Wow! What a series!
I finished four books in one and a half weeks, and my mind is a little blurry now. Yeah, I am not the fast reader I used to be, but I did pretty good :).
A.F.E. Smith has a done an outstanding job in creating a fantasy world full of political drama, power-play, secret assassinations, espionage, and romance. Gender discrimination, sexual identity, immigrant issues, did she leave anything? Did I leave anything out?
Phew! How did she manage all that? If you want to find out, check her awesome interview with Laura M Hughes.
The review is going to highlight the third book in the series, Windsinger, as I have received an ARC of that book from Harper Voyager via Netgalley. The first two books are from my collection, and I will write those reviews later, in future. My opinion is my own and not influenced in any way.
Ayla Nightshade is the anchor for the series. Each book builds up around her, but the focus is spread across some secondary characters, all of them developing gradually with the progress of the series, and all of them playing important parts in each book.
Windsinger: Book review
Multiple POV isn’t something I enjoy. It can be repetitive, tedious, and confusing. However, it was quite appropriate for Windsinger. Each book can be read as a standalone, the reason I liked them so much. No cliffhangers to make you curse the author to a wyvern’s mouth.
The mystery builds up quickly. Emotion plays a significant role in the story. My favorites are the chapters on Ree’s confrontation with her parents, and the final battle scene where parents take turns to sing a lullaby to a distraught child while fighting enemies in an aircraft.
Neave Sparrow, Ree, Miles, are three of the most interesting characters from Windsinger.
I love the way A.F.E. (remind me to send a spy to find out her real name, A.F.E. is so…) has worked with Mile’s role. The dilemma in his mind that tears him up between his love, his delusions, his patriotism, is measured and perfect. The author knows how to make her readers invest themselves into the characters.
The chain of events involving each secondary character adds to the story, not just by bulk but into its skeleton.
I will give you a simple example. Ree’s fears, aspirations, prejudices, her parents’ archaic (not so much, really) but typical behavior, all that would initially feel like a back story. It did to me, at least.
Similarly, Neave Sparrow, Miles, etc. everybody gave us glimpses of their past lives through inner thoughts.
Then, around half-way through the book, all those seemingly mundane tales of woe and joy started converging into the main story. The mystery that had built up as the vertebral column started gaining flesh. Soon, the book became a living, breathing creature, so alike Ayla herself.
The romantic aspect of the book took a backseat making way for the action or suspense, giving this novel a real sense of fantasy-mystery-thriller. Every genre mixed into the brew feels carefully measured, never allowing the reader’s mind wander away due to a varied taste.
Do you like fantasy? You get chargers (alicorn is cool, but I am a hieracosphinx. Yep, I have taken the test). Do you like mystery? You get espionage, murder in cold blood, the framing of innocents.
Hmm, let’s see. What else? Do you like action adventure? Your wish has been granted. Romantic at heart? Want some emotions? The love between a married couple, parental love for children, gay lovers, an asexual person forced into marriage, nobody is left out.
Everybody is allowed to live and let live in this world. One might have to fight for the rights, like the reality, but one will survive.
The antagonists are believable. The schemes are logical. The conclusion feels justified.
In a word, this book is a must-read for any genre lover, anybody who likes a well-structured story that will draw you in and not let you go till the end.
I happily offer four Bohostars to the lovely A.F.E. Smith for a delightful journey and hope she makes us happier by producing more such enjoyable reads.
Thank you, Laura, for your excellent taste in books, recommendations, and overall talent in finding some real gems.
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Did you read this book? No? Go, get it! Did you? Okay, then tell me what charger form do you take? How would you rate the book? Use the comment section, fellas.