Synopsis: Among the scattered islands of the ocean-bound world called Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers – those humans borne on handcrafted wings who cross the treacherous seas to bring news, songs, and stories to Windhaven’s far-flung communities.
Maris of Lesser Amberly, a local fisherman’s adopted daughter, yearns to be a flyer and soar high above the waters, but it is her stepbrother who stands to inherit the irreplaceable wings when he comes of age. Now Maris is daring to challenge the tradition and law by demanding that flyers are chosen by merit rather than inheritance.
Review: Windhaven was first published as a novel back in 1981 and was conceived by the creative minds of ‘Game Of Thrones’ creator George R.R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle back in the 1970’s when they were carving out their writing careers.
The story is mostly about Maris and her struggle to change traditions, which fly in the face of fairness. It follows the trials and tribulations of her fight for change and many of the battles she has to fight in order to demonstrate that choosing people on merit is a better way than that of recruiting via birthright.
The story starts with a wonderful prologue of Maris as a little girl dreaming about flying and befriending the flyers.
The world building in this story is fantastic, but sadly it gets a bit carried away with the politics of the world, which stifles the potential for adventure. But that said the politics and the discussion the book has on fairness and class makes a lot of solid points.
The opening chapter does a lot to illustrate Maris and her point of view. She is easily the best flyer in Lesser Amberly. Yet her stepbrother, a singer who has no wish to fly is the one who stands to inherit her stepfather’s wings.
As Maris wins one battle and manages to get a little change. She soon finds that the acceptance of such changes is another matter entirely as she learns the consequences of her standing up to a deeply entrenched system.
You can see the parallels in this story with the suffragettes as well as minorities fighting for a change to the system in order to gain fairness.
You can definitely see George R.R. Martins influence in this story. There be dragons, but the real dragon being fought in this book is the entrenched system of Windhaven.
Elsa Charretier’s artwork fits the story really well. The art in the book has a very watercolour wash kind of quality to it, which lends itself well to the myths and stories of Windhaven that we hear in the story.
As you can see in the panel above. The art has a beautiful and very delicate quality to it, which works well with the story.
The panels where we see Maris flying above the clouds are particularly eye-catching as are the few panels where she flies past some very cool looking dragons.
Windhaven is a wonderful story, which discusses how change to traditions can be made when one person supported by others stands up to a deeply entrenched system.
In Maris, we have a compelling and complex character who would make a great role model for young women around the world.
Unfortunately. The more adventurous elements of this story are secondary to the narrative discussion about change and the consequences of that change. It would have been great to have seen a little more adventure with Maris taking the lead.
All that said. It’s a solid and enjoyable story that gives you food for thought.
The artwork is stunning with a simplistic, but beautiful look and feel to it.
Released through Titan Comics in the UK. Windhaven is available to buy at any good bookstore or online shop for £19.99. It would make a good Christmas present for fans of George R.R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle.