Review: Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi

Nihal of the LandAn international bestseller from an extraordinary storyteller—get ready for Nihal and her world.

Nihal lives in one of the many towers of the Land of the Wind. There is nobody like her in the Overworld: big violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. She is an expert in swordplay and the leader of a handful of friends that includes Sennar the wizard. She has no parents; brought up by an armorer and a sorceress, Nihal seems to be from nowhere.

Things suddenly change when the Tyrant takes charge. Nihal finds herself forced to take action when she is faced with the most difficult mission a girl her age could imagine.

Fierce, strong, and armed with her black crystal sword, Nihal sets out to become a real warrior. Readers will be riveted as she forges her powerful path of resistance.

Review

I really, really wanted to love Nihal of the Land of the Wind. I’ve been wanting a new fantastical series to sink my teeth into and Nihal has the elements I was looking for, but it didn’t quite hit the mark.

I feel like I may be too old for it. Sure, I’m in my thirties, but I’ve read plenty of young adult fiction that doesn’t make me feel like I’m intruding.

There’s promise of a story here, a story in a diversely interesting world. I’m intrigued by the Dragon Knights, curious about Nihal’s background, and absolutely tantalised by the mystery of the Underworld. Many aspects, large and small, would make this a great beginning to an epic tale if they were woven together with more complexity.

As it stands there was much telling instead of showing. The story rushed ahead of itself and did not give me a chance to contemplate scenes and interactions between characters. Nihal is a ferocious character and I adored her in the beginning, but as the story went on, I couldn’t help thinking of her as a needy, nagging, brat.

I love strong and independent female characters. I love it even more when their upbringing is unconventional and there’s something in their life supporting their unconventional choices. Sometimes it just gets to a point where the character is too amazing and too mysterious. Too much so for the character to function in the story and for the story not to fold in on itself.

I did appreciate parts of the world building and mythologies. They were enough to keep me reading and have me consider reading the sequel, when it’s translated. This is the thing too. Translation can cause loss of a story. I never know the translation is the problem, or if something went missing along the way. This gives me pause and makes me wonder if Nihal of the Land should be given more of a chance.

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