Winds of Eruna, Book One
by Kathy Hyatt Moore
Author's Tranquility Press

"Prophecy rarely means exactly what you think it means or is fulfilled in the way you think it ought to be."

As written in The Book of Winds, T’Airiat “exhaled a Great Wind. And the Great Wind gave birth to Eruna in the emptiness of space and time.” Now, many cycles after its creation, the wind still blows on Eruna. Tavat is Ema’Kame, or Leader of the Eight Clans of Eruna’s High Plateaus, a harsh and dangerous land. Its birdlike inhabitants live in the clusters of caves found in this part of Eruna. At only seven cycles, Tavat’s granddaughter, Ooloo, is already displaying gifts and intelligence beyond her years. Not only has Ooloo demonstrated the gifts of healing and protection, but she is also increasingly growing in the gift of seeing. Prophecy has long awaited the birth of a savior for the people. As Ooloo grows, prophecy is on the tongues of all the clans. Tavat, too, wonders: Could she be the Ans’Isna? Everything about the child leads him toward this conclusion. The young girl approaches her grandfather to tell him of her vision and to ask him to accompany her to the south on a dangerous journey to attend school. Though he would rather not undertake the journey, he knows there is no other choice as Ooloo is set upon her course. After accepting a volunteer from each clan, Tavat, Ooloo, and the volunteers begin the long journey.

The school to which Ooloo is headed educates every winglet of the Eight Realms. At eight turns, each begins a course of study at Cliffside School, which culminates in the Wind Trials, a competition to determine who will become Wind Dancers and study magic. As Ooloo heads toward her first year of education, Lynette and Joran are approaching the end of their school years. Though of the age to go through the Desideratum, a bonding ceremony between male and female soulmates, they have a problem. Lynette is the daughter of the High Matriarch of the Eight Realms, an evil woman who values power over family. Though Lynette feels her father would be sympathetic to the young soulmates, they must keep their relationship secret as her mother would certainly have them killed. When Lynette and Joran can no longer resist the Desideratum, they take advantage of a school break to elope, completing their bonding ceremony. Though they try to keep their marriage hidden until after the Wind Trials, unforeseen circumstances have them leaving before they are discovered. With a strange feeling of dread on the wind, travelers seem to be moving like chess pieces as this fantastic novel takes off in unexpected ways.

A true test of how well a fantasy novel works is in the worlds the author builds around its characters. Moore passes that test with flying colors. Winged inhabitants, earthbound grubs, unfortunate Unseens, and twisted, dark, malformed, evil creatures inhabit the Eight Realms. The author takes the time to not only paint the setting in vivid detail but to fully establish the nuances of characters and species. The dominant species of the Eight Realms is composed of beautiful, winged creatures. Called Wings, these creatures are at the top of the socio-economic structure of Eruna. Other strange and wonderful inhabitants and environments are introduced with an eye for detail that leaves a lasting impression. The commonalities between this fictional world and familiar governmental, philosophical, and social structures are apparent but not overt, which leaves the work feeling fresh. The writing remains tight throughout, even while introducing and holding together three important storylines, each with its own cast of unforgettable characters. The action is nicely paced, with plenty of perfectly placed backstories to fill in any questions. Fans of such works as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia will find much to like in this first book of a series. It is an entertaining and fun read that leaves one eagerly awaiting Moore’s next installment.

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