Thursday, June 8, 2017

Nihal of the Wind by Licia Troisi

Nihal of the Wind by Licia Troisi

First book in the Chronicles of the Overworld Trilogy

4.5 stars

“Just as nature gives life to the creatures of this world, an armorer forges the blade from fire and iron.”

Nihal lives in the Land of the Wind, a section of the Overworld, but no one in the Overworld is like Nihal. She has violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. When we meet her, she is a fierce fighter at the age of thirteen and loves to fight. She meets Sennar, a young wizard, who challenges her and causes Nihal to lose her focus. When he outsmarts her, she vows never to be friends with him, but as time goes on he becomes her best friend and most trusted ally. The Tyrant has risen and when war ravages all of the Overworld- leaving Nihal without a father- she must embark on a journey to become a soldier.

This novel has a lot of war in it. There are a lot of scenes with blood and bodies lining the ground. Races are destroyed and homes are burned to the ground. It’s very sad and I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy where the war breaks out within a first novel and becomes the catalyst for the heroine/hero’s story. The biggest reason you should want to read this novel is because DRAGONS. The soldiers fight on dragons and they are some of the fiercest and most wonderful creatures. I LOVE THEM. When one of them dies I cry because they are such wonderful souls. Sadly, they don’t talk, but their sassy personalities make it as if they are.

“We all have our destinies. For some people, it’s the same as what they want to do. For others, it isn’t. That’s life.”

The writing in this story is very beautiful. Troisi sets up beautiful scenery that feels as though you can see the Overworld. This novel is also strong in girl power. Nihal is a badass heroine and she really makes this story move. The story itself evolves very slowly, but it doesn’t snag and feel bogged down. The pacing can feel be quick in some areas and slow in others, but I feel like it really mirrors the tempo of war. Most wars are battle and then wait then battle and maybe another battle and then wait and wait some more. There is no constant fighting and I really liked seeing that.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.25

Nihal is a very endearing protagonist and she’s quite easy to like. When she’s introduced she is very young and naïve and her innocence makes her a charming a character. Nihal’s backstory is very touching. She doesn’t know where she comes from or who are people are, but she has her blacksmith father and his sorceress sister. When we find out her origins, it is a very emotional realization for Nihal and while it may be obvious to a fantasy reader who is familiar with (view spoiler), it’s a very important scene for Nihal and the woman that she becomes. Nihal is special, but she isn’t a snowflake. She’s unique in this world, but she fights and rises above all the challenges that knock her down. There are several times when she is knocked down and questions getting back, but her determination and her drive to avenge her people and her father makes her an admirable character.

Nihal is hard on herself because when she was little she treated war like a game and when war ravages her home, she feels an overwhelming guilt. This guilt is palpable and makes the story seem very real. The biggest negative about Nihal is that she is childish and brash, but this fits her age. In fantasy, children hardly act like children, but even while Nihal trains for war she exhibits childlike traits because she is still a child who has been forced to grow up to soon. I can appreciate this because so many are forced to grow up when they are not ready to grow up. Nihal becomes very cold. She becomes more of a sword than a person and it is so sad, but it’s a believable character arc.

“Over the past year, she had begun to feel her life would always be full of sadness, pain, nightmares, and doom. But now she did not want to die. She would not die. She would win back the happiness she had lot and make her life worth living again.”

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 5

Sennar is Nihal’s foe-to-friend and he doesn’t stay a foe for long. He’s sweet and caring. He’s a remarkable friend who loves Nihal and his actions are those of a true friend. I ship Nihal and Sennar so hard, but Nihal is blind to love and only see war and revenge. It’s kind of sad, but I ship it and I will continue to hope that they get together and make babies.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 4

The Villain- The Tyrant captures lands and destroys them in rapid pace. He has decimated not only lands, but wiped races of the face of the Overworld. He conquers and pillages. It’s heartbreaking and horrifying to see how much enjoyment he has in destroying this beautiful world to take power.

Villain Scale: 4

There are some wonderful characters in this novel. There are also a lot of characters, some are important and some are not, but they are all important to Nihal’s story. Laio, is a soldier who doesn’t want to be a soldier. He represents all those who are forced to fight in wars and he is such a sweetie pie. Ido is Nihal’s trainer and I love him. He brings wisdom and reason to Nihal’s training and he has some great lines. There are so many wonderful characters: Fen, Joana, and Soana are some of the few who really struck a chord in me.

Character Scale: 4.5

“Death plays dice with every soldier’s destiny.”

The ending to this novel is very solid and leaves room for a sequel, but it is not a cliffhanger. This is a nice trait for a fantasy story to have because it helps those who are scared of series not feel obligated to finish this trilogy. Although, I definitely think most who read this will want to read the sequel, Sennar’s Mission. Overall, I recommend this to fantasy readers, new and old, as well as anyone looking to read outside of the U.S. This is a translated Italian novel and it really shows how different fantasy is in different parts of the world and I love seeing the differences and similarities.

Plotastic Scale: 4.75

Cover Thoughts: This cover is absolutely gorgeous. The painting of Nihal is striking and the detail is so beautiful.

Thank you, Netgalley and Open Road Media for allowing me to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
What's your most surprising fantasy read? Let me know down below in the comments! 

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