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Wind and Shadow (Firebird Book 4) Kindle Edition
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Tyers missed an opportunity here, and I can't figure out what she was thinking. The Firebird trilogy ends with Firebird and Brennan having twins, Kinnor and Kiel. "Wind and Shadow" begins about thirty years later with Kiel as a priest and Kinnor as a Sentinel. We are given almost no background on either character and no reason to care about them except our (presumably) existing knowledge that they are the kids of Firebird and Brennan. However, Firebird is not in this book--a genuine and deeply felt lack, since she was so clearly drawn in the trilogy. I never even found her mentioned by name, just a few vague references scattered here and there to Kiel's or Kinnor's mother. Brennan has a walk-on part which evokes almost no emotional response other than "okay, at least one of them is still alive." We aren't even told that Firebird is alive until sometime down the road when one of the "mother" references is used in present tense.
I have a feeling that Tyers read some book about "how to write a novel" in which the writer is advised to write out a complete backstory/bio of each main character so the writer knows all about the character--and then tear it up and not use ANY of it in the book. Such how-to books do exist, and some provide information similar to this. However, in this case it was bad advice. This isn't a new book--it's a sequel to an existing book, but there is nothing to transition the reader from Firebird and Brennan to these two strangers many years later, both of whom are blank slates as far as we know.
Tyers should have either (a) written a book set between Firebird and W&S, depicting the childhood of the boys (and their sister, whose existence we were barely told of until she is thrust into the book much later, to play a brief but critical role), or (b) written at least a beginning scene showing the two brothers interacting and providing some background material to reference back to FB. Then we might have some sympathy for them at the outset of this book. But given almost no information on either of them, and having the story told by a stranger (the character "Wind" who is a complete outsider, new to the series) we have no understanding of why we should care that Kiel has disappeared or that Kinnor is being sent to look for him. Instead, we have an outsider prospective throughout most of the story and never get close to either Kiel or Kinnor. The outsider perspective worked in the "Firebird" series because Firebird was an outsider in her own culture (doomed to die) and in the Sentinel culture (learning about a new and different religion) and as such she and the reader absorbed information at the same time. The information the reader absorbs in this book is not new. The religious part is the same stuff from the previous books, and the cultural part is confusing because of Wind's worry about her planet being destroyed, when the reader (erroneously, it turns out) thought the planet had already been destroyed in the Firebird books. (It hadn't...only its major city had been destroyed. Would've been nice to know that, too, Ms. Tyers...) Also, Wind's major relationship in the book is with an older woman, supposedly related to her and certainly in the role of a mentor, but the woman (whose name I never learned how to pronounce) is so obnoxious and so determined never to miss a chance to refer to Wind as "girl" or be condescending to her in some other manner, that I found myself rolling my eyes every time I read about her.
Eventually my reaction to the entire book was an eye-roll, which is sad, because there were a few (very few) excellent, well-written, and moving scenes. And that's sad, because the book could have--and should have--been much better than it was.
Wind and Shadow takes place twenty years after the close of the original series. This is also a much more spiritual novel featuring not just angels but demons as well. Where the Firebird trilogy was space warfare; this is very much about spiritual warfare.
It has been foretold that the coming Messiah would be a male born of the Caldwell line. The Enemy knows that the time is at hand and so constructs a no win scenario for the twins Keil and Kinnor. But while her brothers are fighting for their lives and their souls, the youngest Caldwell is visited a different kind of spiritual being.
Kiel's twin, Kinnor, is sent to find out what happened. Against Kinnor's better judgment, he's linked with Wind. Kinnor is the opposite of his brother. Though from a heroic Sentinel family, he barely believes. He rides on the edge of his military training and this mission may unhinge him completely. Kinnor and Wind have no reason to trust each other, but if they don't, more than Kiel's life may be at stake.
Wind and Shadow follows the Firebird Trilogy, which was initially released from Bethany in 2004 and re-released by Marcher Lord Press in 2011. The first book in the trilogy, Firebird, is likely the best science fantasy book I've ever read. I absolutely loved it. The 2nd and 3rd books, which I also enjoyed, didn't make as deep an impression. Because I hadn't read the trilogy since 2006, I had a hard time re-immersing in the world of the Whorl for book 4. My best advice to you is to read all four, end to end, and be ready for the upcoming release of book 5!
I purchased this book as a gift to my daughter, a Tyers fan. Of course, I had to read it, too. I did let her read it first. Honest.