Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book review: Wind and Fire

Wind and Fire
One girl's magical awakening will bring about a whole new adventure and test the limits of her strength like she's never known before.

Wind and Fire by Cheryl Landmark (Asylett Press)
19-year old Tenya does not have it easy.

With her mother being missing for more than 16 years, Tenya finds herself stuck in the day to day drudgery of doing household chores, with a melancholy father who barely notices her and a step-mother who treats her like the dust of Cinderella's shoes.

All her life she's been plagued by mysterious and strange visions, all the while yearning for the presence of the mother she's never forgotten.

What she doesn't realise is that life is about to abruptly catapult her into a new adventure.

When she's kidnapped in the middle of the night, she suddenly finds herself on a strange, new, exciting and dangerous journey that will unleash powers she's never known she'd had and will test her strength and character.

Somewhere, out there, Zardonne, ruler of the Dark Rift (a place desolate, barren and devoid of life - barring the presence of hideous demons), is plotting to invade every corner of the surrounding villages in search of power, authority and mastery over all.

It's up to Tenya and her new companions to discover the magic within her, search for the mother she always felt was alive and together, defeat the devious and demonic master of darkness.

Review:
I am really surprised that I actually ended up enjoying this novel.

The one thing that always makes me nervous is when an author asks me to review a book and I end up not liking it. I do love writing honest reviews, but rarely post reviews on books that I feel have no redeeming quality at all.

I have to admit to being a bit reluctant to read this book as I do think that the cover of the novel is uninspired and doesn't give off that "must-read" feeling that it should. I know one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in one way or another, i do think that everyone is swayed by lovely cover artwork.

Luckily for me, my eagerness to become acquainted with a relatively unknown author's work overwhelmed any reluctance I felt towards reading the actual book. And even though the book has its flaws, I am really glad that I ended up reading it.

At the beginning of the novel, we meet a rather unhappy Tenya. Currently residing with her father and stepmother, Tenya is forced to endure hardship under the iron-fisted rule of said stepmother.

She immediately gains our empathy as she is forced to endure the awful treatment at the hand of her stepmother while her very absent father is rarely at home. Of course, even while she labours away, the sweet, dutiful and sheltered Tenya obviously wishes for freedom.

The old saying, "Be careful what you wish for", applies here as Tenya gets her wish, but just not in the way that she expects.

One night, after standing up to her stepmother, she is kidnapped by two minions of a Dark Lord whose nefarious plans involve getting rid of her, along with the mother that she's always sensed was alive.

What I really liked about the novel is that Cheryl does an incredible job of creating a sheltered character whose growth throughout the novel is set at a realistic and very believable pace.

From living in a sheltered and relatively quiet village, to travelling on a quest to find her mother, Tenya is forced to adapt to circumstances and to adjust whatever perils are thrown her way.

Luckily for her, she's rescued along the way by one of her mother's oldest companions and who quickly becomes a trusty side-kick and friend.

The growing friendship was something that I could easily believe and I thought that it was really great that the trusty sidekick proved to be as great of an alley as he did.

I also liked the fact that when her magic finally revealed itself, she wasn't instantly sure of herself and her ability to use it. It was great to see her being tried and tested and made me root for her even more. I also enjoyed the world-building in this novel, although I did find it overly descriptive at times.

I did have 2 major issues with this book though and the one is that the final confrontation dragged out a little too long for me.

At 232 pages, the novel isn't all that long, but reading a long and drawn-out battle like the one in this novel, made me actually just want to rush through the novel to get to the end.

My second issue with this book (and it's probably the one issue that prevented me from enjoying the novel in its entirety) is some of the dialogue.  For me, one of the important things about enjoying a novel is that when I read the novel and its dialogue, I don't actually want to feel as if I'm reading a story.

For me, the dialogue needs to be so convincing, that even though I'm reading a book, the book needs to sway me into believing that this story has actually happened.  I realise that this is somewhat paradoxical, but when I'm escaping into a fantasy novel (or any other novel for that matter), then the fantasy needs feel and real for me.

Which means, the dialogue needs to be believable enough for me to be convinced that the whole fantasy world is real in all of its fantastical glory. Does that make sense?

But, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the novel, because I did.

I think it's a solid effort on the author's part and I think the novel will appeal to a broad range of people, especially younger readers. The book is filled with tons of adventure, a brave and very likeable heroine, and a lot of interesting allies who all serve to make Tenya's quest all the more interesting for it.

It's a book that definitely deserves the chance to be read!

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Wind and Fire in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of Cheryl Landmark. This has in no way influenced or affected my review and opinion of the book.

5 comments:

The Slowest Bookworm said...

I totally agree with you over that cover. It certainly sounds like it would appeal to a younger audience. Thanks for an honest and open review.

Jenny said...

I adore your reviews Tammy, especially of books that I've got on my list because after reading I know exactly what things I'm going to like and what things I'm going to have problems with in the story. The dialogue worries me, I totally understand what you were saying about it needing to feel real despite being fantasy, and, like you, I don't like being consciously aware of the fact that I'm reading a piece of fiction. Fabulous review!

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Thanks for the review, Tammy. I agree with you on the cover of this one - it doesn't appeal. The book sounds like a good read for younger readers, though.

Straylights said...

Not diggin the cOver either but I've totally learned my lesson about judging books by their covers! (kinda :P) I'm glad that relationships grow in this book and that she's not comfortable with her powers right away. Makes me want to read the book even more now! I do love watching characters grow in a believable way!

Aisle B said...

The cover threw me off a bit and I'd be more inclined to skip it but after the review I'll rethink my strategy.

The fantasy is hitting the world ever since Harry Potter came alive. Strange but true we all still believe in the world beyond our imagination where magic reigns with illusions beyond our every day life.

Your review came through brilliantly for its honest words, all taken to heart.