Monday 12 September 2016
Review: Barefoot on the Wind - Zoe Marriott
A beautiful, thought-provoking retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" set in a fairytale Japan.
The Moonlit Lands Series:
(These are companion novels set in the same fictional version of Japan but there is no crossover of characters so they can both be read as standalone stories)
Shadows on the Moon
Barefoot on the Wind
Visit Zoe Marriott's website more information.
I've been a huge fan of Zoe Marriott's writing ever since I read Shadows on the Moon five years ago, it's a fairytale retelling of Cinderella set in a fictional Japan where magic is real and it's one of my all time favourite books so you can only begin to imagine how excited I was when I found out she was writing a companion novel set in the same world. Barefoot on the Wind is a feminist retelling of Beauty and the Beast (which happens to be my favourite fairytale!) and it's just as wonderful as Shadows on the Moon.
Although both books are set in the same world and are linked by the same beautiful writing and the fairytale feel to them there is no crossover of characters so you don't have to read them in any particular order but I want to go out and place a copy of both of these books into the hands of every fantasy fan I come across. Zoe was writing YA fantasy long before it became so popular and she really doesn't get the recognition she deserves considering how absolutely amazing her stories are so I want to see her at the top of the best seller charts where she should be.
Let's get back to Barefoot on the Wind though, this is the tale of a young girl called Hana who lives in a remote village in the middle of a dark and dangerous magical wood. Everyone in her village knows that there is a monster in the forest and they live every day with the knowledge that leaving the safety of home means certain death. Hana's family have lost more than most to the monster, she is still grieving after the deaths of her grandmother and her brother but when her father is taken too something inside her snaps. Her grief and the additional pressure of survivor's guilt have combined into a reckless desperation to do something, anything, to try and save her father's life. She knows that she is unlikely to survive an encounter with the monster but when the rest of the village turn their back on her pleas for help she just has to try and fight for what is right.
I'm not going to tell you much more than that so you're going to have to read the story for yourself to find out whether Hana manages to slay the monster and rescue her father. Instead I'm going to talk about the rich world building, the evocative and beautiful writing, the fantastic three dimensional characters that each have their own fears and sorrow, the heartbreak you'll feel as Hana talks about her grief, the joy and pride you'll feel for everything she accomplishes, how you'll fall be drawn totally into this world and find yourself wishing it was real just so you could live there. Barefoot on the Wind is a Beauty and the Beast retelling unlike any you've read before, it's utterly captivating and so, so beautiful that it makes my heart hurt just thinking about it. There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be in one of the top slots when I'm trying to pick my favourite books of the year and I can't wait to reread Shadows on the Moon when the new extended version is published in November.
Source: Received from Walker in exchange for an honest review
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Paperback / Kindle