Into The Desert Wilds by Jim Galford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Freedom has its own confines, but you need to find them within yourself.
Estin and his family have survived the war in Altis, having been transported by the mists more than a thousand miles to the desert surrounding Corraith. Just when they thought they could start their lives over, disaster once again strikes the wildling family.
Continuing where In Wilder Lands ended, readers are treated not only to the returned narration of Estin, but also the fresh voice of Oria. Trying to find her place in this world where there is no pack and thus no need for a leader of one, Oria struggles to give meaning in her life.
The desert is a stark contrast to the wildling’s lush homeland, and as they struggle to adapt, they meet a variety of people and wildlings that alter the path they would have traveled. Most notably is Phaesys, a fennec fox wildling that captures and captivates Oria. The relationship between the two young wildlings grows throughout the book and is just as complicated as Estin and Feanne’s relationship.
The fierce protective nature and the need to fight to prove yourself that readers saw in Feanne is passed on to Oria, helping to shape the adult she will become. Estin’s knack for finding trouble is also present, and Oria seems to have inherited that as well. As the wildlings prepare once again to fight the Turessian intent on seeing Estin and his family destroyed, it will take all of these skill and more to put a stop to him and save their new home.
Just as in the first novel, here is no lack of humor, love, or confrontation in this sequel. Or tears, at least at the end. Blended into the struggle to survive and adapt is a complex story with many themes: growing up, learning to love, thinking for yourself instead of blindly doing what you’re told is right, and fighting for your beliefs, freedom, and most importantly, your family.
Galford’s has done it again, creating a beautiful, magical land different from Altis yet still filled with so many vivid details and complex personalities that the reader can’t help but follow in the character’s dusty footprints. Anyone looking for an epic fantasy should not pass this book by.
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