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Raetian Tales 1: A Wind from the South by…

Raetian Tales 1: A Wind from the South

by Diane Duane

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An oddly framed book that signals a conventionally told novel, but turns out to be an episodic set of fairy stories and tasks. The alpine setting was very interesting and the main character grows on you. The book is slow moving and takes a while to adjust to as the reader discovers that the book is a set of fairytales. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next of the trilogy, which I suspect may be more a conventional story. ( )
  leduck | Oct 19, 2013 |
I enjoyed "A Wind from the South" but it felt like it needed some work. In particular, I didn't enjoy the first part of the book nearly as much as the second part when Mariarta finally got away from her village and began her adventures. The whole story of the bull just wasn't engaging. The second part was excellent though, and more than made up for it. There are a lot of memorably creepy moments, particularly the scene with Duonna Vrene in the mountain of ice. Artemis, when we finally meet her, has a wicked sense of humor, and clearly has more in mind for Mariarta than Mariarta knows...although I think she suspects. I'm disappointed that we'll never find out how *that* partnership worked out. ( )
  particle_p | Apr 1, 2013 |
4.5; full review to come later.

For anyone interested in Switzerland and its history, while deliberately less than precisely accurate on dates, you'll probably enjoy this - especially if you know English and German, whether you know Romansch or not. There were several places where I said to myself "I know what she's getting at" - and yet it isn't as predictable as that sentence would suggest. Ebook needs proofreading though. ( )
1 vote Trialia | Mar 28, 2013 |
In the first third of the book, a young girl longs to learn to shoot and diligently learns her other lessons with the promise that she will be taught. In the second third, after defeating a magical creature that was haunting the village, she leaves her home and goes around defeating or ending other hauntings. In the final third, the peasants revolt against the nobility and Mati, with a goddess' power and guidance, helps them.

I am a big fan of Duane's other books, but sadly this was rather dull. Many of the characters were unmemorable or interchangeable. Many of the concepts in the book are similar to ones used to better and more interesting effect in her other books. I recommend skipping this and reading her Young Wizards series instead. ( )
1 vote bluesalamanders | Dec 21, 2011 |
Intertersing historical fiction set in the 1300s Alps around the Independance of Switzerland. A little bit disjointed in places as the central character is used to tie together various alpine myths and legends through the auspices of the Huntress goddess Hektate (Diane, Astarte whatever you know her by) and her ability over the winds, moon and other such intangible matters - though never love nor men, that is her sister's fief.

The story starts with a young girl Matti, daughter to the village foreman, diligently doing her chores, whilst secretly yearning to learn how to use a crossbow. The village (at this time under Austrian rule) is taxed heavily, but survivably. Eventually the daughter does learn from an old herder, and rapidly gains an uncanny ability to hit whatever she aims at. Soon however she faces the prospect of making a suitable marriage, and the tax inspector's eye has been on her. Befroe this can come to pass the village becomes wracked by a venegful spirit - created by a lad's attempt to consecrate a white lamb. These troubles allow Matti to pospone her wedding day, and as she becomes involved in the quest to drive out the spirit, eventually to leave the village forever.

I tend to find historical fiction drags too much for my liking, and is either too contstrained by reality or insufficiently so. However Duane has struck a good balance between real events, local myths and a decent narrative weaving them all together through one person's view. Her afterword of several pages explains some of the real events and how she's had to alter a few of them.

The nature of the story does make it a bit disjointed at times, Matti wil lhave an adventure or face a local myth and then go on sometime later to meet another without much in the way of background plot to drive the story onwards. A few of these are seperated by odd chapter breaks too where the chapter ends sometime after the obvious place at the conclusion of the event. However in general the prose is well written and the events succinctly described. There is a profusion of Rommanish terms along with some Latin and German. I f you've never visited the crennalated alps it may be hard to visualise the scenary and the effect it has on the story.

TBC ( )
  reading_fox | Oct 14, 2010 |
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