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Wing Wind is Book Two of the four-book series, Legacies of Arnan, by Paige L. Christie. I enjoyed the first book for its uplifting themes, well-developed relationships, and effective use of time jumps. Wing Wind continues to evolve the childhood friends, Leiel and Cleod, into their 20s and 30s, and thankfully deepens their relationships with wonderful supporting characters like Kilras and Gahree. While the pay-off here is excellent (I immediately started Book Three after completion), the order of how the story is told had me struggling to gain momentum in the first half.
With Draigon Weather, I felt like I was watching the author solve a jigsaw puzzle blind by picking random pieces out of the box and placing them exactly where they belonged, resulting in a surprising, satisfying conclusion. The structure of Wing Wind is more like doing all of the edges first -- and while the edges are necessary, I already know that the interim result will be a rectangle and I'm much more interested in finding out what's going on in the unexplored middle.
In this case, the first half of Book Two sequentially explores Leiel's evolution from the moment she is separated from Cleod on the mountaintop to their next meeting in Melbis. This section is foundational to the choices that Leiel makes later, but it didn't surprise or excite me as much as I hoped it would. I'm glad I stuck with it though -- once the story catches up in time to the final moments of Book One (around the 60% mark on Kindle), the action explodes and the reveals pile up.
The writing continues to crackle throughout the story. The conversation that concludes Chapter 48 is horrifically awesome and forced me to recalibrate my expectations for the next books. This is not a series that will play it safe and hew close to the familiar baseline it established upfront (and sometimes, I'm in the mood for a book like that!) -- it will continue to grow beyond the original blueprints, much like its thoughtful, compassionate characters.
Wing Wind didn't have the same Western vibe as Draigon Weather but that doesn't mean it wasn't as good. In fact, I think I liked it more than the first one.
For me the Western feel of DW came from the concentration of the plot on Cleod's life on the trail and Leiel's "Little Hell on the Prairie" upbringing. WW moved into more traditional fantasy settings and tropes while sacrificing (see what I did there? No spoilers!) neither the feminism nor the dragons.
Seeing female characters who not only have agency but actually take the plot by the throat and demand that it revolve around them is refreshing and needed in today's environment. I am going to recommend these books to my daughter. She loves stories about strong, vital women and these would totally be her jam.
I love this series. After a harrowing end to book 2 for our main characters I can only imagine where book 3 will take us. Which means, of course, that I'm completely wrong. I'm going to enjoy the sudden but inevitable twists that are sure to come.
I fell in love with the characters all over again. Watching the trajectory of the consequences of the choices Leiel and Cleod made in the first book, as they orbit around each other in the second book is both beautiful and heartbreaking. I had a difficult time putting the book down, and when I finished, all I wanted was the next book in the series.
Wing Wind is the seamless sequel to Draigon Weather. Nothing is as satisfying to a reader as picking up a second in series that nearly outshines the first. Wing Wind gives us the answers to questions we didn’t know to ask yet. Book 3 was highly anticipated release. Long Light: Legends Of Arnan was just published. Can’t wait to read it! Highly recommended for fans of epic fantasy.