The Ninth Wind (Splendor and Ruin #1) by Moses Siregar III #SPFBO

TheNinthWindThe Ninth Wind is my final book review for the SPFBO and my chosen book from batch 6. I had 30 books which I split into 6 batches of 5 with the aim of reading 1 batch per month for the first six months of the challenge:

This is a book that is a bit difficult to pin down.  There’s a  lot going on here, a weaving of mythology and philosophy and a lot of ‘thinking’ material in terms of Gods, conflict and magic.

At the start of the story we make the introduction of three siblings:Skye, Dag and Idonea.  Their home is occupied by the neighbouring Rezzians and the opening chapters leaves the three siblings’ lives in ruins.  Following these opening chapters the three of them  pull together, they rely heavily on each other and their strong family connection helps them to move forward.  The Andarans have found a new purpose, their men train to be warriors, they are determined to be ready for any new threats to their way of life.  The country of Andara is a place filled with magic.  The trees seem to be conduits and the souls of Andaran ancestors seem to whisper in the wind.  Idonea seeks the knowledge of a volwa.  Pushed on by her dead ancestors she yearns to know the ways of magic and finally gains the aid of a wise woman who lives within the forest.  Her brother Dag, a warrior, knows of Idonea’s secret and is partly in tune with the magic of the forest himself although the pair of them keep their findings a secret – Volwa’s are not exactly acceptable being thought of as witches.  Skye, also a warrior, is desperate to hear the voice of his father and ancestors to help lead him in his quest and the failure to hear these voices seems, for him, to give testimony to his lack of ability as a leader.  The three of them are about to embark on a journey to try and prevent further war in their lands.

The plot starts off as a journey across land with a number of encounters and mishaps along the way.  From there we travel to the land of Rezzia and then onwards again.  Basically this is a search, by Idonea, Dag and Skye,  for their father, or at least knowledge of whether he still lives or dies, they also hope to petition for peace.  Finally we have a very unexpected and action packed grande finale.

I think for me the winning element of this story is the world building and attention to detail.  Clearly the author has given this a lot of thought and that much is evident as you read.  Much like our own world there are different religions and beliefs and also, much as in our world, there is fear and scorn of the unknown.  This is the sort of read that makes you stop and consider things from a different perspective and I liked that about the story.  More than that it takes a look at the way people treat each other – sometimes right and wrong is just merely a matter of perspective!

In terms of characters.  Well, I liked and disliked them.  Idonea starts out as a very intriguing character. She has the ability to be something very powerful even though she has a journey to travel before she will do so and I had high expectations for her.  But, she’s a conundrum.  She’s undoubtedly flawed and makes mistakes along the way but rather than making me feel more sympathetic towards her, which is normally how this would make me feel as it lends a character a certain realness, I found myself being slightly annoyed with her.  I never really felt any regret from her and in a way this made her come across as arrogant and a little bit harsh. Skye is another matter completely.  He’s filled with anger and passion and just plain old fear about his own inadequacies – which of course comes out as a lot of bravado and hair bristling.  Then we have Dag – who is definitely the most likeable and easy to understand character of the three.  I don’t know why he was my favourite – he just reads very naturally I suppose

In terms of criticisms.  To be honest, although this is well written and thought provoking it needs editing to sharpen it up.  It’s simply too long in terms of what is actually taking place – which is why I said it’s a ‘thinking’ piece.  Yes, there is lots to think about and definitely this will provoke plenty of food for thought but I think it was a bit wieldy.

Overall, a good read.  I enjoyed the world that the author has created here and found the different systems of belief intriguing.  I guess if I was going to be totally honest I enjoyed the first half of the story more than the latter half but even so an intriguing book.