None of this is on the minds of young Loic, a general's son, and Satha, a woman from a poorer clan whom Loic chases after. But in the midst of their growing relationship, forces far more powerful and deceptive than the Angleni sweep the couple into a physical and spiritual struggle that threatens to change everything.
Review: Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell is an absolute masterpiece of literary fantasy fiction.
The author has built a world filled with people groups, supernatural entities, clans, theology and intrigue that is at once alien while still feeling very familiar.
More than the world, though, McDonnell's characters drive the story and give it a heart. One of our protagonists, Loic, is a passionate, yet tender-hearted young man. He says whatever is in his heart, which at times is commendable, but often is embarrassing. Satha, our other protagonist, in many ways complements Loic's zeal, but carries a deeper wisdom than her suitor.
This book isn't for everyone, though.
Human sexuality drives a good portion of the story. Thankfully, fantasy tropes help the story talk about the male sex drive in rather frank ways without being too specific. But in Wind Follower we see the beautiful, the ugly and even the pathetic aspects of the sexual drive.
This isn't always easy to read. By no means. There was one point that upset me to my core, and I didn't return to the book for two weeks. Now, I'm not a sheltered reader. I did my undergraduate work in Creative Writing at SUNY New Paltz. I've read stories featuring depravities and injustices. But what makes McDonnell's story so compelling, and even devastating at times, is her deep characterizations. I couldn't help but feel the pain of her characters as they endured the wickedness of others. But McDonnell, unlike many other writers of great literature, does not leave us in the dregs of human ugliness, but she also shows the beauty of real life.
I am also indebted to the author for showing how a group of people can follow a theology brought to them by a hateful people. In this case the message matters more than the messenger. And the truth is the truth, no matter what kind of people know it.
Wind Follower is literary fantasy in all its splendor.
Rating: 5/5 (I Loved It!)
Find it here on Amazon.