March 15, 2012

Windrider II makes for a grand quest

The Windrider II: A Greater Strength by Rebecca P. Minor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This volume continues the quest begun in book one. Here, the Windrider Squadron gains some new members, but Vinyanel and Majestrin are still, as far as I'm concerned, the stars of the show. Vinyanel's mentor/teammate Veranna has a key role to play, but some of the best bits are from Majestrin's point of view, showing that the dragon is a true partner with the elves.

For an experienced warrior, Vinyanel still has a lot to learn, and he grows a lot in the course of this story. We're often told every hero must have a flaw, but often our heroes are sort of blissfully unaware of their flaws until the bitter end. Not Vinyanel. His flaws were sharply revealed in book one, and in book two he learns to deal with them. We also see a heretofore unmentioned weakness for a woman. A whole new facet of his personality.

The woman, I think I can say without spoiling too much, is not Veranna. That the hero and heroine of this story are not also one another's romantic interests is one of the things I love about it. Veranna is enamored of another Windrider, and Vinyanel professes to be interested only in his weapons.

Other things I love about this story: the elves are like real flesh-and-blood beings with flaws and feelings, not just aloof, serene caricatures; there are words in it I have to look up; faith lessons are woven into the story without being plunked in awkwardly; and -- of course -- dragons.

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