It’s been a while since I had written a review because finals had kept me busy. I finally managed to finish the first (and so far only) book I have won in a Goodreads giveaway. On an unrelated note, all the names in the book, every single one, were so beautiful.
WatW is diverse fiction. The story is heavily embedded into a Polynesian setting. I know absolutely nothing about Polynesian culture, so I can’t tell you if it was accurate or offensive. But it’s always pleasant to read about racially or culturally diverse characters.
“With the cruel blindness of lovers, they neglected the girl. […]They had found their own island” (pg 93).
The premise of Wide as the Wind by Edward Stanton (213 pages) is that Miru has to go on a journey to find tree seeds to replenish his village’s barren land. Luckily his sister Renga Roiti and whoever else he can scrounge for a shipmate are going with him.
Initially, I thought Miru was much younger from reading the first few pages, but a glance at the back cover stated he was fifteen. His transition into manhood was an essential part of the story.
“Miru felt the urge to lick the saliva from Kenetéa’s mouth” (pg 33).
Well, alright then…
Although it was a big portion of the story, the sailing at sea dragged so much to me, but it was probably one of the better parts. With how high the stakes were, of course, there was an inevitable death, and I felt really bad when it happened.
“Neira sighed. ‘If you’re fated to die, how can I stop it? So, I’ll teach you and your sister what I know. But be careful, son! If my husband finds out we’ll all be in danger” (pg 43).
I found a lot of the writing to be somewhat “matter-of-fact.” Like, “The boy loved him for he was his sister’s friend (not an actual quote).” This is not a particular writing style I am fond of, but it works okay for this book.
Also, Miru was madly in love with Kenetéa, but alas, they were star-crossed lovers, both from different tribes. I wish those two could have had more backstory and development for their love. Miru hopelessly longed to be with her, but I just did not have the same urgency for them to get together.
When Miru and his companion returned home, I felt the story began to pick up.
I did not really have any favorite characters. I felt like WatW was more plot-driven than character-driven. Surprisingly, I liked Nuku, the prince of the rival clan, and Kaimokoi the most.
Also, enjoyed the active role Miru’s sister Renga Roiti played. She got along well with her brother and had a talent of communicating to birds. I kept forgetting she was only 10-11 years old because Renga seemed so mature.
Miru was okay. A decent guy who knew he made mistakes and happened to love a girl from an enemy tribe. A little bland but, again, a decent average guy.
I wanted Kenetéa to have a much bigger role. She was basically Miru’s motivation and seemed like the princess locked away in the castle. She had like maybe four appearances if you don’t mention Miru’s thoughts of her. However, I loved how she always called Miru out on his self-righteousness. [Example: Miru:Téa, your tribe is so evil… Kenetéa:Hold’up Miru, your people are not saints either (not an actual book quote).]
To be honest, I don’t think I could keep loving Miru if I were Kenetéa because it felt like he caused everyone she loved to die.
Anyway, Wide as the Wind was pretty good. It had a strong environmental message (and probably an anti-war one too). There’s a little carefully-covert sexual content like a boy waking up with “his milk covering his groin”, but not enough to offend or arouse someone, so no worries.
I think there were some scenes that could have been condensed, but it’s worth a read.