After hubby went to bed yesterday, instead of doing my NaNo like I was supposed to, I started WIND FOLLOWER, and 200 pages later, I had to FORCE myself to go to bed, because I'm driving to visit a relative in the hospital, and that meant I had to actually GET some sleep or risk limb-and-life imperiling road mishaps.
I've still 170 pages to go and, if the quality of the rest matches the quality of the engrossing, romantic, conflict-riddled, finely-characterized pages so far, this baby's winner. If the quality holds, this will be the best Christian fantasy I've read in....years.
The prose sings. The voice is one Ursula Le Guin would say, "Yes, it fits the story and the world." There is an otherness that manages to feel real--as if you were hearing the story from the people themselves and this really happened. I think, for me, this is due to seeing the echoes of what has happened in real history within a fresh story that has strong associations with Scripture. Here, I see words from Jesus in John 14, there I see a Psalm, there and there and there are the Song of Solomon, here is something from the tragedies of King David's life, there is something from Samuel's youth, and so on. But it's woven in so beautifully, that while it will be evident to Word-readers, it will not be quite so to non-Word lovers. Even the title, which I never stopped to think about much, has Biblical allusion in it.
Think about it now: Wind. What comes to mind?
And the human tragedies really hurt. It feels so real that compassion is fully engaged, as is anger, as is frustration. I actually was coiled up into myself in one scene because it was so horrific, I wanted to dive into the pages and rescue the protagonist.
I know how it ends. I simply had to read the last few pages or I would not be able to sleep.
I'll have to savor the journey to that end after I get home tonight.
But this is one amazing CSF novel, with prose so good that it's music. It made me actually, honestly jealous. And how come I didn't hear about it sooner? It's crazy.
I'll give a full review later in the week (must get back to NaNo!), and we'll see if the latter half is as powerful and engaging as the first half, which I totally expect it will.
I have to go shower now. :)
But if you want the novel, it's in my A-Store.