Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: The Wind Whisperer by Krista Holle

From the publisher:
This love triangle just got dangerous…

At fifteen, Anaii is the most important member of her tribe—and the most mysterious. Ever since Anaii can remember, the spirits of the wind have whispered of fertile hunting grounds and imminent enemy attacks. But when her people are ambushed by a brother clan without any apparent cause, the spirits remain eerily silent.

As the village prepares to retaliate, Anaii is pressured by her best friend, Elan, to marry him. It’s an old plea—Elan has spent a lifetime loving her, but Anaii only sees a childhood playmate out of an imposing warrior. Stifled by Elan’s insistence, Anaii escapes into the forest where she meets Jayttin, the beautiful son of the enemy chief.

Enamored by Jayttin’s carefree spirit and hope for peace, she repeatedly sneaks away to be with him, but when her deception is discovered, Elan is devastated. Pledging his lifelong affection, Elan gives her a passionate kiss, and Anaii begins to see her friend in a new light.

While Anaii is tormented over which man she must choose, the wind whispers of a new threat that could destroy both tribes. Only a union will afford a chance at survival, but the reality of that union is based on one thing—which man Anaii chooses to die.

Long before Anaii was born, a fight for the heart of a woman led two brothers two split their tribe into two and become mortal enemies. One of these brothers was to be Anaii’s adoptive father, an intimidating man who would exploit his daughter’s gift of speaking to the wind spirits to suit his own purposes and subject her to the envy and scorn of the village.

As her father’s greatest asset, Anaii has been sheltered and longs for the same freedom as the other fifteen-year-old girls. Her only friend, Elan, has become a man and declared his affection for her. When Anaii steps out into the meadow for a moment to think in solitude, the wind warns her of a boy nearby, and she stumbles upon Jayttin, the son of her father’s sworn enemy. Once their friendship develops and war becomes eminent, Anaii is forced to make decisions that no young girl should have to make, as well as some that are familiar to us all.

Krista Holle is certainly onto something with the Wind Whisperer, and its sequel that is to be released this fall. It may be in the world of young adult fiction, but this is no ordinary love-struck teenager love story. It takes place in a time and culture quite far removed from our own world, so the idea of a fifteen-year-old girl being expected to choose a husband or risk having one chosen for her strikes us as appalling. And yet, Anaii must consult the wind spirits on marriage, as well as helping her father make political decisions and advising him about the war that is to be carried out against their village.

This story is thoughtfully written and artfully told, with scenes that open up the imagination and allow Anaii, Elan, and Jayttin right into the home of the reader. As I was reading, there were several moments when I expected some revelation into Anaii’s birth story, since she knows very little of whom she really is or why the wind spirits speak to her. Nothing was revealed in Wind Whisperer, but the hint that we might come to know Anaii – and Krista Holle – on a deeper level, was enough to make me excited to read A New Whisper when it is released this fall.

*Review written by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Heather Head
*Review copy provided by the author

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