Wind Catcher by Jeff & Erynn Altabef
Book #1 in The Chosen
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mythology
Publication Date: March 2015
Publisher: Evolved Publishing, LLC
The Native American lore was what really drew us to this book, but we have to admit the cover is stunning as well. It’s something that might stop us in our tracks in the book aisle at the grocery store! Throw in a hint of mystery and impending destiny, and we were off!
Wendy: Can I just say that I was really interested in this story when I read that it would be a fantasy book that featured Native American culture? So far all of the other YA Native American books that I’ve read were contemporary books that weren’t magical, for the most part. How do you feel that the authors did, writing a YA UF Series steeped in Native American folklore?
Angie: I don’t generally read a lot of YA (though it’s a genre I plan to explore,) but I thought everything leading up to the end of the book was well-written and interesting. There was a lot of emphasis put on the coyote in conversation, but I didn’t see a lot of it as part of the actual story. I’m hoping to see more of that in the next book.
Wendy: What about Juliet herself. What did you think of The Chosen? I thought there were some similarities to Buffy the Vampire slayer here… did you get that vibe?
Angie: I guess this is where I drop the ‘I’ve actually never seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ bomb. I hope it doesn’t do too much damage. I got more of a Scooby-Doo and the gang vibe, especially once Ella and Marlon were thrown into the mix. I’m torn about Juliet’s character – I understand that she was shocked about her destiny, and she had a right to feel angry about all of the secret keeping. My issue is that I didn’t feel like she had any respect for her heritage. It made it hard for me to sympathize with her. Also, she was upset when she learned she’d been lied to over and over again, and by the end of the book, she was telling lies left and right. Granted, it was to protect the people she loved, but you would think that would have put the lies she’d been told into a new perspective.
Wendy: Not watching Buffy doesn’t do any damage. You should watch it though, it’s Epic. Also, your Scooby-Doo reference is spot on. Buffy and her group actually call themselves The Scoobies.
Anyway, I soooo agree with you! Her lack of respect for her heritage was really hard for me. It may have been one thing if she hadn’t grown up in it, or didn’t have such close connections with people who felt strongly about their heritage. I couldn’t stand the way she treated her grandfather, but I could chalk that up to bratty teen. I got embarrassed of my Grandpa when I hit a certain age too. It’s wrong, but I think it’s also normal to a point. But it was harder for me to understand her relationship with Troy. To be so close to someone and act like that about something that was important to him. Sometimes I couldn’t understand why he wanted to continue being her friend. I got pretty sick of all the anger too, after a while. If she’d only been angry when the lies were revealed, that would have been one thing. But she was always angry. It was built into her character.
Angie: There were a lot of moments throughout the book where I had to remind myself that she was a teenager; as I mentioned earlier, I haven’t read a lot of YA. But as soon as I’d remind myself, I had to give the author props for the protagonist acting age appropriate. I remember being a huge pain the you-know-what when I was 16 and saying way too many things without thinking first!
I felt bad for Troy at times. He was proud of who he was; it had to have been hard for him to be around Juliet when she belittled the traditions he was so passionate about.
Wendy: I felt bad for Troy, too, to an extent. I never really feel a strong connection to Troy. Perhaps because I never felt like Troy was really highlighted. He was just an extension of Juliet and didn’t feel fully fleshed out. I felt more of a strong connection between Juliet and her Grandfather, which is possibly because (with the exception of being Native American and, you know, magical) it reminded me so much of my close relationship with my Grandpa.
Angie: I felt the exact opposite – I really liked Troy. I never connected to Juliet’s grandfather, and I think it was because of all the secret keeping. While I think it was central to the plot, it was hard to see past that.
Wendy: I can understand that. He did keep a lot of secrets. I think possibly, too, my interest in her Grandfather may have also been due to how dismissive she was of him. I think I have a problem with kids being disrespectful. Haha
Angie: She was very dismissive, and it was sad to see because of the bond they’d had for so many years. Going to an elite boarding school really over-inflated Juliet’s sense of importance.
Wendy: No doubt! Her constant need to be ‘normal’, as laid out by her fancy school.
How about the end. The history. What it meant to be ‘The Chosen’. How did you feel about that?
Angie: The first two-thirds of this book flew right by for me. I loved reading about Juliet struggling with who she was because she felt torn between two very different worlds. I enjoyed meeting her friends, and having her relationship with her grandfather established. The last third of the book felt like it trudged along, and we weren’t given that much information. I would have liked to see more digging on the part of Juliet and her friends, and some of the side characters fleshed out more. Having said that, I think there are lots of things the author needs to convey when establishing a new series, and I was given enough to be intrigued.
Wendy: Possibly I think that Katie and Ella could have been meshed into one. I didn’t really see the point of all of the side characters. But maybe there will be more to them later in the series. For me, in the end, there were some reveals that made me arch my eyebrow. Things that I didn’t expect and that I’m not sure benefit the story. But, like you, I’m definitely intrigued and would read the next one when it comes out.
Angie: Agreed. Kate and Ella could have been meshed into one for the purpose of this story. I think Juliet hanging out with Marlon and Troy would have been enough to convey how she felt like she no longer fit in with her old crowd. I also agree with the eyebrow arch; the story departed from the Native American foundation it was written on. I have absolutely no idea where things will go from here!
Thank you to the authors for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.