Nihal of the Land of the Wind - Licia Troisi (Translated by Ann Gagliardi)

A lonely warrior. The last of a massacred race. A tale of magic and mystical creatures and a dark overlord Hell bent on destroying the world. A tale of friendship and hardships. Oh! And the main character? A chick!

Nihal lives in one of the many towers of the Land of the Wind. There is nobody like her in the Overworld: big violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. She is an expert in swordplay and the leader of a handful of friends that includes Sennar the wizard. She has no parents; brought up by an armorer and a sorceress, Nihal seems to be from nowhere. Things suddenly change when the Tyrant takes charge. Nihal finds herself forced to take action when she is faced with the most difficult mission a girl her age could imagine. Fierce, strong, and armed with her black crystal sword, Nihal sets out to become a real warrior. Readers will be riveted as she forges her powerful path of resistance.

***A Preface for you Folks: This book was provided to me from Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review. So thanks! Now, onto the review!!***

I love this cover. Love it. It believe that’s what sold me on the book. Not the title or the synopsis. Just the cover. Gorgeous. You can see our main characters sorrow and now, that this is going to be an intense book. This book was originally written in Italian in 2004 and went by Nihal della terra del vento. The American translation was published and released on May 27th 2014 by Mondadori.

Now, with all that technical stuff out of the way, I can say that this was a good read. It was short and the pace of the story was good. I read this in a few days. The progression of this tale starts with Nihal as a 13 year old girl living in a tower city of Salazar where she is the leader of a rag tag group of boys who make lots of trouble. We walk through a total of five years of Nihal’s life. We see her develop a meaningful friendship with Sennar, the young sorcerer, and her passion to become a warrior. Nihal learns the truth of who she is and learns the truth of war and death, from her time at the Dragon Knights Academy to her first real battle as a knight. Sorrow and death, disappointment and disgrace…all par for the course for Nihal.

Poor Nihal.

What I like about this book was that it was a quick read and that it flowed beautifully. Most translations are hard to read as sometimes they do not flow like they would in their native languages. The world was interesting and much thought was given into it. There is no wasted character, nothing misplaced or askew. Though I loved Nihal and the world, I just couldn’t connect on a deeper level. I was routing for her, hoping for the best, but it felt from a distance. Almost like watching something sports related on the ol’ television. You’re hoping that the best team wins, but in the end, you just want a good game to watch. That’s how this book was for me. I just simply enjoyed this book. There was nothing more to it. I wasn’t compelled to dig deeper for more meaning and understanding of Nihal or her world. For me, it was a fast light read after reading some pretty deep and intense books.

Would I suggest this book? Yeah. I would if someone is looking for something easy to read. Sure. But for me, it was just a little too short to be the epic fantasy that I was wanting. I don’t think my expectations weren’t met due to the English translation. It was very good, probably the best that I’ve read. But…for me, something was just missing. I’m not sure if it was due to the tale being so short, or if I was just something subtle and indistinguishable in the story itself. It just felt a little lacking.

However, don’t let this deter you from trying out this tale of a girl who turns herself into a machine of war in hopes of avenging her people and only learns that to be in war, one most know how to live to be sure what they are fighting for. Or, at least, that appears to be the message in the book.

Remember to always be yourself, unless you can be a pirate.
Then ALWAYS be a pirate!