The Grand Shuckett's Reviews > Windhaven

Windhaven by George R.R. Martin
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's review
Jan 21, 2014

liked it

As a fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I was eager to read something else by the marvelous George R. R. Martin. As captivating as that series is, I was sure that anything else he wrote would be just as amazing.

What I Liked:

The world that George R. R. Martin created in A Song of Ice and Fire is so phenomenal, complex, and wonderful that you wonder if he could ever have the capacity to do it again. Well, Windhaven proves his skill. The cultural background and history, the geographical description, and the round, dynamic characters truly bring the water world Windhaven to life.

There is only one point-of-view character. Yes, viewing a world and its issues from many points of view can be illuminating and create a depth unable to be attained otherwise, but there is a certain bond that you form with the main character, Maris, that would be lost if she were not the sole point-of-view character. You grow attached to Maris because you live through her life with her, experiencing her ups and downs as she does, waiting in suspense with her, and interacting with other characters through her.

Maris is a well-rounded character. It is easy to connect with Maris as the heroine of the novel because she is so realistic. She is brave, friendly, and has a strong moral compass, but she is also selfish and rash. As with all great characters, the novel really shows her grow and develop into someone admirable.

The concept of flyers is very inventive and interesting. Through the description of Maris’s flights and her viewings of other flyers, you really get a feeling for what it might be like to soar through the sky with only the wind to hold you aloft. It is easily one of the best things about the novel.

He doesn’t brutally kill off every character you love. Yes, there is death, quite a bit actually; however, this is because of the inherent danger of flying and the fact that the novel is the full course of Maris’s life. As Maris grows older, many of the characters to whom you have been introduced die, either through occupational hazard or just good old fashion life, but you don’t feel robbed or indignant.

The romance was very natural and realistic. It comes a bit late and is not overly lovey-dovey, but it is heartwarming.

It is a completely accurate portrayal of human nature in terms of discrimination.

What I Didn’t Like:

It isn’t what I would call action packed. If you’re looking for the thrills and chills of A Song of Ice and Fire, then you need to look elsewhere. I was expecting major plot twists and triumphant victories, but what I got, while entertaining and well-developed, was tame in comparison.

It was anti-climactic. This is probably due in large part to the epilogue, which I won’t spoil by explaining. This is a really big deal in terms of literature because it does not grant the catharsis that readers need to feel at the end of a novel. I was left feeling bereft of something that I still cannot explain.


Windhaven is a good novel. The characters are believable. The setting is beautiful. It is not fast-paced but is still worth the read. I appreciated it for its story and the quality of the writing, but the catharsis that I expected never really came.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 11, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 21, 2014 – Shelved

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