Friday, October 16, 2020

Review Day: Wing Wind by Paige L. Christie

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Wing Wind is Book Two of the four-book series, Legacies of Arnan, by Paige L. Christie (I also reviewed Book One). I enjoyed the first book for its uplifting themes, well-developed relationships, and effective use of time jumps.

Wing Wind continues to evolve the childhood friends, Leiel and Cleod, into their 20s and 30s, and thankfully deepens their relationships with wonderful supporting characters like Kilras and Gahree. While the pay-off here is excellent (I immediately started Book Three after completion), the order of how the story is told had me struggling to gain momentum in the first half.

With Draigon Weather, I felt like I was watching the author solve a jigsaw puzzle blind by picking random pieces out of the box and placing them exactly where they belonged, resulting in a surprising, satisfying conclusion. The structure of Wing Wind is more like doing all of the edges first -- and while the edges are necessary, I already know that the interim result will be a rectangle and I'm much more interested in finding out what's going on in the unexplored middle.

In this case, the first half of Book Two sequentially explores Leiel's evolution between two major events in Book One. This section is foundational to the choices that Leiel makes later, but it didn't surprise or excite me as much as I hoped it would. I'm glad I stuck with it though -- once the story catches up in time to the final moments of Book One (around the 60% mark on Kindle), the action explodes and the reveals pile up.

The writing continues to crackle throughout the story. The conversation that concludes Chapter 48 is horrifically awesome and forced me to recalibrate my expectations for the next books. This is not a series that will play it safe and hew close to the familiar baseline it established upfront (and sometimes, I'm in the mood for a book like that!) -- it will continue to grow beyond the original blueprints, much like its thoughtful, compassionate characters.

Final Grade: B

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