***I received a free e-ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***
OUTRUN THE WIND
by Elizabeth Tammi
Release Date: November 27th, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology retelling
Publisher: Flux (an imprint of North Star Editions, Inc.)
Yikes, I really, really wanted to like this book, but alas I found myself extremely disappointed. This f/f romance Greek mythology retelling held great promise, but it completely missed the mark. Now, according to the e-copy I was supplied with, I read an uncorrected advance proof, so I’m aware that the book will go through additional editing/revisions, but the critiques I hold of this book are overarching problems that I believe will still be relevant to the final version.
Outrun the Wind follows two perspectives: that of Kahina’s and Atalanta’s. Kahina is a huntress of Artemis, who one day disobeys the goddess by killing the Calydonian Boar in order to save Atalanta. Atalanta is a legendary huntress and warrior running from her past and struggling to find where she belongs. In order for Kahina to redeem herself to Artemis, she’s sent on a mission that causes her to once again cross paths with Atalanta. As the women are forced to work together to overcome obstacles, they find their initial dislike of each other blooming into something more.
Of course, I loved the ideas that this novel was built upon: a Greek mythology retelling, a f/f romance, and two badass women protagonists. Additionally, the romance was combined with one of my favorite tropes: hate-to-love! But while this book had a great premise, its execution was quite lacking.
One of the first warning signs that I noticed about this book was the writing. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it was blatantly amateur. It was very straightforward writing and there wasn’t much flourish to the phrasing. Additionally, the writing was inconsistent. The first two chapters portrayed the Calydonian Boar Hunt from Atalanta’s perspective and then Kahinas’s. Yet in Kahina’s perspective, the order of events wasn’t quite the same. It was a small detail (when the group split up and when Atalanta shot the boar in the leg), so I’m hoping it will be caught before the final version is released.
Going along with inconsistent writing, a lot of Atalanta’s badassery was told, not shown. The author tells us Atalanta is this legendary huntress known throughout the land, but we’re never told why? What did she do to get this rep? I understand that Atalanta is a Greek heroine, but I didn’t know about her until I read this story, so if there were events that happened prior that the author expected me to know, I obviously didn’t (I honestly believe this story could have benefitted from starting earlier along the plotline). When we see Atalanta through Kahina’s perspective, she does appear to be pretty badass and intimidating, but as soon as were put in Atalanta’s head, she suddenly becomes this unsure, confused, and emotional teenager. All of her hardcore huntress edge just dissipated.
Alongside that, I felt that a lot of the character’s goals and motivations where unclear. Why Kahina knowingly disobeys Artemis to save Atalanta (who is a stranger at the time) is never made clear. Atalanta wanders around aimlessly for the first half of the book before finally gaining a central goal. And then the main antagonist’s actions are written without motivation or justification. He’s a very much a one dimensional villain who’s evil just to be evil. In all honesty, all the characters felt cardboard-like. Yes, Kahina and Atalanta have dark pasts, but they felt like they were put there as a poor attempt at character depth.
And my final critique is that a decent chunk of the plot felt very unnecessary. Deaths came out of nowhere and did little to aid the plot. Details were given in a weak attempt to flesh out characters but in actuality had no impact on their personality (aka Kahina’s upbringing).
Overall, Outrun the Wind was a weak attempt at a Greek mythology YA story. I struggled through the first half and the second half was only slightly more interesting because I just wanted to know how it ended. I wouldn’t really recommend this book, but if you’re enraptured by the synopsis, I say give it a try since everyone has different preferences (but definitely bail if you don’t like the beginning).
Rating: 2 stars
“…so, are you my book?”
“Heck no, go find a better Greek mythology retelling.”