Saturday, May 24, 2014

ARC Book Review: Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi

Nihal of the Land of the Wind (Chronicles of the Overworld #1)

Licia Troisi

ARC Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way by the publishers to review this book favourably. The review is my own honest opinion (Whether or not it is agreed with).

English Ver. Publication Date: May 27th 2014

English Ver. Publisher: Mondadori

Pages: 230

Genre: Fantasy, Middle-Grade?

An international bestseller from an extraordinary storyteller—get ready for Nihal and her world

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.
Thanks to Netgalley and Open Road Intergrated Media for allowing me to read this.

Nihal of the Land of the Wind was originally written in Italian and published and Italy (as Nihal della terra del vento). This makes for a very interesting problem while reviewing, especially when it comes to critiques since it's not just the original author's writing, but also how well the translator was able to mimic the style of the author in another language. Sometimes the prose ends up becoming stilted and unnatural in the new language and it's no fault of the original story.

On the other hand, the style of writing may be different in the original country as well, it might just not translate well at all and there's nothing anyone can do about that.

I thought, when I started this book, that that was the main issue I was facing. The prose was indeed stilted and dialogue often felt unnatural, but I soon realized that I had many issues with the actual story itself.

Now, before I say anything else, I did finish this book. I almost shut it many times, but I felt obligated to finish it and give my review.

My main problems all revolve around the main character, Nihal. Pretty much for the entire book Nihal acted like a spoiled seven year old. Of course it didn't feel like the other characters handled her very well either (seriously that first fight with Senner? That was totally unfair to her, he used magic in a fight and everyone knew that was implicitedly not the point, but everyone told her it was her own fault, including her father, what?).

The biggest example of this is the... romance? of the story. Basically she decides at a young age that she's in love with the love of her aunt's life and after discovering that he and her aunt are in love, decides to WAIT FOR HIM TO FALL OUT OF LOVE WITH THE AUNT WHO HAS TAKEN CARE OF HER SO HE CAN FALL IN LOVE WITH NIHAL INSTEAD. Seriously? Who acts like that?

Her behavior becomes more and more abhorrent as the book continues. I have never had such a hard time trying to connect with a character as I did with Nihal. By the second half of the book, she was being utterly cruel to everyone who took an interest in her.

On top of her attitude is the fact that she is written as a "God-Character". I guess I could say she's a Mary Sue instead, but her traits aren't quite "Mary-Sue" enough in my opinion and instead she fits into that mold for role play characters where the character can do absolutely anything and always wins.

Somehow Nihal is the strongest fighter ever, despite not having any official training for the longest time and then when she does it's like once a month for a couple of years. She defeats ten warriors in a row who have all had serious weapons training. She's oh so talented and can overcome anything that's her way.

There is also an issue with the writing being contradictory with itself. Within one page Fen is described as being very predictable with his moves and then it goes on to say how enjoyable the fight was because Fen was unpredictable. Another time Nihal wakes up sees it's raining and the day is ruined and terrible, then a few pages later Nihal is looking at the rain outside and waxing about how much she loves it because it cleans the world.

Okay. I do have some praise now.

I really like the world that has been created here for the most part. I like the idea of the Tyrant and the different kingdoms, and I like their names. I like that there is an Overworld and an Underworld, I want to learn more about this.

I also enjoy Senner. Except for a bit in the very beginning where he pretty much makes a fool out of Nihal for selfish reasons, I liked him as a character and as a point of view. If the writing improves I'd be able to keep reading the series if he was the main character instead of Nihal.

I.. can't say that do recommend this book to many people. I understand that it was pretty popular in Italy? Maybe it's much better written in the Italian version. Maybe for younger crowds who haven't read hundreds of Young Adult books like I have won't notice the faults that I did? The problem is that as it is now I wouldn't have even made it past the first few chapters reading it for free on fictionpress or some other online site. 



Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm from Italy. The book in the Italian version is lousy as well. Ill-written, bad descriptions, no documentation on what she is writing (a longbow requiring no strenght? come on!), a lot of telling and almost no showing.

The fact that this book is very popular in Italy is simpler: Italians are uneducated readers. They read very little and can't tell shit from chocolate.

Sam said...

So it's not the translation then XD Thank you for the clarification. It's popularity just ends up being kinda depressing in a way when you think of it then.

Also I had forgotten the part about the longbow, as I have done archery in the past that made me a bit angry. It requires SO MUCH muscle to draw back a long bow. :/

~Sam @ A Journey Through Pages

Anonymous said...

The fact is, if you are to write something, you have at least to TRY and get proper facts instead of guessing. If you want to talk about medieval warfare, libraries and bookstores and libraries are plentiful on the subject.

Licia Troisi doesn't get it.

I've been in sports fencing, HEMA fencing and historical fencing. For the same reason I can't read all the crap she writes on swordfighting. And on battles and strategies.

for instance, the fact that they assault a besieged castle that will capitulate in days instead of waiting their surrender.

Maarten said...

I think in dutch it is absolutely great, my favourite book for sure. I liked it more then eragon even

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