If you look at the Amazon listing for Wind Wielder: Elementals of Nordica: Book I (which I’ll refer to by the simplified Wind Wielder from here on out), author TC Marti describes the book as a cross between Avatar: The Last Airbender and 21st century military combat. I’ll be the first to admit that I am anything but a military buff, and I have little more than a passing knowledge of Avatar (and slightly more knowledge of The Legend of Korra, but—despite a character named Cora in Wind Wielder reminding me of Korra—that’s not Marti’s comparison). I do know enough about each to know that with such a comparison, I should expect plenty of action. And Wind Wielder truly delivers on that promise.
So well does Marti deliver on their promise of an action story that I felt like I was sitting in a cinema, watching an action-adventure movie with vivid imagery assaulting my eyeballs while the surround sound fills my eardrums. Action beats are a difficult thing to translate to the written page, and this is so often balanced less than optimally in books, with the author either providing too much detail about the happenings at the expense of the pace, or skimping on the details in aid of the pace. When writing this for a novel, the author not only needs to do the job of the screenwriter, but also the jobs of director and cinematographer. Or in the case of comic books, which I am both a fan of, and felt the DNA of throughout Wind Wielder, the author needs to sell the words without the aid of an artist.
At 285 pages in paperback, or an estimated 347 ‘pages’ on Kindle, Wind Wielder is not a short read, nor is it entirely lengthy. It did feel briefer than its length would suggest as I read it, which I finished in two sittings across a single day. I can only attribute this to the action, and how well it flows; there is nothing about the book that made the words speed by.
Action alone, however, does not make for a great book, no matter how well it is written and paced: these beats would soon become stale, resulting in a book that is, well… boring. Thankfully, this is not the case with Wind Wielder, which tells a story about ‘mutants,’ who wield elemental powers. These ‘mutants,’ who I will describe in the book’s more polite terminology of ‘Elementals,’ have been long outlawed by the world of Nordica’s governments. Why? Because they possess great powers which could effectively make them living weapons. Naturally, this is not every Elemental’s base instinct.
While Wind Wielder predominantly tells the story of a group of Elementals gathering others like them to fight for survival, it also includes some wry commentary on governments and the use (and abuse) of power. Marti doesn’t offer anything new in this space, and if you are looking for a commentary about how governments use their powers, this is not the book for you. Which is absolutely fine for the story being told, however, as Elementals of Nordica continues, it would be nice to see such themes expanded upon.
As this series continues, I am curious as to where Marti takes the series. I opened this review by commenting on their comparison to Avatar, however, the concept of superpowered mutants would be familiar to fans of movies and comic books through the X-Men franchise. The concept of superpowered individuals being banned by governments is one that would be familiar to film fans who saw Captain America: Civil War or comic fans who read the Civil War that inspired it.
However, while the core concepts included in Wind Wielder aren’t entirely original, Marti has built a great world in Nordica, infusing science fiction and fantasy elements, for a thoroughly enjoyable tale. The characters are fun, and their relationships are enjoyable. The story takes some highly entertaining turns along the way that not only serve the story, but assist in building the world. As the first part of a series, Wind Wielder is not a standalone story, but it does hold its own, instead of feeling incomplete.
While I did spend a great deal of time talking about the action, and how well this is handled, other elements of the book didn’t fare quite as well. Various sentences in the quieter moments of the book felt a bit clunky, and would have benefitted from another round of edits. This is not the norm for the book, though; there are a number of wonderful turns of phrase interspersed throughout it. And as much as I have talked up the action throughout Wind Wielder, my favourite passage (shared below) is centred around one of these turns of phrase.
I should also mention that I spotted a few typos in the book, but want to strenuate that these are fairly minimal. I have read a number of books from the major publishers that have far greater resources than any independent author, let more typos through to the final product.
If you are a fan of action and adventure stories with a strong science fantasy backing, I wholeheartedly recommend Wind Wielder. If you’re not a huge fan of these elements, there is still a fair amount for you to enjoy.
A boy with bendy black hair glowered when Sion and the others stepped onto the practice thrashball field on Saturday. “Can I help you with something?”Wind Wielder: Elementals of Nordica: Book I, Chapter Nine: “Mikko and Valkyrie”
Wind Wielder: Elementals of Nordica was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.
Wind Wielder is available in paperback and on Kindle, exclusive to Amazon).
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