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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

The Search of Mavin Manyshaped - Sheri S. Tepper It's been twenty years since Mavin Manyshaped has left Danderbat Keep, and it's now time for the long-planned reunion with the wizard Himaggery at the hotel Mudgery Mont. She arrives at the inn only to be greeted with brief messages from Windlow and from Himaggery, who wrote an emergency love letter in case he is unable to make their meeting. She heads to out of the city to meet Windlow's messenger, only to run into Throsset, a rebel woman shapeshifter who also hailed from Danderbat Keep. After discussion, she resolves to search for Himmaggery, and heads north, following his footsteps to his first stop at a wizard's demesne. On the way, she runs into an unusual lake known as the Lake of Faces, and is attacked by a harpy as she investigates. Though suspicious of the wizard Chamferton and his relationship with the harpy, she stays with him a day or two, learning what she can about Himaggery's search. From there she heads north following a mysterious group of runners, until she meets a Dervish. The Dervishe directs her to a tower of shadows, and helps her solve the mystery of Himaggery. Shadows follow her home as she leads a pair of transformed wizards to a "place where no shadows are," but luckily she will have help from her old friends, the Shadowpeople. The weakest of the three Mavin-focused books, I still find Search worth the read. It's somewhat more somber, somewhat less whimsical, but Tepper's continually inventive, most notably in the lake of faces. More than anything, the three Mavin books remind me of a woman's evolution in sex consciousness: in the first book, she learns the constraints and unfair expectations of her family group; in the second, she indirectly struggles against a society's and religion's constraints; and in the last, Mavin struggles with how love can be similarly constraining. It's somewhat of a feminist diatribe at the end that I understand far better now than I had when reading at fifteen. While I wouldn't disagree with Mavin's choice, the whole pretense of meeting after twenty years seemed somewhat unrealistic from the start, a romantic idealization more suitable for a younger person. I would have rather had a Mavin adventure than the end arc of a romantic journey.