A Wind in the Night; Barb Hendee, J.C. Hendee, 2014; Roc, NY.
Here we go with #12 in the Noble Dead Saga, in which our heroine’s Wynn Hygeorht and Magerie (with an M) are once again leading their merry, or not so merry, band of heroes across the globe in search of yes, more globes – ‘spirit’ and ‘air’.
Though Hendee and Hendee tried to split the story-line between the two protagonists, the real action went to team Wynn, not Magerie – or at least not until the end, where . . .
Can’t say as that would be giving away the story. Suffice it to say, as with any good series, the authors left us hanging and the only way to get our fix of Noble Dead, is to read the next, and last book.
As far as character and story goes, I’m thinking, not for the first time, it’s time to put the story to rest. Why? Because the trouble with all good stories is keeping the arch of character growth alive and well.
What do I mean by that? Like real people, a writer’s protagonist, even their antagonist, need to continually evolve, for good or bad, and if they don’t, the story goes flat. If the series is only three or four books long, it doesn’t usually become a problem. It’s after that point (and the point differs for every series) that it becomes, in my not so humble opinion, harder to keep the arc of evolution alive and well. In the case of the Noble Dead Saga, Hendee & Hendee, who have put their two heroines on opposing developmental arcs, are starting to lose the strength of that arc. In Wynn’s case, hers is an upward climb into independence and maturity, in Mageries’, a downward spiral into monsterhood.
Up until ‘A Dog In the Dark’, these changes were evident and helped propel the story forward.
Now? Not so much.
Not long ago, Charlaine Harris got a lot of flack for ending the Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Series. But as an author and business woman, she did the right thing. Sookie was beginning to run out of character arc. So rather than wait for her heroine to become tedious and boring, Harris forced her into making the choice that would allow her to exit the story gracefully. An assumed disappointment to readers, a smart move for the author. As far as I’m concerned, it’s better to leave em wanting more, than bored and wishing it would just end.
Does this criticism of Hendee & Hendee’s choice to drag this particular story out longer than I think it should have been mean I don’t care for their writing or that I won’t read anything else?
Not even. Loyalty trumps short-term disappointment every time. A couple of books, out of more than two dozen, won’t sink my Loyal Reader Ship. I love Barb’s ‘Memory Series’ as well as their team ‘Hendee’ ‘Mist-Born’ Witch one. Not to mention that they’ve produced some short stories that I’m looking forward to reading. And despite my bitching over when I think something should end, the Noble Dead Saga is still a great story and one which will always have an honored place on my bookshelves.
On my reader scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving ‘A Wind in the Night’ 3.5 for over all good story.