Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.
Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.
When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them. Quoted from Goodreads
I love that there's a book about sylphs! It allows the author to totally build a magic system and culture based on wind, and Shannon Messenger did a good job. Sure, there are some familiar overtones to other fantasy novels, orphan boy is the chosen one, last of his kind, the only one capable of defeating the emperor. But it's more than that. I mean, no dead mentor already deviates from that trope. Honestly, while some of the ideas may seem familiar, it's absolutely different enough that I really enjoyed it.
I love how each of the winds has a different personality, and each of the sylphs, depending on which wind they come from, takes on certain aspects. Plus, Shannon pulls a lot of cool tricks with air and how they use it, especially when they go around the wind turbines. It's fun to see a really unique concept woven into a good story.
Now for our main characters. It's told from alternating points of view between Audra and Vane. Vane is the clueless boy destined for greatness---sarcastic, funny, and normal. Audra is the girl who devotes her life to protecting him to the point of literally sacrificing everything else---serious, guilt ridden, and dedicated. I really liked both these main characters. It was easy to keep track of which chapter was from whose POV, and they kind of provided a relief from each other. Audra's life is kind of one track and depressing, so it was nice to change it up with a chapter from Vane. Conversely, Vane is new to the entire mythology, so Audra fills in the bigger picture nicely. All in all, I really felt they complimented each other nicely.
This book is such a great blend of everything. There's action, betrayal, romance, mystery, good vs. evil, a ticking clock, coming of age, battles, magic (well, wind, but yeah, basically magic). So many YA books over the past few years have fallen into the Twilight mold (paranormal creature, love-triangle, bad guy). Lately, though, I've felt like everyone is moving away from that, and I love all the great things people are coming up with.
As for the ending, well, it was excellent. Audra and Vane each have to face their own, unique challenge. Audra is a great warrior, but that's not where her main conflict comes from. She has to face her past and confront her inner demons, while Vane, the boy who never wanted to fight, finds out he is just about the only one who can. It's superbly done, and I can't wait for the next book.
This was a fun 4 stars for me. I liked the characters, the way they grew and changed, and the challenges they faced together. I really enjoyed the concept of sylphs and their specific powers. It's a fun, unique read you should definitely check out.