weren't a fantasy book, it would be a selection for Oprah's books club, in the best sense. It tells the life story of a girl whose desire is so strong that it literally changes her world.
Maris wants nothing more than to fly. But she is land-bound: she was not born into a family of flyers, those who inherit their wings from their ancestors and convey messages, songs, and stories between the isolated islands of Windhaven. She convinces the flyers to break their ancient dynastic traditions for a selfish reason--to gain a pair of wings. In so doing, however, she opens the skies to all the hopeful land-bound, with serious social and political repercussions for both populations.
Each of the five chapters relates a different incident in Maris's struggle to first become a flyer and to then open the skies, and the flyers' minds, to the rest of the land-bound. They are told in sequential order as Maris ages, but resemble short stories featuring the same character more than chapters in a novel. Although the background in each certainly enhances the understanding of the following one, this knowledge is not at all essential to appreciating each chapter as a discrete entity that can stand alone.
Windhaven is a thought-provoking book, challenging us by depicting the potential consequences when young idealists break ancient traditions. The authors gave us a heroine, a planet, and a story that teach as they entertain. --Diana M. Gitig
From Publishers Weekly
Rereleased 20 years after its initial publication, this gentle tale of a woman's quest to live out her dream to fly by award-winning authors Martin (Sandkings, A Storm of Swords) and Tuttle (Lost Futures) concerns the hard choices that come from having a vocation. On stormy Windhaven, the descendants of long-ago stranded star sailors live on widely separated islands. Lacking metals to sustain industrial technology, the inhabitants depend on flyers, humans with wings made from the original star sail, to bring news and carry messages, uniting far-flung communities. Maris, a land-bound female adopted into a flyer family, loves to fly. But when her stepbrother, Coll, turns 13, he stands as first-born to inherit the irreplaceable wings, even as he dreams of being a traveling singer instead. When Maris tries to resolve both quandaries by stealing the wings, she challenges not only flyer law but the basic assumptions of Windhaven society. Establishing competitions to win wings and training academies for students from non-flyer families, and defending a "made" flyer accused of treason for stopping a war, Maris faces the lifelong consequences of talent come into conflict with privilege. Although Martin and Tuttle make the correct choices rather clear, they never ignore the costs. With a well-constructed plot (with only minor slips in logic) presented in prose that reads as fantasy, the book will appeal to a YA audience in addition to Martin and Tuttle fans.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.