Friday, January 22, 2021

Lucia Omonobi - Winds of Fate

Life dealt Her a hard blow, but His back was a shield...
After being duped by her intended, kicked out of her home, and left on the streets of Black Valley, young
seamstress, Leah Karin, signs her life over to her country, Aghi, to relocate to and populate its growing town, Luctown. Too late Leah realizes the scheme is filled with lies and injustice. Beaten, bruised and without hope, Leah is prepared to die... but fate has other plans.
All he wanted was freedom. So willingly, Andrew Code trades slavery for exile to the new town. As his team uncovers the lies and deceit of the new town, Andrew remains determined to carve out a life worth living for himself.
In an untamed forest filled with ex-convicts, starving residents, schemers, and murderers, will love and hope conquer all?

Comment: This book was recommended to me. I wasn't even aware of this author but I finally got the chance to read the book and, apart from the clichés of this being a debut, I was positively surprised by how interested I was in what was happening in the story.

In this book we meet the protagonists in a boat, on their way to a new place, so that people can make a living there which means attackers won't dare to get close to the settlements, if they are occupied. The participants volunteer to go and are paid a certain amount to encourage them to decide in favor of that decision, but not everything is as was promised. Andrew and Leah are the protagonists of this journey and they are forced to marry  before sailing off, as well as many other couples. When they arrive at their new town, life is still hard and with obstacles but with perseverance and a little bit of fateful luck, will they want to make a living there and, perhaps, find happiness?

This is a complicated book to describe for it has all the "rules" and traits of an historical setting but in a fictional world/country. I wouldn't even go as far as to say alternative reality but fantasy assumes certain content which is not found here. So, perhaps an historical fictional setting? At first it might seem strange because the author uses many details we can find in real life History and adapted them to her book (social rules, hierarchy of society groups, among other things) but after a while, putting aside the fictional places, this can be read as any historical romance.

I think the whole setting and world building was a bit too predictable in how they were presented, a little cliché. At the end of the book the author explains her reasons and while I can respect them, I feel they are unnecessary for the reader's interpretation of the story. It could have been enough to share where she got her inspiration. I suppose the author wanted to develop her story in a world where the known rules could be bent a little but why creating a whole new world, she could have used any historicals setting without giving it specific names...

When the story begins certain details about what is going on are just too bleak (nice way to compare it to when things are better of course) such as how the voyage happens. There's a lot of description and telling, which makes me think that or the author wanted to give information as quickly as possible to justify why the characters are moving to a new place or she wasn't certain too much time in this part of the book would be too bothersome for new readers.

My favorite part of the book is how the characters learn how to grab happiness and positive experiences in the small things. I'm glad that, although there are challenges and obstacles to overcome, the characters aren't pushed down in an impossible angle; I believed how they came on top and I'm glad the villain never got to a point where only a deus ex-machina event would solve everything. I really liked how the characters tried their best and were rewarded with good things going their way.

The main characters are Andrew and Leah. I really think they are nice people, hardworking and easy to sympathize with but they aren't as complex or developed as they could. I can only assume the author wasn't yet certain of where to go with their personalities. The focus definitely feels to have been on who they were as a couple facing adversity and by being "good", found good things too. Still, of the two I liked Andrew best. As for them as a romantic couple, I must say I didn't feel any chemistry between them. It's true they are forced to marry without knowing anything about the other but while their relationship develops, the author didn't use any tactic to allow us to know them more intimately or to demonstrate how in love/passion/whatever they were.

The secondary characters play their role but none was that amazing to make me think of this book as more than an entertaining read. I see there's another book, featuring a character who helped the couple of this one, and I can imagine the kind of plot - by the blurb - which will happen around their romance but to be honest, even if I do read it, I don't feel the need to do it soon.

I think this was a god enough book but there is room for improvement. The plot could have worked on more, the sex scenes would really need to be much better, there should have been more tension between them considering the situation and the pace didn't always follow the kind of situations the characters were facing. Still, this ended up being a little better than average but not as good as (I feel) it could be.

Grade: 7/10

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