Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi
Series: Chronicles of the Overworld #1
Published by OpenRoad Media on May 27 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
An 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.
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Translated into English from Italian, Licia Troisi’s debut novel gets off to a grand start. The beginning of Nihal of the Land of the Wind isn’t particularly original, but it is immersive and does an excellent job of introducing the reader to both the extensive setting and many of the important characters. It isn’t until the second half of the novel that everything starts to fall apart.
As a child, Nihal is intrinsically likeable. The daughter of a renowned blacksmith, Nihal’s favourite hobby is playing at war with the other neighbourhood children (all boys, because apparently no other girls want to engage in pretend battles). She is free spirited and independent and tenacious. When she is bested in combat by a sorcerer (she forgot to stipulate that there be no magic in their fight), Nihal decides to learn magic in order to be the best warrior she can be. However, this is where Nihal’s likeable/sympathetic traits end. I spend most of the novel irritated by Nihal’s behaviour. She grows from a tenacious child to a ruthless and narrow-minded young woman, throwing her all into killing. Despite what the book seems to suggest, I never really felt like Nihal learned that her attitude towards war was a detriment to herself and everyone around her. She was incapable of helping anyone but herself, and it was dangerous.
The only character I really liked or sympathized with was Sennar, and even he was particularly memorable. I found his crush on Nihal very frustrating because I was so hoping to see a book in which a young girl and a young boy can be friends without developing romantic feelings for one another. On a similar note, I wish that Nihal hadn’t had a crush on Fen. It would have been much more interesting for her to simply admire him and aspire to be like him without that element.
The plot was quite predictable. I found it to have echoes of Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey’s popular ‘80s series, but it didn’t live up to the high bar that those two incredible women set. The writing, while not distractingly bad, wasn’t particularly interesting or notable in any way. The world building, on the other hand, was quite impressive. It was particularly well-integrated for the first book in a series. It was very vivid and for the most part was well thought out.
I don’t think that I’d actively recommend this as do think that the negatives outweigh the positives, but it depends on what the reader is looking for in the book. Unfortunately, I simply didn’t find it particularly memorable or original.