Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Windhaven

Before we talk about anything, can we take a minute to appreciate the awesomeness of this cover? It's so bad it's good. Okay, now we can move on to the book. Windhaven is about Maris, who lives on a world that has flyers and landbound. Flyers use wings made out of materials from the spaceship that brought their ancestors to the planet. Maris wants nothing more than to be a flyer. Unfortunately for her, wings are passed down only through families, and she wasn't born to a flying family. So she sets about trying to change hundreds of years of tradition, and in doing so changes much more than she ever thought.

I really liked Maris for the most part, but there were times when I thought she was just being really stupid. The nice thing about this story was that there were moral conflicts with no easy answers. There was no clear right and wrong here, and it made for some really good reading. It's nice to read fantasy with no clear good guys and bad guys.

The world wasn't spectacular, despite what the dinosaur looking head on the cover would have you believe. There were sea monsters, but they were mostly only mentioned in passing with no real detail. The setting is a bunch of islands, thus creating the need for flyers to deliver messages from island to island (because the sea monsters made ship travel dangerous).

A Sample of the Writing:
Maris rode the storm ten feet above the sea, taming the winds on wide cloth-of-metal wings. She flew fiercely, recklessly, delighting in the danger and the feel of the spray, not bothered by the cold. The sky was an ominous cobalt blue, the winds were building, and she had wings; that was enough. She could die now, and die happy, flying.

I'm a huge fan of George R.R. Martin, especially the Song of Ice and Fire series. Windhaven is not quite up to par, and I'm not sure if that's because it's an earlier work, was written with a co-writer, or both. It was still a very enjoyable book, and although I've read quite a few reviews from disappointed Martin readers, I think it's worth reading.

Book Details
Title: Windhaven
Author: George R.R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle
Genre: fantasy
Page Count: 324
Publishing Info: first published in 1980
Why I Read It: It has been on my shelf for quite awhile.
Grade: B (pretty good)
Cover Thoughts: I've already mentioned the cover, but go ahead and take another look at it, just for fun.

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