The Windrunner’s Daughter will excite you with its plot, surprise you with its twists, and touch your heart with its characters.
Stranded on Mars, a few colonies of humans must figure out a way to live and survive together. Establishing colonies, each specialize in certain trades and they come to work together in a symbiosis. The one connection they have are through Runners, people who run between the colonies delivering goods and messages. However, Wren cannot focus on that. Her mother is sick and there have been no runners for weeks. She needs medicine and she needs it now. Unable to wait, Wren faces the choice of putting on wings to run. With that choice, involves a moment that will define her life, forcing her to break all the rules about women wearing wings.
Once I picked up The Windrunner’s Daughter I couldn’t stop until the very end. I loved the main character, Wren, was fascinated by the society, and was drawn into the plot. If you decide to pick it up, give yourself some time to finish it because you too may be sucked in.
Okay first off, how could I not love this plot? Protagonists who throw caution to the wind, literally, and defy a set of rules that, to me, are rooted more in traditions and less in facts, to save their family, are my kryptonite. Maybe to some degree, or many, I want to empathize with their ability to break the injustice and risk it all. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
While we’re on the topic of plot, this book begins slowly, it lets us acclimate and get to know Wren before throwing us, and Wren along with it, into the unknown. These moments are crucial, but it can make reading the beginning a little slow for those who want to get up and go. However, once it passes this phase, it is non-stop action, adventure, and danger. Wren and her unlikely companion and enemy, Raw, encounter dangerous sand creatures, fanatics, and, more or less, a witch trial to save her family. Not only is it engaging, but it makes you think about the society and the choices they make.
I absolutely loved the dynamic between Wren and Raw. What starts out as down right opposition, turns into a necessity for trust and support. Becoming companions relies on a foundation of trust and through this relationship, each are able to question their perceptions of society. By choosing each of them from across the ‘divide’, between Grounders and Runners, it gives the whole thing a Romeo and Juliet kind of feel. However, where that trope is mainly worn off for me, this book takes that idea and furthers it in two crucial points: Wren’s narration and the depth of their relationship.
Wren narrates the book and through her perspective we are able to witness and understand her actions. This gives her a multi-dimensional feel and makes her whole process of deconstructing society even more rich. Additionally, the relationship between Wren and Raw does not take a matter of days, and I am speaking about friendship here (in the stark contrast between their lives and the way their ‘castes’ are opposed is where you get the Romeo and Juliet feel). They need to rely on each other and through that relationship are able to find common ground and understand each other.
Which brings me to my last point: the society. I have alluded to a few bits here and there, but as a whole it is both a little scary, but oh so intriguing. We have the Grounders, those who do not run, who resent the Runners for mitigating their messages and choosing which supplies are delivered. Then we have the Runners who undergo long training and unimaginable danger to run and are entirely crucial to the entire societal ecosystem. Even this conflict alone would be intriguing enough and Pearce just furthers it by bringing in some politics, some religion and deepening the entire society. There are layers, nuances, and power plays that occur and make the plot more complicated.
All in all, I loved this book. It has it all for me: strong heroines, a complex society, and a great relationship. Additionally, the author’s note about this book being for her daughter, to inspire her to put on wings, is touching. It makes the entire book have a much more contemporary feel, just reminding me why I love science fiction so much.
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.
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