Valusek, Valerie A. (interior)
|User Summary:||Your stepfather doesn't understand what a free spirit you are, and when he tries to sell your beloved horse for dowry money, you run away from home to make your own destiny.|
I'll say this about Lady of the Winds: at least the reader's first choice isn't if they want to stay home and hope for the best, and on the whole I found it easier to stick with the story than other books in the HeartQuest series. However, that doesn't mean this is a great book. I blame part of my ability to stay with the book partly on a slightly more interesting plot than average, but partly on the romance aspect feeling downplayed from the rest of the series. While there are new feelings to explore, the book's emphasis is squarely on stopping the tyrant. Also, a lot of "choices" aren't really choices at all. Most just ask, "Would you get help or would you have enough confidence to handle the problem yourself?" Encouraging young readers to be brave is great, but used to the degree that it is here makes the interactivity feel limp. All that said, the writing is passable and I felt that the heroine gets more of a chance than the others in this series do to be capable and not have to rely on her love interest to survive the perils of being the hero of a D&D adventure. It's no Moon Dragon Summer, but I wouldn't feel bad recommending this to someone curious about the series. 6/10
After years, I was finally able to read the last HeartQuest book, and it was worth the wait. Written by Kate Novak, who would later write a number of Forgotten Realms books, this is the book where the elements of the series all come together satisfactorily. The adventure, the challenging choices, and romance are all a solid blend.
From a rather humble beginning, in which you play Ivee, a rebellious girl with a special horse, Dowell, that your step-father wants to sell off, the book took several turns that I didn't foresee, making it at least appear very open-ended. To go further, would be to spoil it.
I found the choices reasonably challenging, with none of the simple courage checks of previous books. The correct choices weren't so obvious, to me at least. And the writing is on a higher level, with several interesting characters. It is quite dialogue driven, which helps. And it avoids some of the silly scenarios from book 5, Moon Dragon Summer. The artwork, like book 5, is by Valerie Valusek, and is top notch, portraying the characters dressed in renassaince-style clothing, which fits the romance angle better.
But the best part, in my opinion, is the romance angle. As you are not attempting to save a family member, the romance seems more plausable, and as Ivee is 17 years old, more realistic. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD: For the first time in the series, you get two interesting, yet different romantic interests. Both have their strengths and flaws and neither feels like a clearly right or wrong choice, allowing the young reader to choose based on personal taste. This is something I wish more books in the series had tried (Book 1 had two similar love interests, only differentiated by age, and book 4 had a clear "wrong" choice.)
In my opinion, this is the strongest book in the series as it delivers on plot, characterization, challenge, and romance.
Dull and deficient, the "HeartQuest" series missed out again with "Lady of the Winds" and its self-questioning repetitivity. Sparingly conceived, romantically flat, narratively uninteresting except for its willingness to partially forsake the romance component, and with uncompelling characters (and a lot of tears from the protagonist), the lack of immersiveness, enjoyability or measurable interactivity weigh this book down into oblivion. Not recommended. ^^
(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Fireguard for the plot summary.|
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Cyber Reviews - HeartQuest, The [Dead Link]
This page offers lengthy information and reviews relating to the HeartQuest series.
https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://cyberreviews.skwc.com/cr_heartquest_gamebooks.html (last verified: 2017-12-07)