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Flute of the Wind Queen (Outlander Leander Book 1) (English Edition) eBook Kindle
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The story ended quite abruptly, leaving me wishing for more. I think some of the other books are out, so I should run to check on them.
The story starts with a bang as Leander, who admires the heroic treasure hunter Tevias, and decides to make a name for himself by finding the Wind Queen's flute and returning it to her memorial. The queen's flute disappeared around the time Nagdecht was attacked by neighboring Gueran. Leander teams up with Ellora, an aspiring actress and Deckard, a young Gueranian soldier who has been imprisoned for refusing to fight. Ellora does not seem particularly trust worthy and Deckard is Gueranian, a sworn enemy of Nagdecht.
I found it interesting when the young men argue over war propaganda. Leander was uncomfortable to discover that what he had been led to believe might not be the entire truth. That there are two sides to the conflict and neither land is totally right or wrong.
At only 181 pages, I think the book was too thin and could have been pumped up with more background and some of the tension could have been heightened. I wanted to know about the Wind Queen, why she was so important and what made her talent so special. Why would this young man risk his life for her flute? Some parts of the story were vividly told while other aspects were glossed over or left completely unexplained. For example, how Leander escaped from a wooden packing crate was told in minute detail--which I did not mind because it displayed the hero's tenacity and sharp reasoning skills. Later when he was captured by Gueranians, the story jumps straight to a prison cell. I felt like something was missing.
Overall, Flute of the Wind Queen was a good story and I would recommend it to young readers who enjoy fantasy. The ending left the reader ready for the sequel.
Leander is an excellent hero. His motivations are simple and endearing, as he aspires to be a treasure hunter like his hero Tevias - starting with the flute of the Wind Queen, lost in an act of war. He is a young man trying to find his place in the world and make his mark - a good character for a teen audience. I do have a soft spot for treasure hunters, but Leander also appeals for his innocence and the way he bravely bumbles his way through his maiden quest. He's offset nicely by the fiery and slightly mysterious Ellora, and the argumentative Deckard.
The setting, the nations of Nagdecht and neighbouring Gueran, is a modern fantasy world. It has been filled out nicely, with recent war between the nations and cultural misconceptions arising from propaganda. It reminds me somewhat of Berlin before the wall came down, or the cold war of the 1980s. And certainly, the futility of war is a theme this book also explores.
I expected a lightweight read for a young adult novel, but it has some surprisingly tender moments, such as Leander's account of the attack and the wait for his father to come home. Yes, it has the potential to explore some aspects of the story and characters in more detail, but as a YA novel, I have no complaints.
Overall, Flute of the Wind Queen is a well-written, crisply edited book, punctuated nicely by Silvia Texido Viyuela's illustrations. Good read. Give it to your teenagers.