The story of Loic and Satha starts with an interesting premise and grouping of characters. McDonnell starts by introducing us to Loic and Satha her main characters as well as giving a small glimpse of the cultures they have been raised in through their families. In both these cultures, the Doreni and the Theseni there are ingrained beliefs that are considered “right”. At the same time as we are introduced to their cultural backgrounds and backstory of life events we also see that these two young people share a set of beliefs that while a part of their cultural climate is not what their families or cultures would approve of when taken out of the cultural contexts.
Their stories are influenced and enriched by the losses they have experienced. These losses are also something they are able to use to find commonality and support one another when in conflict with the cultures in which they were raised. They come from backgrounds which could almost be considered unblendable both by the cultures and most estimations of compatibility. The Doreni are a fierce warrior tribe. Loic’s father, of the Pagatsu clan, is first Commander in Chief of the King’s armies. The Theseni tribe came under Doreni rule long ago and wish to avoid conflict if possible. They will give in rather than engage in battle with others. The Doreni worship a distant yet good Creator but after conquering the Theseni they have also absorbed some of that culture’s ancestral spirit beliefs and multitheistic tendencies. The Theseni believe in a two-faced god an intermeshing of “The Good Maker” a positive creative force and “HaZatana” a destructive force who is blamed for the negatives in life. As these two entities are both considered manifestations of one god, they are both worshiped despite the evil inherent in HaZatana’s persona. Loic, of the Pagatsu Doreni, has chosen to follow his friend Krika in worshipping only the good Creator despite Krika’s death at the hands of his own family as a result. Satha, of the Kluna Theseni, chooses not to follow the ancestral spirit ceremonies that have become ritual to both tribes at important events. She does however still cling to the HaZatana manifestation of their god’s destructive nature.
Loic is raised in a climate of freedom and plenty where he is allowed many indulgences for “odd” behavior or beliefs. He is valued by those around him and protected from reality in many ways. Satha, though from a privileged family, is raised in working class style because the family lost their position when she was quite young. She is also taught that she does not “deserve” a mate and likely will never get one because of her family’s situation and the Theseni coloring which is considered undesirable. This story relates her journey to self-acceptance as she learns that others outside her family choose to love and protect her even when it costs them everything. Loic also has his own journey in this book of finding strength from his Creator and a personal relationship with this interpretation of the Angleni God of the Lost Book. His own trials and sufferings have caused him to question his abilities to make it in the harshness of life without the insulation of those who have protected him his entire life.
To learn more about these two intertwined stories of growth, grace and self discovery read Wind Follower.
On a more subjective note, there are some scenes where I felt the author provided what I would refer to as TMI (too much information) that was not relevant to the plot. These scenes may also be considered distasteful by some Christian fiction readers. I did not find that they detracted from reading the story and they were brief enough to not interrupt the flow of narrative. The book did read a bit slow though I do not think it was due to the unfamiliar language used quite liberally throughout the novel. Perhaps the biggest difficulty for me in reading this was the time crunch I created for myself which resulted in reading the bulk of the book on a 9 hour road trip home from Sacramento, CA and trying to read by flashlight once the sun went down. I found McDonnell’s writing overall to be of decent quality despite the elements which were not to my personal taste. As mentioned before the premise is interesting and the characters were appealing.
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