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Book: “Wind Daughter” by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Publishing Info: Page Street Publishing Co., January 2022
Where Did I Get this Book: ARC from the publisher!
Book Description: In the dark, cold reaches of the north lives a storyteller and his daughter. He told his daughter, Satu, many stories–romances like the girl who loved a star and changed herself into a nightingale so she could always see him shining–but the most important story he told her was his own. This storyteller was once the formidable North Wind, but he lost his power by trading it away in exchange for mortality–he loved her mother too much to live without her. The loss of his magic impacted more than just their family, however, and now the world is unraveling in the wake of this imbalance.
To save the North, Satu embarks on a perilous journey to reclaim her father’s magic, but she isn’t the only one searching for it. In the snow-laden mountains, she finds herself in a deadly race with the Winter Lord who wants the North Wind’s destructive powers for himself.
Satu has the chance to be the heroine of her own fairy tale, only this one has an ending she never could have imagined.
Review: I knew there was a companion novel to “Echo North” when it came out. I admitted in my review for that book that it was this knowledge (importantly that this second book was coming out so soon!) that sparked me to finally pick up that book. It’s always the best when things work out so well. That you read one book hoping that it will lead to another. And then you love that first book and that other book’s publication date is right around the corner! No grueling, months-long wait. No niggling concerns that the author’s not up for the job. Just pure, unworried anticipation. And here we are!
Satu has always worried that something must be wrong with her. She simply feels too much, easily overwhelmed by the emotions of others and the proximity of larger crowds. But growing up with her parents on a lonely mountain, she has found her peace in the wildness of the snow and cliffs. But her father is no ordinary man. No, he was once the North Wind who gave up his magic for the love of a woman. But that magic didn’t simply disappear into the void, and now, without a person to wield it, that power is beginning to erode the world. So Satu must set out on a mission to quite literally save everyone and everything she knows. Along the way, she must evade the deadly Winter Lord who also wants her father’s magic for purposes of his own.
I was really excited to see that this was going to be Satu’s story. For one thing, I’m glad that it wasn’t a direct sequel of Echo’s story, as that seemed to end in a satisfying way and sequels to stories like that so often go wrong. Indeed, I was pleased to see Echo and her husband only briefly in this book. We got a quick look into their lives and how they ended up, but then we immediately moved on with Satu’s own story. Just now a previous main character should be treated in a companion novel like this. Beyond that, I was very intrigued by the version of the North Wind that we saw in the first book, so picking up his story as a driving force for this book was an excellent decision.
Satu was also a very distinct character from Echo. I will say, it took me a bit to warm up to her and to fully understand her character. As a person who has been called “sensitive” in a…less than complimentary….way before, I was easily able to see the type of character the author was going for. But on the other hand, Satu’s sensitivities are almost prohibitive for her leading a life alongside other people. She struggles to go to school or find work. In this way, I would say that her struggles are more than simply being sensitive and, instead, the author was also exploring the struggles of anxiety. As the story continued, I more fully understood Satu’s understanding of herself, her insecurities, and the very real role that her magical father’s influence has on her actual being. I loved how Satu is never “fixed,” but that she does go through a journey of self-realization and self-acceptance. And through this journey, she discovers the strengths that can be found in her own sensitivity.
I also really liked the magical elements and how it was both unique from the first book but also tied back to aspects of that story in important ways. There were a few moments when I worried that that first book might leak its way into this one in a manner that would undervalue the individual story that was being written here, but the author quickly side-stepped that concern. There was also, once again, a fairly major twist in the final fourth of the book that really turned the entire book on its head. It’s impressive for an author to catch me off guard in one book; truly amazing to pull it off twice!
There were, however, a couple of other twists that I could see coming a mile away and had a hard time not wanting to shake Satu over. But even these came with small twists and turns that allowed the eventual reveal to still feel satisfying when they came. I also enjoyed the romance. It doesn’t play out in the expected manner, but, again, through some of these twists and turns, the author managed to write a story that was both heart-filled and heart-wrenching.
While I think that I preferred Echo to Satu as a leading lady, I’ll say that the romance in this story left me on a happier note than the one if the first book. Either way, both stories were refreshing new fairytale fantasies, and fans of this subgenre are sure to enjoy each of them!
Rating 8: A lovely companion novel to “Echo North,” this book expands on the world introduced in that story and adds its own strong heroine to the mix!
“Wind Daughter” is on this Goodreads list: YA Releases May 2022