Windkeeper Review
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Conar McGregor is heir to the throne and will one day be king. Right now, though, heís more interested in having fun and chasing servant girls. Not much older than seventeen, heís not concerned with propriety and what his duties for the kingdom entailóthough he does realize that heís duty-bound, and he wonít be able to back down from it, even if he wants something different. The only thing he fears is the demented priest, Kaileel Tohre, who enslaved him as a child, subjecting him to horrible beatings when he disobeyed. Then Conar meets Liza, a mysterious girl who fascinates him to the point that he fears heíll lose her.

Liza is a free spirit, allowed by her parents to roam at will and trained to fight like a man. She possesses magical abilities and is determined to protect Conar from a dark force thatís threatening to engulf him and change his future. Liza didnít count on the future king falling so hopelessly in love with herófor they can never be together because of promises made long ago.

Windkeeper is a well-written and compelling dark fantasy, but the characters are sometimes hard to likeóConar McGregor most of all. I just couldnít warm up to him. Heís immature and self-centered, and heís a complete jerk most of the time. His love for Liza is an unhealthy obsession. She couldnít even go behind some bushes for privacy without Conar freaking out because he couldnít see her. His age excuses some of his behavior, but not all of it. Heís stalker material in the making.

I also disliked the other charactersí attitudes toward Princess Anya, Conarís betrothed. After all, itís not her fault that she was betrothed to Conar before she was even born. Theyíre also particularly mean about her looks and the slight deformity of one of her feet. Given the age of some of the characters, a little of this behavior would have been okay, but Ms. Boyett-Compo goes overboard with it and draws it out longer than necessary.

I did, however, like Liza. She plays a strong female roleópossessing skills that arenít prized by other woman and that are a source of disgruntlement for men. Plus, it gave me a little bit of malicious pleasure whenever she put Conar in his place.

The storyís ending is also too predictable. I figured out what was going on and what would happen long before I reached the last pageóbut I did appreciate the storyís wicked and clever twist.

Even though Charlotte Boyett-Compoís hero leaves much to be desired, she has a gift for writing spellbinding stories that you canít wait to get back to. Throughout the story, you get a little bit of magic and a lot of adventure and romance, combined with a smidgen of spookiness. And though I found many of her characters frustrating, Iím still interested in reading another one of her novels.

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