“There is a monster in the forest, whispered the trees.
‘I know, Sister.’ I patted the vast trunk of an ancient cedar with one sun-browned hand as I passed. ‘I know.’
The tree shuddered a little. I turned away to crouch by the body of the serow I had just brought down. Its thrashing and struggling had already stopped. My fingers sank into theo soft, greyish fur as I turned it over and looked down into the animals swiftly clouding eyes.”
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…
Ok so I started reading Barefoot on the Wind in February. I’m not doing well on keeping up with my YA books this year. However, a couple of long train journeys lately have helped me along the way and I finally managed to finish this awesome book!
A beauty and the Beast retelling by one of my favourite authors was always going to go down well in my eyes. I adore Beauty and the Beast and I adore Zoe’s writing. The worlds she creates are amazing and her characters are all fantastic to meet. Barefoot on the Wind was no exception to what I’ve come to expect from Zoe, Everything I love was right there on paper from the first page… especially the characters I loved.
Itsuki and Hana-san were incredible characters. Their relationship oozed chemistry and every page had be begging for them to get closer. It wasn’t built on looks either, despite Itsuki’s beauty. No, it was built purely on trust and awe for one another, and it was mazing to see their relationship build and come to life. The magic and mystery in the book captivated me just as much as my previous encounters with Zoe’s writing and if you love the mystical then this one is definitely for you. Zoe’s fantasy worlds are amazing and you will love them if YA fantasy is your kinda thing.
The ‘ice world’ in this book made me feel freezing and the maze made me scared. I felt the forest under my feet and the trees in my hands as Hana walked through. Itsuki’s fires kept me toasty and warm too, and all that is the beauty of incredible writing. If an author can make you feel the temperatures and settings they are describing you know that its gunna be a great read!
With how busy I have been lately it was a good thing Barefoot on the Wild was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It meant that the story was familiar so I didn’t loose connection too much when I hadn’t picked it up for 6 weeks. However the setting and the characters are definitely the authors own. It’s also a lot more grown up than you might think of Beauty and the Beast being if you are too familiar with the Disney version. The ‘Ice Queen’ (AKA Yuki-Onna) was really quite scary in places… especially when you meet her servants. Don’t read chapters 16 to 18 before bed unless you’re a fan of not sleeping!
Overall I’m really glad that this book has made it to my minuscule list of YA read this year. Hopefully that list will grow as the year goes on but it has been a great addition nonetheless!
Barefoot on the Wind was published by Walker Books in September 2016. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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