Release Date ~ July 19, 2012
Dial Books ~ Penguin
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review
A stunningly written tale of an isolated girl and the shape-shifting boy who shows her what freedom could be--if only she has the courage to take it.
Controlled by her father and bound by desert, Frenenqer Paje’s life is tediously the same, until a small act of rebellion explodes her world and she meets a boy, but not just a boy--a Free person, a winged person, a shape-shifter. He has everything Frenenqer doesn’t. No family, no attachments, no rules. At night, he flies them to the far-flung places of their childhoods to retrace their pasts. But when the delicate balance of their friendship threatens to rupture into something more, Frenenqer must confront her isolation, her father, and her very sense of identity, breaking all the rules of her life to become free.
The description for this book is what initially drew me in; it sounded so different, and entirely unique in a setting I'm always interested in reading about - the desert. But I was surprised at how different this book ended up being- both from others I've read and it even varied from my expectations.
Many of the details are odd and rather strange, but if you can get past that you'll uncover a story that is touching in the way it deals with brokenness and broken people. And it has so much to do with self-discovery.
- A unique fantasy setting:
I LOVE desert settings; it was one of the reasons I was initially drawn to this book and knew it was one I had to give a shot. It wasto read about the Free people, and this strange oasis land with its own culture so different from the ones I'm familiar with. And it really played an important role in the story, as the setting was crucial to Freneqer's situation and her sense of isolation and feeling trapped.
- A beautiful story about broken people:
The description makes it sound like a love story- and to an extent it is about love, but not fully in the way you initially think of love. It's more about Frenequer's journey to discover what love really means - in a life filled with broken, bitter, cold people. This is what made the book so amazing, in my eyes. To show how much bravery it can take to act in love towards those who have hurt you, to be courageous yourself and learn what love means later on in life. Thisfined to the desert or to a fantasy book- it's one that exists in all of our lives in one way or another.
The problem was it wasn't until later on in the book, well into the second half of it, that I finally started to feel connected to the story. And the world, while unique and fascinating, simply didn't have enough answers or explanations for me to really grasp the story. I had so many questions regarding Free people, and barely any were answered.
And Frenequer's background and past itself was rather hidden- for a purpose, I think, but I had really hoped for a fuller explanation by the end which I found lacking. It's fairly glossed over and I found the ending to be rather rushed in terms of quick changes for a drastic turnaround.
There are definitely some issues - the story and characters are VERY odd at times, and it can be hard to relate to a world so different from our own and without much explanation to better understand it. But it was still an extremely beautiful yet dysfunctional story overall.