Bones to the Wind (A Forging of Age #1), by Tatiana Obey - A review by Esmay Rosalyne
ALL HUNTERS ARE HUNTED.
Rasia is determined to destroy her old man's record in the Forging, a trial each child must succeed to come of age. All Rasia needs to do is hunt down a gonda, hitch its tentacle ass to her windship, and haul it back home in record time. Easy. Or it would be if Rasia wasn't stuck on the same team as Nico-a know-it-all, spoiled, grubworm who never does anything Rasia tells her to do.
Nico doesn't care about Rasia's egotistical dreams of glory. This is her brother's last chance to pass the Forging or her father is going to banish him from the family. She needs to scour the desert to find whatever team the bones placed him on and help him kill a gonda before it kills him.
Too bad Nico and Rasia can't get along to steer a windship straight.
My Review (4.5 out of 5 )
Bones to the Wind is everything I didn't know I needed from a coming-of-age fantasy. It's fierce, brutal, unapologetic, and overall just extremely fun. All I knew before going in was that it had a desert setting, fierce female characters, a deadly competition, windships, and a queer-normative and sex-positive society. And I don’t know about you, but I was sold!
story follows our three messy and flawed protagonists, Rasia, Kai, and Nico, as
they are about to start their coming-of-age Forging trial. All they need to do
is go into the wild desert on a sandship and bring back the carcass of a deadly
gonda, which will earn them their name in society.
Rasia has her masterplan ready and is dead set on beating her father’s record time, but things go south when she ends up stuck on the same team as her nemesis, Nico.
All Nico wants is to find her sickly and weak brother, Kai, who failed his Forging trial once already and will be banished from his family and society if he doesn’t succeed this year. Needless to say, Rasia and Nico’s existing rivalry and opposing goals immediately cause them to butt heads, after which chaos quickly ensues. Can they set aside their differences or are they going to be each other’s demise?
Now, these characters behave exactly as you’d expect from young adults their age. They are brash, wild, arrogant, self-righteous, boastful, self-absorbed, and honestly just quite petty. Their flaws are on full display and they let their emotions drive their actions forward, which makes them a lot less likable than your typical fantasy protagonist. Did they frustrate me? Absolutely. But did I nevertheless fall head over heels in love with them? Hell to the fuck yes.
I loved that the whole Forging trial almost takes a backseat here and instead this story is driven forward by these characters’ individual journeys, which provide plenty of tension and drama to keep you on the edge of your seat. We get such an intimate look into these characters’ psyches and quickly learn that they all have their own inner demons to overcome. I really appreciate that we get to see these characters grow and mature throughout the story, yet they always stay true to who they are at their core. The character and relationship development throughout this story are simply outstanding and I adored exploring the complex dynamics between these characters. Also, the level of sass and snark is absolutely unmatched and the humour and banter just worked so well for me.
Another thing I really loved about this book is how diverse and sex-positive it is. There’s a huge focus on the exploration of gender and sexuality, which was handled with so much care and authenticity. I mean, throw a couple of easily aroused young adults into a high-stakes situation and it doesn’t take long for things to get steamy. But what I loved about the romances here is that they are so realistically and painfully messy. These characters might act as if they know what they are doing, but in reality, they are just experimenting and hesitantly stumbling in the dark. And when they mess up, they have to deal with the harsh consequences of their actions, which I found so refreshing and satisfying to see.
And as if this book wasn’t already compelling enough, the world-building added a whole new level of intrigue, nuance, depth, and immersion to the story. I was immediately enamoured by the concept of The Grankull, a desert community living inside the bones of a massive dragon. We quickly realise that this is a harsh world full of corruption, inequality, harsh laws, broken communities, and starving people. But it’s also a world full of magic, windships, dragons, and beautiful desert landscapes. The author completely transports you into this fascinating world with her evocative descriptions and authentic terminology. It took me a couple of chapters to find my footing, but once I did, this became one of the most immersive reading experiences I have had in a long while. I do think the magic was a bit too elusive and unexplained, but I could personally very easily forgive that, as I was just having so much fun.
So yeah, safe to say I absolutely adored this story. It’s not perfect, but it’s unapologetically fierce, fun, brutal, and wild, which just worked for me on every single level. This book has a satisfying ending, but it's truly only the first part of the story, so I am dying to get back to my flawed faves to see how their journeys continue. If you like the sound of coming-of-age fantasy with strong women, deadly competition, queer and sex-positive relationships, complex sibling bonds, windships, dragons, and mystical elemental magic, then Bones to the Wind is the book for you.
About the reviewer
Hi! I’m Esmay, a 20-year-old bookworm from the Netherlands. My main hobbies are reading books, talking about books, reviewing books, and watching videos of people talking about books. Fantasy is my favourite genre, but I will honestly read anything if the premise intrigues me. Also, over the past year, I’ve become a huge (SFF) indie/self-pub enthusiast and it’s been a wonderful experience to discover all the hidden gems. I’m forever exploring stranger worlds
My name is Tatiana Obey.
I am the author, the dreamer, the adventurer. I wander landscapes absent of bounds—limitless—unfettered. I am the mountains I climb, and the valleys I overcame. Every new face carves deeper depths, and no roads are ever the same. Not all who wander are lost, for cookie crumbs baked with love always lead home.
I am that four-hour drive between Dallas and Houston, and the slurpee heat of the summer sun. I am the jambalaya mix of unapologetic blackness. I am the big sister of magic and joy. My bones are blessings and curls are of grace.
I kick. I dance. I walk. I write.
I am the storyteller. Welcome. To my worlds.