I received this book for free from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Barefoot on the Wind by Zoë Marriott
Published by Walker Books Limited on September 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Walker Books
A companion title to Zoë Marriott's critically acclaimed Shadows on the Moon, BAREFOOT ON THE WIND is a darkly magical retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" set in fairytale Japan.
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...
Review: As soon as I heard about Barefoot on the Wind, I was intrigued. Beauty and the Beast was probably my favourite disney film as a very young child. Seriously, my love of this knew no bounds; I’m talking clothing, seeing the musical in London, singing all the songs, seeing it on ice… No bounds, I tell you, no bounds. As I grew older it became clear there were some parts of the story that were a little less magical. Zoe Marriott explained it really well at the recent Walker Blogger event when she said -and I’m paraphrasing here – it didn’t seem right that the Beast got rewarded for making very little change or compromise while Belle seemed to be the one making those compromises and changes.
Barefoot on the Wind has been billed as a feminist Beauty and the Beast and is set in the Moonlit Lands world Zoe Marriott used for Shadow on the Moon. I hadn’t read Shadow on the Moon but it stands on its own perfectly -in fact, this was my first Zoe Marriott book. I was sold on feminist Beauty and the Beast though, as the above paragraph demonstrates and this delivers while still having its own story and unique style.
Barefoot on the Wind is gorgeously written and I really liked Marriott’s writing style. The prose is dreamy with just the right amount of creepy where appropriate and really draws the reader in. Marriott immerses you in another world and the detail really works here without making you feel like you’re been inundated with information or the author is trying to show off their knowledge. At points, the plot went to places I didn’t quite expect but as the book developed I wasn’t lost or pulled away by this.
Hana is a great narrator and felt real; I couldn’t help but be drawn into her life and root for her. She is strong and brave and intelligent and this not only helps her but the ‘Beast’. While this was a different imagining of Beauty and the Beast it worked. You could see the roots of inspiration but it stood on its own as it own story. I thought the way the plot developed was interesting.
If you are already a fan of Zoe Marriott, you will most likely love this book but the great thing is even you, like me, hadn’t read Marriott’s previous work you can dive right into this one and it’s great!