Review: Song of Winds (Singer Tales)

To promote the final book in her Singer Tales series, Deborah Grace White released a free promotion for the third book in the series, Song of Winds, her adaptation of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." Since I have always had issues with this fairy tale, I initially skipped over this book and went straight to Song of Moonrise. However, Song of Winds is such a sweet love story addressing all my problems with "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" that it quickly joined the ranks of some of my favorite fairy tale adaptations. Like Tara Grayce's Elven Alliance series, Song of Winds tells the story of a couple falling madly in love after their unconventional marriage. Though it follows the basic story beats of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," it does so in a way that makes the characters appealing and the story compelling.


Adrienne is a sweet girl who comes from a troubled family. Her father's gambling addiction placed her entire family in severe debt, forcing them to hide money in the hopes of furthering her education. Adrienne joins the ranks of other protagonists throughout the Singer Tales series, which consists primarily of princesses with the ability to weave spells through their singing voices. When Adrienne's father catches wind of their savings and her unique abilities, he does something unthinkable. Adrienne is auctioned off as a bargaining chip to help him pay off his debts to a band of unsavory figures. One of the men, whose face is encased in shadows, throws in his chips at the last minute and wins Adrienne as his bride. Disgusted at being used for such a dishonorable purpose, Adrienne agrees to marry the stranger to get away from her father. More unexpected surprises await when she learns that her new husband is actually the long-lost Prince Herleif, who is under a curse that involves him turning into a polar bear during the day and not allowing anyone to see his face at night.

Though the book follows the basic plot of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," it makes numerous improvements to the questionable details of the story. For instance, instead of approaching her father to purchase a wife, it is clear that Herleif is uncomfortable with Adrienne's situation and only agrees to marry her to save her from the brutes who were gambling for her and her father's greed. This starts their marriage on a healthier note. One of the things that bothered me the most about the original fairy tale is that the heroine knew that looking at her husband's face would cause trouble for both of them but did so anyway because her relatives told her he might be an ugly troll despite all the time they had spent learning to care for each other on an emotional level. In this adaptation, Adrienne's mother is led to believe that Herleif might die if she does not look at her face within a certain timeframe. This motivation is far more noble and makes Adrienne more relatable as a protagonist.

The climax of the story is packed with magic and adventure. Adrienne flies through the enchanted winds to rescue her husband from the fearsome giant queen who is determined to make him marry her daughter. Adrienne takes advantage of the giant princess's naivete to find her husband and outsmarts the giants in their wicked plot. The book also adds a magical twist to the part of the fairy tale where the heroine proves her worth by washing tallow wax out of the prince's shirt. The fact that the princess needed to prove herself by doing laundry in the original story was another thing that seemed off in a world of magic and curses. Here, Deborah Grace White brilliantly weaves the series' magical singing talent directly into that part of the fairy tale, making it that much more fantastical and satisfying. Though the magical elements are a big draw to this book, its greatest strength is the sincere and heartfelt romance that Adrienne and Herleif develop for each other after their unexpected wedding.

For the third installment of The Singer Tales, Deborah Grace White takes the bones of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" and infuses them with fresh life, addressing all the issues that initially left me hesitant. Adrienne and Herleif's romance blossoms organically, overcoming societal pressures and magical curses. Each character is imbued with depth and motivation, making their actions believable and their challenges relatable. The climax is a thrilling display of magic and wit, with the heroine using her unique talents to outsmart the giants in a way that feels more fitting within the fantastical world. Ultimately, Song of Winds offers a sweet love story, captivating adventure, and a satisfying resolution, making it a song worth singing for any fan of fairy tale retellings or heartwarming romance. This fantastical series recently concluded with Song of Vines, a retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk."

Comments

Emma said…
If your looking for another great East of the Sun and West of the Moon Retelling I would recommend Cross the Silver Moon by Jessica Daw (which also has King Thrushbeard elements) as well as Sun and Moon Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. Both are really good books.

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