I rarely read fantasy. The problem for me is, I must find it believable, must be able to picture things as I go, and normally, trolls, elves, dragons, talking animals...are not things I can believe. Rather than suck me into a story, it usually makes me laugh.
Ms. Diener did not make me laugh. With her writing I was able to picture all four different winds, their faint cloudy outlines, the sand they raised, feel the cold they brought.
She saw West half disappear in shock, then he drew himself up to double his size, his dry air sucking up East's humidity.
The descriptions are superb, told in a way that is unique, fantastical, and yet, as crazy as this will sound, believable.
In a nutshell, Diener once again delivers a strong heroine to her readers, a heroine who can love and yet not totally lose herself. Though this is a fairytale retold, we don't have a damsel in distress. Instead, the heroine has to save HIM. FABULOUS!
There's a curse. He's been made into a bear and she cannot know the details. For one year she must be cooped up in his palace and not view his human form. There are trolls, creatures that look like trees, wind that aids her, and at the heart of it all a woman determined to battle earth, wind, fire, and water, to save the love of her life.
She was not chattel. And she was not powerless. And she would most certainly not sit in the wood while he went off to battle, especially with the power of the wind at her disposal.
I'm not sure what the moral of this fairytale was, but I enjoyed it regardless. Love the heroine, loved the hero/bear. Love the powerful tree friend, loved the winds and the drama surrounding them. I truly have never read a book like this before. It was pure entertainment. I think, however, what I enjoyed the most was reading about a woman who faces countless trials--earth, fire, water, and comes out stronger because of them. I also liked the theme that love can drive us to do great things. Yet, as I said above, she never loses herself. You can love someone passionately without losing who you are in the process.
I received this via netgalley.