BAREFOOT ON THE WIND
AUTHOR: ZOË MARRIOTT
SERIES: THE MOONLIT LANDS #2
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: FANTASY, RETELLING, YA
There is a monster in the forest…
Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself.
But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects…
Beauty and the Beast retelling! 🙂 🙂 🙂 And look at that stunning cover!
Barefoot on the Wind shifts the fairytale to the same magical ‘Ancient Japan’-esque world as Shadows on the Moon, but otherwise is quite a straightforward retelling of the story. Which is actually quite nice, as the other BatB retellings I remember reading recently have added a lot of new and more complicated elements (e.g. ACOTAR, Cruel Beauty). Although set in the same world as the companion novel, there’s no overlap between the two so you can read either first.
Plot – The plot moves quickly, and has some wonderful action sequences. Marriott’s writing is very visual, which paints beautiful descriptions of Hana’s small village, the woods in which Hana feels most at home, the less-homely Dark Woods and Yuki-Onna’s ice maze. It also made the action sequences really compelling, I could totally see this as a stunning movie adaption.
Character – Hana was a little bland at first, but she grew on me as the story progressed and she found her voice. I loved the undercurrent of not-belonging that set her apart for the villagers which blooms into outright conflict when she calls them out on their cowardice. It made for a nice reflection on doing the right thing to save others or to protect yourself. I really enjoyed the building relationship between Hana and Itsuki, although the romance angle at the end felt a little tacked on to match the fairytale. Their time together felt more about building trust between two strangers and coming to see the true humanity in each other, which was perfectly good in its own right.
Personally, I thought that this seemed written for the lower end of YA, whereas Shadows was a little older and darker. My favourite thing about Shadows was the unapologetic ruthlessness of the character for most of the story. In Barefoot on the Wind, Hana is a more typical YA heroine, nobly risking herself to help her father and then ‘the beast’ (in this story we actually get two for the price of one!). That being said, and although personally, I thought Shadows was the better book, this is still a lovely retelling, keeping the best parts of the fairytale and building something new.