Born of Wind by J.B. Lesel
Published March 2nd 2021
Publisher : Vulpine Press
Genre : YA / Fantasy
Pages : 284
Meleena never quite fitted in among her fellow aquatic Meruyans, always skipping school to hide out and marvel at the natural world around her. So when she wins a place on the coveted Council Apprenticeship team, no one is more surprised than her.
As she embarks on a tour of the nations, Meleena’s curiosity catches the attention of the Warix, a race born with the power to control wind. But she is unprepared for the secrets she uncovers as she explores this new land. The Warix are locked in a deadly civil war, and her own people are being oppressed and exploited with no way out.
Desperate to resolve this tangled conflict, Meleena sets out to locate an ancient weapon sought by both sides. Can she unite these warring peoples in time to save her own?
The debut novel from J.B. Lesel throws you headlong into a diverse world where the elements take physical form to shape the lives of all. Perfect for fans of James Cameron’s Avatar, and The Last Airbender.
** Note : I received e-copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Vulpine Press. ***
Born of Wind was interesting coming of age YA fantasy that revolved around Maleena’s journey out of her hometown, seeing the outside world for the firts time and getting involved in upcoming civil war between powerful nations. It was about power and dominance, oppressive rulers, deception and exploitation, fighting for good cause, heartbreaks, friendship, and good vs bad.
Before you read the review, you need to know two main terms out of many other terminologies from the book. It will be much easier for you to understand what I’m saying in the review. 1. Meruyans– Aquatic people- most lived on shores with technology while some still lived underwater (kind of a smurf merpeople with legs) 2. Warix – Forest people who can control the wind. Two enemy Warix nations- Sen’Prin (the good one) and Sen’Drorn (bad one).
Writing was lucid, descriptive, and vivid. Pace was slow to steady. It was alternative third person narrative mainly from Maleena and Flax’s perspective. Maleena narrating her journey out of her village as a council member apprentice and Flax narrating his mission as Sen’Prin spy. There were intermittent viewpoint of Malotus- ruthless General of Sen’Drorn and Yulah- Malotus’s niece who was good at heart but was on bad side.
From the synopsis I thought the book was mainly focused on Maleena and her journey to become council member apprentice and what she discovers about her nation and Meruyan council and exploitation of her people by Warix nation. But there was another simultaneous story of Flax. Though his story was secondary, it had almost equal importance.
So much happened in the beginning with Maleena being punished for ditching classes, attack on her village for Wind Goddess pendant that Maleena later lost in sea, visit to council meeting and meeting Sen’Prin leader who motivated her to opt for council member apprentice, and then winning the place in Council Apprenticeship team that sent her out of her small village to learn about life of Meruyans, history, culture and their ties with Warix people. During the journey she discovered unexpected secrets. At the same time, Sen’prin sent their best spy, Flax, to find the lost pendant and then to Sen’Drorn to observe their life, technology and get any intel that can help Sen’Prin to fight against Sen’Drorn but he also had his personal mission in Sen’Drorn.
I was curious to find out what Maleena will discover in her journey, how she would stand up for her people, how flax would find what he was looking for in Sen’Drorn, how their path will cross and how Maleena would get involve in finding the Wind Goddess pendant.
Characters were realistic. Maleena was the character that most teen could relate to. She was amazing at drawing and observing nature, recording it in her journal but her skill was seen as quirk in her community and nobody understood her passion of going in forest that was forbidden to explore. I felt for her when her parents forced to select apprenticeship she wasn’t interested in but I liked how she listened to them and learned there was more to the world than she thought and how dedicated and motivated she felt after meeting Sen’Prin leader. She had self-doubts and felt she was less bright than her companions on her journey- Talla who was brightest, charming girl of the class and always teased her; Deem– underwater community boy who was shy but smart and thoughtful. It was great to see how she developed in her journey and how her perspective changed. I admired her for seeing how people were suffering, anticipating what was going on in Northern villages, and stood up for her people against Sen’Drorn warix. It was amazing how her skills of observing and understanding nature and animals helped her most in saving lives and nation from getting involved in war.
Flax was great character. He was fast learner and had heart of gold. His dilemma was relatable and realistic. I liked him for owning his mistakes, doing right things even though it meant going against orders, and making tough decisions for greater good.
What I liked most was the world and its description. The legend of Wind Goddess and her pendent, how four elemental spirits created the world and gave their abilities of controlling elements to mortals and how that created different civilizations, their cultural difference, dispute between Warix nations, difference of modern and ancient living, Warix technology and how it worked, how modern technology changed ways of living and also what it cost to Meruyans.
There were many layers and messages in the book about- raising voice against what is wrong, staying neutral and ignoring the problems and wrong activities of oppressive government doesn’t make one innocent, believing in your ability and dream, never hesitate in asking for help or accepting your fault, understanding others, and compassion.
Climax was interesting. I couldn’t figure out what they were going to do to get out the situation both main characters were, how they were going to put their plan into action and when they did, it was both tense and exciting. End was sad and lovely at the same time. I’m curious what will be there in the next book.
Why 3.5 or 4 stars-
For 284 pages of this YA fantasy, it felt too long and too descriptive. I did like knowing about world and every detailed helped in understanding overall plot and world but it also slowed the pace making it tempting to skim the pages. I didn’t care about Flax and Yulah’s romance and relationship even though it might be important for continuation of series.
Overall, Born of Wind was unique, interesting, and adventurous YA fantasy with amazing world. I recommend it to MG and YA fantasy readers who love adventure and descriptive world.
J.B. Lesel is a fantasy writer living in California and sometimes in the forests of Germany. When she’s not writing or lounging like a cat, she has an unusual hobby of volunteering abroad with strange wildlife. She has a Master of Science in Psychology, working in content writing and data analytics. Born of Wind is her debut novel.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or going to add to TBR? What elemental power would you like have and master?
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