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Windhaven by George R. R. Martin

Windhaven (1981)

by George R. R. Martin (Author), Lisa Tuttle (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (10)  Dutch (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I love this book. It is the story of Maris, adopted by a Flyer of Windhaven, but sidelined when he has a biological child of his own. Being a fantasy story, the heir doesn't want wings, he wants to be a singer, and Maris wants to fly with a burning passion that she would change the world for... and so she steals the wings, is tried by the Council, and eventually persuades them that a new way is needed.

A lot of books would have stopped there. But this is the story of all of Maris's life, and the traditional Young Adult fight-against-the-odds-to-achieve-your-dream is only the start. The majority of the book is Maris growing up, and having to deal with the changes her naïve actions cause. I think one of the things I love most about this book is Val One Wing. He is written as a very ambiguous, but very dislikable character. Maris, who is talented and loving and so easy to identify with, spends a lot of the book reaching out to him and making an effort, only to find him being what feels like gratuitously cruel to her. He wants to fly, but not to be a flyer - he despises the aristocrats who lord it over the rest of Windhaven. He flaunts their tradition wherever he can. And he is ruthlessly driven - he wins his wings by challenging a women who is distraught weeks after her brother's death, and never shows any remorse for his actions. But he has watertight motivations, and a sympathetic backstory, and leaves me a tangled mix of hating him and loving him every time.

In the third part of the book, Maris loses her ability to fly through a terrible accident, and the story talks of grief, of healing, of how we define ourselves, and how we heal and reinvent ourselves.

There are so many things I love about this book. But it captures so truly the feeling of soaring and spiraling high above the sea, sun glinting on silver wings, the joy and glory of it. ( )
  atreic | Oct 14, 2015 |
I didn't mean to finish this book so fast. Didn't expect to. But before I knew it I had spent half the day finishing it. I was drawn in and captured by the story. I don't know how the co-writing went, if this is more Martin's style or Tuttle, since I've never read anything by Tuttle. The politics side of the story seem to be Martin's game, but I'm guessing the story is more Tuttles. Whichever the case, I applaud both authors for a book very well done. I enjoyed the characters, felt Maris' pain, loved the winds. A good book. ( )
  Kassilem | Sep 25, 2015 |
A classic from the 70s, memorable for its wonderful depiction of the joys of flying, I mean with wings, like an eagle. The written version of the flight training segment of the movie Avatar. 30 years after, the memories are fading but overall it was a good read. ( )
  ricaustria | Apr 5, 2013 |
I enjoy George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, so it's disappointing that reading this book inspired me to adopt a new "don't keep reading something you're not enjoying just to finish it" policy. I got 2/3 of the way through and it was good at times and ok at times, just bland, young adult, fantasy. I loved Anne McCaffrey's Pern books as a child, and this reminded me of the same sort of thing, but didn't resonate as strongly with me. ( )
1 vote BrownDeer32 | Apr 6, 2012 |
I would really only recommend this book for historical interest, in noting where two of Rowling's main themes (the battle between people born into magic families and those of mixed ancestry, and magic academies) had precedent. The book follows the life of Maris, a fisherman's daughter, on this world where humans had long ago been stranded, leaving behind only this fabric which allowed those who wore them as wings to fly. That is handy, since the planet is mainly water, with scattered islands and they don't seem to have developed any other means of communication. Maris's fight to become a flyer succeeds, but ends up changing the social order more drastically than she had realized. ( )
1 vote robinamelia | Feb 5, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin, George R. R.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tuttle, LisaAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Burnick, GaleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DiFate, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuchs, AngelikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grace, GeraldCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Veenboer, JokeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, HarrietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weston, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Lisa Tuttle:
This book is dedicated with love and gratitude to my mother and father, even if they don't read it.
George R. R. Martin:
This one is for Elizabeth and Anne and Mary Kaye and Carol and Meredyth and Ann and Yvonne and the rest of my Courier troublemakers, in the hope that they will continue to make trouble, ask questions, and get thrown out of offices.
First words
The storm had raged through most of the night.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Als je eenmaal het vliegen geproefd hebt
zul je de aarde bewandelen met je blik naar de hemel
want daar ben je geweest
en daarheen reikt je verlangen

Leonardo Da Vinci
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553577905, Mass Market Paperback)

If Windhaven weren't a fantasy book, it would be a selection for Oprah's books club, in the best sense. It tells the life story of a girl whose desire is so strong that it literally changes her world.

Maris wants nothing more than to fly. But she is land-bound: she was not born into a family of flyers, those who inherit their wings from their ancestors and convey messages, songs, and stories between the isolated islands of Windhaven. She convinces the flyers to break their ancient dynastic traditions for a selfish reason--to gain a pair of wings. In so doing, however, she opens the skies to all the hopeful land-bound, with serious social and political repercussions for both populations.

Each of the five chapters relates a different incident in Maris's struggle to first become a flyer and to then open the skies, and the flyers' minds, to the rest of the land-bound. They are told in sequential order as Maris ages, but resemble short stories featuring the same character more than chapters in a novel. Although the background in each certainly enhances the understanding of the following one, this knowledge is not at all essential to appreciating each chapter as a discrete entity that can stand alone.

Windhaven is a thought-provoking book, challenging us by depicting the potential consequences when young idealists break ancient traditions. The authors gave us a heroine, a planet, and a story that teach as they entertain. --Diana M. Gitig

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:28 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

On stormy Windhaven, the descendants of long-ago stranded star-sailors live on widely separated islands. Lacking metals to sustain industrial technology, the inhabitants depend on flyers, humans with wings made from the original star sail, to bring news and carry messages, uniting far-flung communities. Maris, a land-bound female adopted into a flyer family, loves to fly. But when her stepbrother, Coll, turns thirteen, he as first-born stands to inherit the irreplaceable wings, even as he dreams of being a traveling singer instead. When Maris tries to resolve both quandaries by stealing the wings, she challenges not only flyer law but the basic assumptions of Windhaven society. Establishing competitions to win wings and training academies for students from non-flyer families, and defending a "made" flyer accused of treason for stopping a war, Maris faces the lifelong consequences of talent come into conflict with privilege ...… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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