Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell – CFRB Feature

Originally Posted at Bibliophile’s Retreat by Melissa Meeks

This Month CFRB Presents:
Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell
(Juno Books, 2007)

The story of Loic and Satha starts with an interesting premise and grouping of characters. McDonnell starts by introducing us to Loic and Satha her main characters as well as giving a small glimpse of the cultures they have been raised in through their families. In both these cultures, the Doreni and the Theseni there are ingrained beliefs that are considered “right”. At the same time as we are introduced to their cultural backgrounds and backstory of life events we also see that these two young people share a set of beliefs that while a part of their cultural climate is not what their families or cultures would approve of when taken out of the cultural contexts.

Their stories are influenced and enriched by the losses they have experienced. These losses are also something they are able to use to find commonality and support one another when in conflict with the cultures in which they were raised. They come from backgrounds which could almost be considered unblendable both by the cultures and most estimations of compatibility. The Doreni are a fierce warrior tribe. Loic’s father, of the Pagatsu clan, is first Commander in Chief of the King’s armies. The Theseni tribe came under Doreni rule long ago and wish to avoid conflict if possible. They will give in rather than engage in battle with others. The Doreni worship a distant yet good Creator but after conquering the Theseni they have also absorbed some of that culture’s ancestral spirit beliefs and multitheistic tendencies. The Theseni believe in a two-faced god an intermeshing of “The Good Maker” a positive creative force and “HaZatana” a destructive force who is blamed for the negatives in life. As these two entities are both considered manifestations of one god, they are both worshiped despite the evil inherent in HaZatana’s persona. Loic, of the Pagatsu Doreni, has chosen to follow his friend Krika in worshipping only the good Creator despite Krika’s death at the hands of his own family as a result. Satha, of the Kluna Theseni, chooses not to follow the ancestral spirit ceremonies that have become ritual to both tribes at important events. She does however still cling to the HaZatana manifestation of their god’s destructive nature.

Loic is raised in a climate of freedom and plenty where he is allowed many indulgences for “odd” behavior or beliefs. He is valued by those around him and protected from reality in many ways. Satha, though from a privileged family, is raised in working class style because the family lost their position when she was quite young. She is also taught that she does not “deserve” a mate and likely will never get one because of her family’s situation and the Theseni coloring which is considered undesirable. This story relates her journey to self-acceptance as she learns that others outside her family choose to love and protect her even when it costs them everything. Loic also has his own journey in this book of finding strength from his Creator and a personal relationship with this interpretation of the Angleni God of the Lost Book. His own trials and sufferings have caused him to question his abilities to make it in the harshness of life without the insulation of those who have protected him his entire life.

To learn more about these two intertwined stories of growth, grace and self discovery read Wind Follower.

On a more subjective note, there are some scenes where I felt the author provided what I would refer to as TMI (too much information) that was not relevant to the plot. These scenes may also be considered distasteful by some Christian fiction readers. I did not find that they detracted from reading the story and they were brief enough to not interrupt the flow of narrative. The book did read a bit slow though I do not think it was due to the unfamiliar language used quite liberally throughout the novel. Perhaps the biggest difficulty for me in reading this was the time crunch I created for myself which resulted in reading the bulk of the book on a 9 hour road trip home from Sacramento, CA and trying to read by flashlight once the sun went down. I found McDonnell’s writing overall to be of decent quality despite the elements which were not to my personal taste. As mentioned before the premise is interesting and the characters were appealing.

Click on the Book Cover to purchase the book or the Author’s Photo to see her website. Click on the banner below the post title for the main CFR Blog postings on this book.You can also read what other members of CFRB have to say about this book using the links in my sidebar under the CFRB Logo or links from the main blog.

8 comments

  1. A very thorough and thoughtful review. Hard to believe you did this on a time crunch!

    Please be careful with your eyesight, sweety. I’d rather you didn’t read even my own book than to risk your eyes with flashlight-on-the-road reading. You only get two eyes. Protect them so you can be reading for many years to come.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to lecture there. Just concerned for you.

    Great review.

  2. The reading was done in a crunch – my own fault for that. As for the review, honestly I didn’t know what to write and was staring at a blank screen for what seemed like forever before it came (yes literally came) tumbling out. I can only attribute that to my Lord’s inspiration as I was mulling it over and not getting anywhere on my own for a few days.

    As for the flashlight thing you sound like my mom when I was a kid and we would travel as a family. My car bag consisted of books, a pillow and flashlight and I would be content for most of the ride. Drove my brother nuts that I wouldn’t play games or talk to him though. I don’t do this very often anymore partly because I don’t travel much partly because this last time reminded me that my eyes aren’t 10 anymore nor I am very productive when I try to read that way. Thanks for the concern about my eyes though.

  3. Excellent, insightful review of the book. I can’t read for 9 hours straight. My eyes are already going on me and I’m using glasses that are so old the prescription is almost moot.

    I do find, as you have, that once you open up and start writing something, the Lord will give you the words. After all, it’s His story, and He knows best how to promote it.

    Great job. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    David

  4. When I created Satha’s God I was thinking of the kind of God many Christians have where something bad happens and people — who are Christians– think God allowed them to get cancer or God allowed some bad thing to happen. I wanted to show that in many ways we Christians have that kind of God. Same thing with the shamanistic idea of some people being more able to connect to the gods than other people — whether priests, ministers, saints, healers, etc. So all the worship styles in Wind Follower are like those of some other religions and sects, but they also have their own equivalent in Christian denominations.

    As for stuff that didn’t seem relevant to the plot…you read the book on a 9 hour bus ride. I appreciate that you read it. But as a reviewer I’ve had to read books quickly also and trust me I’ve missed a lotta stuff when I read that quickly and under such duress. The only difference being that under those circumstances I tend to distrust myself rather than the author and I just don’t think in all my reviews — which are many– I have ever accused an author of writing irrelevant stuff in her books. I trust the writer to know the value of her work.

    Thanks for the review.

  5. Caprice, Carole and David,

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comments regarding my review.

    You’re welcome David. And I can’t read for nine hours straight either. Carole’s book was probably about a seven hour read total and I would guess about 5 of those were in the car comong back from Sacramento.

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