Number 1. Super cute love interest dude who has hobbies which are not traditionally masculine – sewing, cooking, taking care of tiny baby animals – and yet is also a huge-ass tiger. I literally cannot tell you anything else about this dude without spoilers. Even this might be a spoiler. But just trust me, he’s great.
Number 2. ALL THE EMOTIONS, but Hana’s especially. Complex family relationships is something that Zoe Marriott consistently excels at, and this book does not buck that trend.She is also one of the few YA authors I could name who avoids getting rid of the parents at the earliest possible opportunity, which I love.
Number 3. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING. Do I even need to say more? You know how you loved Beauty and the Beast as a kid because bookish heroines for the win, but growing up you started to feel kinda icky about all the emotional manipulation and imprisonment that the Beast got away with? FEEL ICKY NO LONGER. Zoe Marriott has gone into this retelling with a determination to do better, and she has succeeded. Also, you know how in The Hunchback of Notre Dame when Clopin is all like “What makes a monster and what makes a MAAAAAAAN?” There’s kinda the same twist in this with how beauty is seen too. Again, can’t say any more, backing away with fingers on lips, SPOILERS!
Number 4. GORGEOUS setting. Barefoot on the Wind is set on the forested side of Mount Moonview that looms over the capital city of the Moonlit Lands, as seen from afar in another of Zoe’s books, Shadows on the Moon. From the outset, Hana’s surroundings are richly described, and the reader plunges immediately into the voices of the trees, the fear of the villagers and the ominous shadow of their curse. This is something else I look forward to with Zoe Marriott’s books – the description and settings are always so detailed, and threaded skilfully throughout the narrative.
Number 5. The villain. Again, spoilers abound here, but you know the random fairy/witch/enchantress who curses the Beast in the original? SO much better in this! No longer random, no longer a plot device, be still my heart for this villain.
Barefoot on the Wind
Released: 1st September 2016