Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: October 2013
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At fifteen, Anaii is the most important member of her tribe—and the most mysterious. Ever since Anaii can remember, the spirits of the wind have whispered of fertile hunting grounds and imminent enemy attacks. But when her people are ambushed by a brother clan without any apparent cause, the spirits remain eerily silent.
As the village prepares to retaliate, Anaii is pressured by her best friend, Elan, to marry him. It’s an old plea—Elan has spent a lifetime loving her, but Anaii only sees a childhood playmate out of an imposing warrior. Stifled by Elan’s insistence, Anaii escapes into the forest where she meets Jayttin, the beautiful son of the enemy chief.
Enamored by Jayttin’s carefree spirit and hope for peace, she repeatedly sneaks away to be with him, but when her deception is discovered, Elan is devastated. Pledging his lifelong affection, Elan gives her a passionate kiss, and Anaii begins to see her friend in a new light. While Anaii is tormented over which man she must choose, the wind whispers of a new threat that could destroy both tribes. Only a union will afford a chance at survival, but the reality of that union is based on one thing—which man Anaii chooses to die.
I decided to read "The Wind Whisperer" by Krista Holle, even though it seemed like it would be something out of my comfort zone, and I'm glad I did. This could read as historical fantasy fiction (which isn't a normal read for me), as it takes place in a Native American tribe, and we are immersed in that world.
Anaii is special to her tribe. She was left there by a mother, who was also an outsider, and even from the start, her blue eyes set her apart from the brown-eyed tribe. When you throw in that she can speak to the wind, she's definitely unique. Yeah, the girl talks to the spirits of the wind. Which is a pretty cool talent, since she can ask them about anything (as long as it happens within a certain radius, the spirits can only see so far) and they'll tell her what's going on.
This special skill makes her a prized possession for the chief of her tribe, although it makes others wary of her. The chief holds her on this high pedestal where she is a part of his council, even though she is just a young girl, and that doesn't sit right with everyone. Most of the men think she's this weird abomination, and the women think she's lazy since she doesn't help out with the normal women's work.
I was left undecided at first about how I felt about Anaii's character, since I was seeing both sides of the tribe's argument. Anaii did seem like she thought she was too good for simple farming or cooking, but on the other hand, any time she did try, the women would give her dirty looks or mutter about her inabilities. It was a bit of a hopeless situation for her.
Also, while the chief seemed to prize her, she was still treated a lot like an object. She was important to him and the counsel only because of what she could do with her wind whispers, instead of being acknowledged for the person she was. This made me upset on her behalf because I felt after all she had done for her tribe, she should have been treated better (especially when that whole arranged marriage thing comes into play and she's pretty much sold off like a piece of meat).
It wasn't until later on in the book that I decided I did like Anaii as a character. She just needed to find herself and to grow, which is understandable when you think of her only being "15 winters" old (that is an adult in her tribe's eyes). At times she could be stubborn and lazy, but she really did want what was best for her people, and proved that she was willing to do whatever it took to make sure the ones she loved were safe.
Speaking of love – a good chunk of this book is dedicated to the love triangle Anaii finds herself in. On one side is Elan, the boy she's known since she was a child and is just starting to see him as more than just a brother, and there's also Jayttin, who is a member of a rival tribe that she meets in a meadow and feels an instant connection with.
I was actually impressed with the set up of this triangle. Normally when there is multiple love interests involved, I find myself gravitating toward one side and hoping that the girl will choose the guy I like for her. That wasn't so much the case in "The Wind Whisperer.” Instead, I kept bouncing back and forth between, wishing she would just declare her love for Elan, to wishing she would run off and marry Jayttin. The tension and bickering seemed to be getting too much at times between the boys, I still felt like Holle did a great job at creating a balanced triangle.
All in all this was an enjoyable read. I was interested in seeing how Anaii would work to save her tribe, and also to see what man she would choose for herself. It was also nice to see Anaii's powers build as she realized there was more to her than just being able to whisper with the wind, and I liked that it helped her grow as a character throughout the story.