Juliet Wildfire Stone hears voices and sees visions, but she can’t make out what they mean. Her eccentric grandfather tells her stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but he might as well be speaking another language. None of it makes any sense.
When she stumbles upon a series of murders she can't help but worry her grandfather might be involved. To discover the truth, Juliet must choose between her new life at an elite private school and her Native American heritage. Once she uncovers an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep her safe, she starts to wonder whether there’s some truth to those old stories her grandfather has been telling her.
All she wants is to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but she has never been average—could never be average.
Betrayed by those she loves, she must decide whether to run or risk everything by fulfilling her destiny as the Chosen.
First of all, I would like to say how much I love the cover for Wind Catcher by Jeff and Erynn Altabef. It's bright and the colors are stunning. It's what got me interested in reviewing this story right off the bat. I'm a sucker for a pretty sunset and the twisting arrows in the center were an interesting (and integral) element.
Juliet seems stuck between two worlds. The Bartens world, where she doesn't feel she fits in. To them she's "Indian Trash" and won't ever be labeled as anything else. Not by the "popular" kids at least. And the world she left behind when she went to Bartens. The world with her friends, her not-boyfriend Troy, and her grandfather.
The gruesome torture and subsequent murder of one of her grandfather's friends sets a giant snowball rolling down hill and she's powerless to stop it. All she can seem to do is stand in front of it and wait for it to pick her up and take her with it. She finds out that she's part of an ancient... prophecy... if you will. She is "the Chosen" and the fate of the world, quite literally, is in her hands.
But no one wants to be honest with her. Her mother and grandfather have lied to her her whole life. And now Troy isn't being honest with her either. Teachers are keeping secrets. Friends of friends... everyone knows something that they don't want to tell her. It's driving her up the wall. All she wants is to understand what's going on.... and then leave it behind. She wants no part in it. She doesn't want to be "the Chosen". She wants to be normal.
She can't ever be "normal" again.
I love stories with Native American influence. I love the culture and the heritage. So I loved Juliet's grandfather. And the fact that he was a Medicine Man with stories upon stories that he wanted to tell her. It made me sad that she didn't want to hear them anymore. Because it meant that I didn't get to hear them either.
The story established the conflict pretty quickly. People dying. Horrible deaths. Juliet's grandfather seems to be involved somehow but no one can quite figure it out, and she won't ask him until she's pieced together enough of the puzzle to get a straight answer from him.
Ok. So we find things out the slow way. That's fine with me. I like the build up of a good mystery. I like the suspense. I also like plot twists and surprises. I like the idea of an ancient society sworn to protect the coming of the one who would save their world. I liked that the Chosen was Juliet. That the fate of human kind rested, not on a man or an arrogant boy... but a girl who, on the outside, appeared to be just like every other 16 year old girl in creation. Struggling to find her place and figure out who she is in the grand scheme of things.
I liked her grandfather, Jake... or... Sicheii as she refers to him. I liked that he held on to the traditions of his culture. And that he attempted, however fruitless his attempts were, to continue to pass those traditions on to Juliet. He loved her dearly, and gave everything he had for her.
Troy seemed to be her rock. The strong pillar in her crumbling world. The one who would always be there for her, even in spite of all of her temper tantrums and the silent treatment. I loved that this story was not fixated on making him her target. Yes, she expressed feelings for him... but the book was NOT about her pining away for him. Or running after him. Or throwing herself at him. There was no insta-love, or love triangle or love rhombus... whatever you want to call it. He was her best friend and, as sometimes happens with best friends, he became a little something more than that. Even if not in an official capacity. And even if she thought he didn't feel the same way.
I got lost, however, during the detailing of Juliet's dreams. They seemed out of place with the rest of the story. Almost like a completely different story line developed half way through the book. The turn the book took toward the end kind of felt forced. In my opinion, it just didn't mesh with the rest of the story. It was interesting, don't get me wrong. And Juliet totally went from zero to badass in about 10 seconds flat... but her transformation happened so quickly I don't feel like I had enough of a chance to get excited about it before things ended.
Wind Catcher hooked me as a Native American YA Fantasy. It took a turn from that and veered more in to the Sci-Fi toward the end. Not that I don't like Sci-Fi... I just think that maybe that element should have been woven a little bit more in to the earlier story to better integrate the two ideas and keep the flow of the story more smooth.
With that being said, it is definitely an interesting story. And like I mentioned, I'm sure a LOT of people can identify with Juliet in the beginning. If you're looking for a new sci-fi/fantasy read I suggest this one. If you're looking for a good, suspenseful mystery I suggest this one. Just hold on to your seat and be prepared for some twists and turns you're not expecting!