Dragon Sword and Wind Child

Dragon Sword and Wind Child - Noriko Ogiwara, Cathy Hirano, Miho Satake See this review and more at Whitley ReadsI recently found out that the second book in this series has been translated to English, so of course I had to do a reread of this one. For…what, the fourth time? Fifth? Who cares; I’m sure I’ll do more.This one of my favorite books from my childhood, so one of those stars is probably from nostalgia.That being said, the book probably won’t appeal to everyone. It’s a very dense, plot-heavy book with little in the way of in-depth character development. Which is not to say that the characters aren’t fascinating; they are. But the whole story reads like a fairy tale, so the characters are kind of distant, like someone who looks like they’d be fun to hang out with but you don’t get a chance to.And I still don’t care, because I’ll take fascinating-but-distant characters over crappy ones any day. All the characters are great, but Chihaya and Torihiko really steal the show. Chihaya is probably one of the best characters I’ve ever read about, as he’s an immortal god who’s been shut away from the world and only in the course of this book meets other people. Watching him come to terms with the world at large, watching him learn about mortality and empathy, is marvelous. The book manages to display him as otherworldly and different, but never makes him into an ass for his lack to other people. And Torihiko is just cheeky. I love him for being able to be irreverent without being a jerk, like the slew of “witty, sarcastic” characters we see in books today. Saya and her bursts of anger fall under that same heading, too. She’s got a temper on her, but she’s so frikkin polite about it, always feeling bad afterwards and only blowing up when it’s legitimately called for. She’s flawed and human while still being nice, not someone carrying around a chip on her shoulder.But the best part of this book is the themes and concepts that are explored and turned on their heads. Saya is drawn to the immortal Prince of Light in a situation that could easily fall into bad romance territory, and instead that obsession is treated as just that: an obsession, one to be explored. The balance between Light and Dark and calling them both good and evil in equal measure is, while not new, still wonderfully woven into the story. Too often that theme is brought in and only given lip service, rather than the consideration it deserves.This book will always have a special place for me, and I would highly recommend it to fans of high fantasy. It’s a cerebral read more than an emotional one, but if that’s your boat, you won’t be disappointed here.