Book Review : Barefoot on the Wind by Zoi Marriott
Title : Barefoot on the Wind
Author : Zoi Marriott
Genre : Children’s, Fantasy, Mythology
Rating : 3 Stars
Disclaimer : This review has been sponsored by Walker Books Australia however all my thoughts, opinions and feels are my own and are in no way influenced by other sources. Thank you Walker for supporting me and allowing me to review this book for you, I am greatly humbled.
I have a cover fetish or perhaps for a more elegant term, obsession.
So before I get into the actual book reviewing I’d like to start by cover reviewing! I think that a clever cover should always portray the themes throughout the book, to hint at what is going to happen, allowing a glimpse into the book without giving away all to much. This cover is really quite artistic, the book is a beauty and the beast retelling and that is made evident with the wolf in the background and the delicate butterfly’s. The thorns are a very effective concept throughout the book which they have craftily brought into the cover. All in all, I thought this was a beautiful and effective cover. In terms of cover rating/stars, I think I would give it a 3.5-4.
NOW, onto the important part of this review!
This book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. The author included a note on the very first page to her readers about why she wrote this book and I really loved that idea. I kind wish that all authors did that! Marriott’s reason behind writing this book was because and I quote, “as [she] got older, it began to seem more and more strange…that in the traditional fairy tale, it is innocent Beauty who is forced to learn to love the Beast while the Beast is rewarded for” his misconduct.
I don’t know about you but I had to agree with that statement and it was so interesting to know how the author began to dream up the book.
This novel is set in a Japanese landscape with the characters baring traditional Japanese names, which is not at all what I had been expecting but it was certainly something I’d never experienced before and it worked quite well.
In terms of genre, I’m not sure if I believe this book is adequately placed as a YA title as it seemed a little too juvenile for my tastes. Personally, I believe this book is perfectly pitched to an audience of ages 10-16 perhaps a bit older or younger but I wouldn’t really class this as YA, as you can see from my genre picks above.
Once I got past the fact that I had prepared myself for a YA read and found myself reading a children’s book, I began to enjoy it a whole lot more. The book is quite elegantly written, it is not an advanced read but that is to be expected for the age group I’m pitching this for. The book doesn’t feature a dramatic amount of dialect, a lot of the manuscript is internal monologue but that doesn’t hinder the story in any way. If anything it gives Marriott a certain authors writing style and I like that it makes her stand out. But the little direct dialog we did get was very stiff and formal, which I guess is in line with Japanese culture but for a novel I felt like it created a barrier between reader and writer. despite this Marriott is so very good at communicating the thoughts and feelings of the character while also telling you every minuscule detail about the surrounding and the happenings of the scene. But somehow that wasn’t quite enough for me. For a book with so much detail I found it lacked a certain amount of depth, emotion.
As a 313 page book, it is quite a small and quick read, but with being small it’s harder to get as much depth into the book as you might get in a 500-600 page novel.
If you haven’t read this book or are looking for a book for your niece or little sister or daughter, this is one that I highly recommend. It’s an easy flowing read that is very appropriate and has a beautiful traditional story line.
And that is where my spoiler free section of the review shall end today. So if you haven’t read this book yet and don’t want to be spoiled – Toodaloo!
Throughout this book the main character Hana is plagued by guilt over the lose of her brother, we went into great detail on this and it was the principle reasoning the Hana used for a majority of her actions. So I found it odd that those emotions where so accurately conveyed whereas the connection between the Itsuki and Hana was more tiptoed around. For a children’s book, it was appropriately pitched however I felt that there still could have been more depth to the bond that the main characters shared without being inappropriate. Perhaps I just wanted to see more of Itsuki’s face throughout the book, his facial expressions would have given more emotion or added the spark that I felt the pages between these two characters were missing. But again, I guess the lack of seeing his face for the majority of the book added to the ‘mysterious’ side of him.
The way things were ‘fixed’ in the end and how the Yuki-Onna and Hana had a little chat and were suddenly best friends was a little to youthful for my liking but it was a good way to bring a to a close all the open ended questions that we still had.
I found Kyo’s return a very cute and sweet way to end the story but I found it more interesting that he was the same age when he came back as when he’d left. Younger sister is now big sister and I would really like to see an elaboration on that!
All in all its a beautiful book with a unique fairy tale twist. Its beautifully written and thoroughly descriptive and I highly recommend it for the younger generation as I believe its more of a children’s book.
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Thank you for reading!
Till next time,
xoxo Book Dragon Ash