Saturday, 25 March 2017

Barefoot on the Wind - Book Review


Barefoot on the Wind - Book Review
Zoe Marriott
YA Fantasy/Beauty & the Beast Retelling
UK Publisher: Walker Books

Some other Books by Zoe Marriott:

Synopsis:

There is a Monster in the forest…

Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it - or be killed herself.

But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects…

Review:

In this book, Zoe Marriott puts her own stamp on the beloved, Beauty and the Beast tale. Yet what struck me most about this book, aside from its Japanese setting, was the beauty of the writing, the friendships formed by the characters, and funnily enough, the distinct lack of romance. That’s not to say that this isn't a love story - because it is - but it’s a love story built on loyalty and companionship. You won’t find fluff in this book. It’s a truly exceptional read. A real masterpiece of fiction.

All Hana’s life, the forest has whispered the same warning. There is a monster in the woods. Yet growing up in a village where people frequently disappear, never to return, Hana’s heart is hardened to the warning. Yet when her father goes missing, she will do anything it takes to save him. Even venture into the deepest, darkest part of the forrest.

But the woods surrounding Hana’s village have a magic of their own and they protect a dark secret. A cursed creature, a beast with a heart of ice…

This was a really delicious read. Unlike most beauty and the beast retellings, this story explores the beast’s past, giving the reader an insight into the events that led up to the curse. It’s a book that doesn't turn away from the ugly sides of nature, but instead reveals the story in a truthful way.

Hana is strong heroine who has been sculpted by loss of her brother into a more masculine role. She is a hunter with a strong will that serves her well throughout the course of the story. The beast on the other hand is a healer, quiet and docile in nature. I like how his strength is portrayed, not through physical action, but through his acceptance of his sins. He doesn't fight his fate, and believes his punishment is just. It is only through Hana’s arrival that beast finally begins to see he is not the same man he once was. 

I also liked the mythology in this book, and without giving away spoilers, all I can say is I liked the twist on the whole “there is a monster in the forrest” storyline. It made the ending of the book that much sweeter.

However I did feel parts of the middle were a little slow. I understand many of the scenes were there to show the developing relationship between Hana and the Beast, but I couldn't help but be eager for something more to happen. While the pacing does pick up considerably toward the end, the contrast is sharp and in hindsight, makes the middle seem more slower than it probably was. 

All in all though this was a really beautiful read. Zoe Marriott has a real flair for poetic storytelling and I’m looking forward to her next book, whatever it may be. I give Barefoot on the Wind 4 stars!

Chat with me! 

What did the rest of you think? Isn't that cover just gorgeous? And did I mention this book counts toward both the British Book Challenge, and the fairytale retellings? It's a win win! :)


16 comments:

  1. Ahh Zoe Marriott. I've only ever read one of her books in the past and was completely floored by her knowledge of the Japanese myths. She also has a knack for gorgeous writing so I don't blame you for being awed. :D

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    1. I've read all her books and she never disappoints :) However I found this book particularly enjoyable - I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

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  2. I love the cover!! Seems like a really nice book. I'll be adding it to Goodreads :)

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    1. The cover is utterly gorgeous! As is the writing - really hope you get to give this one a try :)

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  3. I LOVE Zoe Marriot's fairy tale retellings, so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this so much! I haven't had the chance to read this one yet but I'm desperate to, especially since Beauty and the Beast retellings are my favourite.

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    1. Yay for beauty and the beast retellings - they're my favourite too :) And this one was beautiful! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

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  4. I'm so glad you loved this one! Love Zoe lots! Thanks for linking this up to the British Books Challenge x

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    1. Thanks for story by Chelle :) And yeah, Zoe is the best! I love her blog - she always gives the best writing tips!

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  5. This cover really is gorgeous! It immediately drew me in and the blurb and your review only made me want to read it more. Adding this one and Shadows on the Moon to my TBR immediately :)

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    1. They are beautiful books - the writing is gorgeous! Seriously hope you enjoy them!

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  6. oh oh I so want to read this!! Especially if it has a Japanese setting, because twists on the same-old-same-old tale are just MY FAVOURITE THING.😂 And I also want to read the author's other book...whose title escapes me. Omg. It's something about Shadows and Moon?? So must put them both on my TBR!

    (Also omgggg I just read The Otherlife at your suggestion and IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Definitely a new favourite. Thank you so much for the rec!!)

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  7. Hey Cait!

    Super glad to hear you loved The Otherlife - it was one of those books that took me totally by surprise last year and ended being one of my favourite 2016 reads!

    But please read these these retellings - Zoe Marriott has a really beautiful writing style - although admittedly her NAME OF THE BLADE trilogy is my favourite. It has such an anime style feel :)

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  8. I've never heard of this one before but it sounds really good! Reminds me of The Hunted retelling I read last month too! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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    1. Your welcome - I really hope you get a chance to read this one. Zoe Marriott is one of my favourite authors and her writing is just beautiful!

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  9. Great review, Sarah! I've wanted to read this one for quite a while, but I know it's set in the same universe as Shadows on the Wind, and I'm not sure if they follow on in some way? I'd rather save myself from spoilers and wait until I read Shadows first. Really intrigued by the sound of this story, though. A beast who's not so beastly? Sounds awesome!

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    1. They are set in the same world but the stories don't cross over - it really doesn't matter which one you read first :) They are both awesome! And the covers for both are totally gorgeous!

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