Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Horse of Wind and Shadows - L.B. Shire

Horse of Wind and Shadows
Horse of Wind and Shadows
L.B. Shire
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: B
On Goodreads

My personal apology to L.B. Shire (and all you lovely lost souls who follow this blog) for taking so long to post this review. I've had the book for quite a while but time management and school and . . . life gets in the way of books. There's a lesson.

I received this book for an honest review, and so here we go:

Horse of Wind and Shadows is about a lot of things, which I like in a novel. The fact that it is a scant 138 pages (ebook, so about 300 in standard publications) despite being so packed is one of the main reasons I kept reading.

It's primarily about Taryn Perkins and her search for meaning, purpose, and a magic horse that keeps rejecting her friend request on Facebook. Taryn lives in a post-zombified world, and often fantasizes about what life would be like outside her "purgatory" (pg. 6). In this vein, she is also paranoid, to the point that indirectly informing Damon that she's on the lookout for aforementioned horse is, to her, "letting down her defences" (pg). Taryn is quick to attachment and brutally unforgiving when things are taken from her, she's very headstrong despite often betraying the softer side of herself. She's a complex character in a world that has been minimized and simplified to survival or death. I love love love Taryn's character and how she moves the story along, especially since she's so high-strung. I swear, "relief washed through her" is the narrator's chorus.

It's also about Damon "I don't have a last name because damn I'm mysterious", a mysterious boy with seaweed in his hair (probably related to Percy Jackson somehow . . . ) and his mysterious . . . mysteries. Other words to describe him are clandestine, surreptitious, and so on. (A lot of the spoilery bits revolve around Damon so let's leave this section . . . to the imagination.)

And then there's Flynn, the best friend, the protector, the one who wants Taryn to cut the crap. But Taryn cannot cut the crap, Taryn is determined to decide her fate by constantly seeking danger. Conflict ensues between the pair. Comedy eclipses. Mysterious seaweeded stranger confounds the conflict. I like Flynn because he's pragmatic and he takes life in strides, simultaneously being disheartened by hearing of a child losing his parents, yet quick to critique his leader. His dynamic with Taryn is kind of exciting because they exist on opposite sides of the spectrum: Flynn's more or less trying to make peace with the world he has, while Taryn wants out.

What I like, though, is that this is all jammed into the first few pages . . . I'm a huge fan of straightforward introductions. The novel immediately takes off from this, giving Taryn a (seriously sad, horse-related) back story.

Plot-wise, the novel excels at pace, depth, and movement. I was hooked from the first few pages, constantly wondering how everything would unfurl and kind of amazed that zombies and magic were so well woven into the same texts. The twists are in the right places, but a couple (especially on the romance part) feel underwhelming and predictable.

What keeps this from a four stars, though, is the language. Often (more often with Taryn for some reason) there are redundancies. For example: "Had he been swimming in the ocean? she wondered, staring into the turbulent waves on the left" (pg 5). Cutting off "in the ocean" makes this sentence clearer, easier to read, and a hell of a lot less clunky. That's one example among many. It isn't so much of a problem, but it's one of those things that push me to one side of the fence.

- Marlon

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