Thebloggart's Reviews > The Windflower

The Windflower by Laura London
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U 50x66
's review
Oct 12, 11

it was ok
Read in August, 2011

So I realize that this novel is immensely popular, and that it stands out among other earlier Romantic works (as the Smart Bitches say- Old Skool). But perhaps all this praise served me poorly, because I went in looking for something instead of just simply immersing myself within the text. I had no problems with the poetic language of the novel, nor the story itself. The problem for me solely resided in the characters. When the supporting characters surpass your hero and heroine in terms of complexity (hello Cat), you've got yourself a problem.

One earlier review described Merry as a "marshmallow," which is incredibly apt. But whether this is a positive or negative trait solely depends on the reader. For me, Merry was a trifling sweetness, not terribly complex or rich, and in many ways was a lump. Her actions, escaping the ship etc, though proactive, had a weird role in the novel where her escape was depicted as more of a burden and product of general lumpiness. And when I say lumpiness I mean that, like a marshmallow, action was done to Merry, but nothing of real, harrowing consequence was done by Merry.

But there's also weirdness and oddity in Devon's portrayal. Everything about him is abstracted, even his name. His presence in the novel is that of a looming shadow (see Beyond Heaving Bosoms for elaboration of the theory of The Hero as the Shadow-Self of the Heroine). Though I understand that this is normal of the genre, it gives Merry most of the work to do in the novel, which is unfortunate because she's a bit boring. Reactions don't equal personality.

And finally, we have the side characters. Cat and Raven were by far my favorite characters in the novel, and the fact that both of them (especially Cat) seemed to truly care for Merry made her relationship with Devon all the more frustrating. I'm not saying that because Devon was too preoccupied with stifling his raging lust for Merry to spend time with her and therefore is rendered a poor choice for her- I am suggesting that more, truly heartfelt emotional moments are between Cat and Merry, and to see them together would be, by far, more satisfying. It feels like the union between Devon and Merry is a foregone conclusion- he gets her because he is the Hero, he is the Hero because...well..the plot says so.

This was the second Romance novel I've ever read, so my review really comes from my experience as an English Major with a Feminist slant. I'm still interested in the genre, I plan to read more current Romance novels to see the progress of both the hero and the heroine from abstracted roles.
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