Reviewed by: Dave
Originally posted at davemccombs.com/main.html, reposted with permission:
It starts like a geeky hormonal fantasy erotica might -- only, it isn't. The faux-cliché façade turns a clever and enjoyable twist into something with substance (as a writer, I could pick apart different aspects that fascinated me, such as the depiction of ideal female characters in Fantasy without immediately making the character's very existence tired and irritating). It was hard to suspend disbelief at first -- until the protagonist, Thomas, voiced my own feelings of disbelief and the story's fantastic titular character did what a fantastic character should, she twisted the illogical into something I can almost believe in: gradually, bit by bit, the fairy tale glamour entrained my imagination and sympathies; I became involved in the story; my mind played with the ideas and I read on, to see how Thomas reacts to a fairy tale become real.
I started catching elements of the story that made me think. Philosophical questions caught my attention -- especially the aspect of individuity and choice. There are also rules and reasons -- even if fantastical -- behind the magic, which I discovered along with Thomas as he continues to entertain the "what if?", he suspends his disbelief to see just how deep the magic goes.
Reviewed by: SinOan
I've been sitting here, trying to think of a way to put into words my opinion of this story. And boy is it hard.
To begin with, I decided just to glance over this story, and then click Back on my browser. From the get-go however, the smooth style and obvious talent that had gone into writing it made me read on. I think the thing that really pulled me in however, was the moment when someone knocked on the door, and said; “It’s the Christmas cookie fairy, who do you think?” which made me realise that something a bit magical was happening, and that peaked my interest.
So I read on to the end, and I certainly enjoyed this story. I have to admit that I'm a sucker for this particular story arc, for whilst I dislike romances in general, the kind involving someone not entirely human always pulls me in and keeps me interested (if only because I have such a low opinion of humanity in general).
The story made me feel a whole bunch of complicated things. On the one hand it was sweet, on the other it was funny, but at times it was a little creepy. The cynical part of me kept thinking that maybe something sinister was at work. I was reminded of the video game Silent Hill 2, in which the lead character meets a doppelganger of his dead wife called Maria, who has all of the ideal traits he looked for in a woman, and yet nevertheless managed to repulse him. That also involved her trying to prove to James (the lead character) that she was real. One scene in particular made me think of this story, where he asks her if she is Mary, to which she says "I can be ... if you want me to be." and later "I'm here for you James. See ... I'm real." Maria had in fact been created BY James, out of his desires and his guilt, which is partly why I found Wind a little unnerving. I kept expecting to reach the end of the story and find some eerie little twist that we the readers would see but Thomas would not.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and we got to see a happy ending after all. I love happy endings, but only if I come to care about the characters in the story, and in this case I did. Getting people to actually feel for and care about your fictional characters is a wonderful talent that I hope to develop myself.
The only thing I disliked really about this was how confrontational Thomas was at times. I am actually a lot like him, in that if I encounter something strange or unusual I immediately become suspicious and start looking for the hidden wires, but not to the point where it would reduce another person to tears. A quote I read recently said something like “Those with tact have less to retract.” And in any case, when it became evident that Windy wasn’t trying to rob or hurt him, that she was there to keep him company (which he needed) it was a little annoying to see him continue to be insensitive and overtly suspicious of her. Realistic, certainly, but I felt like I wanted to reach into the story and shake him and say “Stop upsetting her!”. Or am I just being too soft?
Anyway, I have rambled on long enough. Long story short (too late!) I really enjoyed reading this. It was a fabulous piece of writing and I can only hope to be remotely as good a writer myself someday.
Reviewed by: Jessie
Normally I'm not a fan of romance stories because they all seem to follow a cliched pattern, but I enjoyed this one a lot because it actually bothered to say something substantial about the nature of love.
It's true that people have to be different enough to keep each other interested. I (selfishly) love people who are similar to me the best, but then sometimes I'm struck with a realization that I love something about someone because they're NOT like me, and that's interesting. This story demonstrated the complex human nature behind that feeling. I loved that!
The progression was intriguing. My favorite part was that at first, when she talked about trying to become her own real person, she was worried that Thomas wouldn't like her anymore and he said that was a risk she'd just have to take; as she evolved, she became the one to say she might change and might not like *him* anymore. That point most strongly demonstrated her evolution to me.
It also made the end that much sweeter. :) I like that she had done things that upset him, but that it didn't end up mattering. That was realistic and yet positive -- my favorite kind of ending!
Happy endings, I might add, are not necessarily cookie-cutter!
I try to give one suggestion in reviews, so for this one, I'd say that you probably could cut out some of their discussions early on about his not believing her and her scientific nature, because we understood that early on. The dialogue was always fun, though.
Oh, one other thing: I love that you can so convincingly write from a voice that isn't your own. A lot of writers have trouble with that, but (as some other reviewers have said, and some who know the male mind better than me!) I really bought what Thomas was saying and thinking as authentic.
Nice job! I'll be reading more of your stories for sure.
Reviewed by: Amethyst
"Cookie cutter"--haha, that's good. Anyway...
I really enjoyed reading this story. The characters are, as in all your stories, both endearing and believable. The story didn't feel like it was too long at all, especially since the dialogue reads so quickly.
I thought the dialogue between Wind and Thomas as they were walking to the grocery store was great. It established Wind's character--sweet, innocent, sassy, confused, good-natured, but able to be pissed off. The line "otherworldly, but down-to-earth and human too" fits her perfectly. This scene aslo establishes Thomas' feelings about Wind--his suspicion, his partial belief (she is, after all, standing right there) mixed with the holding back that's a product of his logical mind. The "whirlpool of weirdness" image was very fitting.
I thought you also did a great job leading up to and describing Wind's transition from a fantasy character to a real person. I felt her inner conflict and Thomas' fear mixed with trust.
Oh, and I loved the lines "I just want you to believe that I have a heart without me having to rip open my chest to show it to you, you know? I want your trust. I want to know my heartbeat is enough for you to believe there’s a heart."
The end was very romantic and sweet. She'd had experience in the world, she knew who she was, and she decided she wanted to be with Thomas. Aw! It was perfect, I thought. Yes indeed, I enjoyed this story very much. Only now I want cookies...
Reviewed by: reeny
Wow, what an amazing, beautiful story! :)
My favourite quotes were: “Eyes lie. Hearts lie. So do girls.” (very true) “One show only. After that you have to pay.” (hilarious! :P) And the absolute favourite: “Why’d you leave him?” “Because he isn’t you.”
Lovely rainbow drawings too, kinda looks like one of those colorbars, maybe you could make one for fans of Windy?
Reviewed by: Freder
The story is very easy to read and captures your attention really well. The story has an ancient motif, dating from the ancient Roman myth "Pygmalion and Galatea," but it is definitely not yet another re-hashing. In fact, the mythological reference only came to me after I read the story for the second time and picked up on some more details. I read this story twice and enjoyed it very much as each time I appreciated one of the main characters. The detail and realism of the characters is definitely a strength of the story. The two themes: real vs. magic, and self discovery, are exemplified by the two characters.
First, there is the theme of "real" vs. "magic." Wind is created, seemingly magically out of thin air, by Thomas. I appreciated the development of Wind's personality, down to her introspection and conflict of wanting to both please Thomas and find out about herself. I love the whole concept that although she was created by Thomas, she has her own identity and personality and wants to discover herself in ways that are not referenced to Thomas. I love how the struggle between reality and magic is brought up... and how reality and magic are merged to resolve the conflict.
Second, there is the theme of self discovery and overcoming self doubt. Thomas struggles with low self confidence and is very introverted. However, the act of creating Wind (even though he often doubts Wind's claim that he made her) is essentially a creation out of himself. Therefore, by learning to love Wind, even be a little possessive of her, is to learn to love himself. By overcoming his possessiveness and encouraging Wind to leave and learn more about herself, Thomas's sense of self is also allowed to develop and he learns more about himself.
So I think that is the beauty of the story: yes, Wind is a wonderful and wacky character, but she did come from boring old Thomas. And at the end, by Thomas's accepting that he likes Wind, and his wanting to do more stuff for and with Wind, is in essence, Thomas's first step in accepting and liking more of himself.
Reviewed by: SHO
I began reading, "Wind," with a somewhat skeptical mind. I knew ahead of time that much of this story involved the internalization of a young male and his mental and emotional motivations towards dealing with longing (in its various forms). I also knew that this story was written by a young female and no matter how much we wish to believe in the congruency between the sexes, there are some things that just get convoluted when you cross over that line.
I am pleased to write, that within this story, the author has fantastically accomplished mimicking the internal thoughts and feelings of her main character, Thomas. From the first time Thomas lays eyes on his "Christmas wish" you are given a very real ride on the rollercoaster that is a young man's introspection when faced with all that he believes he desires and the conflict that arises when he realizes that it just isn't enough anymore. I began to see myself in Thomas' actions.
I began reading this story with a skeptical mind, but soon found myself anxious to find out what happened next. Gobbling line after line with a hunger for what came after, for resolution. It is the hallmark of a good story to absorb the reader and pull them in, "Wind" achieves this effortlessly and is a delightful experience. I can't wait to try those cookies for myself.
I GIVE "WIND" 12.65 DRAGOONS!
Reviewed by: Mikey
First this was a strange story, bUt a most loveable one, as with this as with all your stories the characters are given such attention and personality that it would be almost impossible not to identify with them in some way which makes for a great read. I will also say this "that which ever characters you add to your stories, they have been lucky to be given life by yourself, as you can see what dedication you have taken to give them such life," as I believe that alone speaks volumes. A truly great read thanks for writing it and thanks for sharing it!
Reviewed by: The Author Herself
I enjoy the "realness" of these characters despite their fantasy situation--that's one of my favorite things to do in speculative fiction, to tweak one aspect of life and then let people act like they would in real life. I fear that the story and its ending might be a tad cookie-cutter, but I did like writing it and I think it mostly came out how I intended it to (though quite a bit longer because of all the talking).