well, that that new cover is terrible. Though at least it's people-focused). After reading it, I went poking around amazon, and found another of his old books, Taking Flight (new cover on this one also. It doesn't do much for me, but I don't hate it. And the original cover wasn't exactly great either. Call it a wash, I guess).
The description seemed a bit familiar, but I was sure I hadn't read it, so I ordered it. It arrived, and I'd read about half of it (a week or two ago, actually) before looking at my shelves and realizing that I already owned a copy. Ugh.
But that didn't keep me from finishing it. It wasn't as good as Misenchanted Sword, but it was pretty interesting. It had a lot of thinking in it about maturity and the concept of growing up. It took me a while to figure out what was going on with Irith; I think it was shortly before Azraya was introduced when I realized how things had to end.
It's an interesting idea, gaining more experience without maturing, though a weird one, as well. It kind of reminds me of a spell idea thrown out in Joel Rosenberg's awesome Guardians of the Flame series. In it, an engineer posits an explosive created magically by heating something up (nearly?) to plasma, casting a spell to preserve its state, then cooling it. The weird part coming when you juxtapose state preservation with cooling. The two just don't seem to go together.
Anyway, Irith is much like that. It certainly makes her an interesting character, and the book ended the way it needed to, but the story was pretty enjoyable, even though there really wasn't much going on in it. The only thing I found a bit disappointing about the book was that I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Kelder's life. It kind of ended at the beginning, in a way. The story of the book was about him and Irith, so it made total sense, but I was still wondering.
Anyway, it made for a cool book. I liked how the main characters from Misenchanted Sword showed up, and played a small, but important, parts. i doubt I'll be rereading it, but it was worth the read.