Winds of Fate
Back in the heady days of 2016, when some of us thought there might be a chance of electing a woman as president of the US (and yes, it matters that it is the president of the US and not some other country; lovely as it is that countries like Iceland have had female presidents, they’re not empires, are they? What we need to see are presidents of empires, and running down women who run for those kinds of positions of power as not being trailblazers is just another way of kowtowing to the patriarchy, even as you pat yourself on the back with both hands for your enlightened, fourth-wave feminism), a friend and I got into a discussion of what it had meant to us to see women in positions of power, even if we didn’t like or agree with them. My friend said it was extremely meaningful to her to discover Ayn Rand and realize that a woman could be a philosopher, even though she now disagrees with just about every position Ayn Rand has ever espoused. I reminisced about seeing Margaret Thatcher’s picture on the cover of TIME magazine and realizing that a WOMAN was PRIME MINISTER of BRITAIN (see: empires are important). It didn’t matter that I later realized I didn’t really agree with Thatcher about many things. What mattered was that she was there (and seriously, would a man have been better? Probably if Thatcher hadn’t been there, the Tories would still have gained power, wouldn’t they, and maybe a man would have been even more heartless. But no one thinks of that, do they? No, we have to demonize the woman, as usual).
Which is a long-winded introduction to one of the reasons why the Mage Winds books occupy such a special place in my heart. They were the first books I read that were written by a woman, about a woman who was destined to rule, whose mother was also a ruler. And there were lots of other powerful and important women as well, including the Valdemaran weaponsmaster and various mages, goddesses, and so on. Not only that, but everyone took it as a given! Of course women were powerful and respected! That’s just how Valdemar and the surrounding countries were!
So the rest doesn’t really matter, to be honest. “Winds of Fate” could be the worst book in the world and it would still be important. Luckily, it’s not the worst book in the world. In fact, it’s downright delicious, in a way that’s guaranteed to appeal to adolescent girls everywhere. There’s magic, forbidden romance, and talking animals. Princess Elspeth rides around on a beautiful talking horse who is her best friend.
Allow that to sink in for a moment. THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT A PRINCESS WHO HAS A MAGICAL TALKING HORSE AS HER BEST FRIEND. That’s the kind of wish-fulfillment that entertainment aimed at male readers contains as a matter of course (*cough* every superhero story ever *cough*), but that female readers are strenuously denied. Instead we have to gush over what a wonderful piece of writing Lolita is, or some masochistic, self-hating, support-our-oppressors nonsense like that. Heaven forbid that we should want love (“Twilight”), sexual satisfaction (“50 Shades”), superpowers (e.g., the latest Star War movies, which have drawn fire for creating a Mary Sue character), or anything that’s about girls doing girly things and being rewarded for it.
Well, forget that. Yes, “Winds of Fate” is kind of cheesy, kind of adolescent, kind of genre-y fantasy. Whatever. Every teenage girl should have a copy under her Christmas tree. And maybe every teenage boy too. In fact, let’s all just sit down and enjoy this delightful fantasy concoction this holiday season. It will provide a welcome distraction from all the bad news, and–who knows–might even strengthen our minds for the battle to come. After all, it wasn’t all communing with her talking horse for Elspeth: she had to defeat an evil sorcerer as well. We could all use a little of her spunk.
Buy link: Amazon
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