Many thanks to the author, Elizabeth Holland, for providing a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“He was familiar—a friend I thought I had lost—but he was also foreign. I felt a strange urge to walk toward him, that there was nowhere else I should be, and that fighting it would cause me pain.”
Irene Yarwood spends her days busily keeping up with her mother’s bookstore. It’s been hard since her mother passed away, but the fantastic myths and wild fairy tales brimming from the shelves offer her peace. And with her best friend’s brother returning from his summer in Europe, Irene needs all the peace she can get.
Without understanding his sudden departure in the spring, Irene welcomes Cole back into her life with hesitation—she can sense that he is different. It doesn’t take long for Irene to piece together what is happening. Girls becoming strangely ill, dead bodies that turn to dust, and visions of places never before seen—Irene discovers that Cole is a faerie. He has magical powers that can entrance her, making her do as he wishes. But he isn’t the only one in town. Others begin to surface, and soon Irene discovers a most threatening creature capable of wielding swords of ice.
With her brother acting as protector and her sister keeping her grounded, Irene has her hands full. She barely has time to realize that her nineteenth birthday has arrived—a day she’ll never forget. A marking on her back takes hold and claims her as the Lady of Frostmoor, cementing her place in a world of myth. It’s a world she can’t believe is real, until she sees it for herself.
Will Irene chose the life she was fated to live, far away in a castle of beasts? Or will she stand with her natural enemies and solidify a union that could crumble her legion?(via Amazon )
To be honest, stepping into this genre was something I never previously considered. Entertaining the idea of mythical worlds didn’t seem practical to me, and I considered myself too far into my 20s to find New Adult genre interesting. I’m so glad to say I was wrong! Whirlwind brought me back to the genre of books I enjoyed as a young adult, albeit in a brand new way. Very engaging and with beautiful magical world building, this book has opened my mind to enjoying the genre of fiction and magic once again.
Starting with some things I loved about the book – the story’s pace was fast, the details regarding the magic fascinating and unexpected, and the characters engaging. As mentioned in the description above, the story centers around Irene and her experience coming of age, during which she discovers her powers and learns of the hidden magic around her. Irene is a character that’s easy to connect with, and the writing style leads readers to feel in tune with her thoughts and feelings. This reader sympathy makes the story that much more engaging, and the pages really fly by! Irene also struggles with many problems during her journey that can easily be abstracted into the real world. From dealing with a close friendship that suddenly grew cold to learning who to trust and building strong relationships with others she must rely on, there are many components of the story that will resonate with young readers.
A couple small things that I didn’t enjoy as much in the story were centered around small moments with Irene and the character development. On the rare occasion, Irene’s behavior/thoughts felt a tad whiny to me. Perhaps I just hoped for her to be stronger on her own. However, considering this novel is New Adult one could argue her behavior was channeling more realistic new-adult struggles and understandable anxiety in the midst of key events in the story. In that regard it’s difficult to knock Irene here. As for the character development, I noticed through the story an apparent focus on the male-female dynamic (in particular with Irene + Tristan and Cole). There was a lot of tension across the board here which was exciting and added interest to the plot, but I did wish there was slightly more focus on some of the other important friendships to match. Other readers who enjoy romantic subplots may be quite fine with the writing here, though!
Overall I felt Whirlwind was a great story, with especially interesting magical lore. Descriptions of the various creatures and powers felt unique from what I’ve read before. I’d recommend this book to all late teen / early adult readers who enjoy magic, or slightly older adults looking for YA-magic-themed-nostalgia 😉
In Elle’s words…
“I’ve always loved to write. I discovered poetry and music at a young age, and was always eager to write something of my own. From there, as I got older, I found a passion for films and television that I couldn’t seem to satiate. This led me to write my first major story, a script that I held on to for years.
Like most writers, however, I learned that writing something is only the first step. I tried hard to get my work into the hands of an agent or a publisher, but after a while, I just stepped away and focused on my growing family.
My prince charming and I got married and together we have a loving partnership that makes us both stronger every day. With our kids, our lives have always been pretty busy, but I still tried to write whenever I could.
My debut novel, Whirlwind, was in the works for years before I actually published it. And even then, it was originally a novella with quite a different ending! I wrote the whole story out in a notebook that I still have.
After the start of Wings of My Legion, I found myself truly happy about writing as a career. But, as so many other writers have discovered, it isn’t easy to land on an agent’s desk for review. So, this time around, I took my books to Amazon and became an independent author.
All of my stories are heavily influenced by the myths and fairy tales I’ve long adored. And of course, by nature! My attention to detail has certainly paid off. When you read something I’ve written, you’ll be swept away to a world you’ve never quite been able to grasp. These fantastical realms that I bring to life will give you the escape you so desire, the break from normalcy we all desperately need in our hectic lives! And in the case of a classic romance, like my Duality Novellas, you’ll find a passion that will satisfy your cravings!”
More of Elle’s work can be found on her site at https://authorelizabethholland.com/books/