A Wind from the Rift is the second book in Bonnie Wynne’s The Price of Magic series. Despite a somewhat slow start, the characters dragged me back in and had me gasping out loud a few times — and, just like last time, fixing one problem has created a dozen more.
I was provided a free copy of A Wind from the Rift e-book for review. The opinions are my own.
When I read The Ninth Sorceress earlier this year, I expressed some dissatisfaction with Gwyn as the main character. She was letting life happen to her without making any effort to free herself or take control. I finally realized that’s because she was seventeen and didn’t know how to take control of her own life.
That’s not a problem in A Wind from the Rift. She’s eighteen now, an adult, she’s had a full year of living out in the world to teach her how to be independent. She spends the entire book working to escape her prison — and she’s in a few over the course of the book. She trusts way too easily, and more than once I tried (out loud) to tell her she was making a mistake.
She didn’t listen, of course, but it didn’t stop me from trying.
Where the first book was about Gwyn finding confidence in herself and learning how to survive on her own, A Wind from the Rift is about her learning how to control herself. She frequently struggles with using the red magic she discovered at the end of the first book, flipping back and forth between “I will never use it” and “I’m going to use it right now because it’s easier.” When she does use it, it’s too much for her to handle. It takes practice, and I was weirdly proud of her when she seemed to figure it out.
My other big problem with Gwyn is that she kept forgetting her friends. She bonds with Margan in her prison, trusting him without a single reason to, and then… doesn’t think about him again for 90% of the book. She trusts Tavi enough to spill her life story seconds after asking if she’s about to be murdered. She kisses a sailor during an ill-advised trip out of the tower and never thinks about him again. She decides her friends from the first book just haven’t bothered looking for her in the six months she was imprisoned, and brushes that off like it doesn’t matter to her.
With that said, Gwyn is definitely growing up. She’s learning to take responsibility for herself and for her own future, even with everything going against her. She’s caught up in a war that’s so much bigger than she is, she has powers she can barely comprehend, and she’s doing all of it while trying to escape from the place she’s been avoiding her entire life.
I said this in my last review, but I’m absolutely in love with the worldbuilding in this series. A Wind from the Rift expands on the lore from the first book in the series, explaining how the Clockwork City is set up, how young mancers are taught, and how Gwyn has absolutely thrown a wrench into everything.
While Gwyn is focused on her immediate problems — she’s locked in the Clockwork City and she thinks her friends have abandoned her — bigger things are growing in the background. The Scions she unleashed at the end of the last book are still out there somewhere, and five of them need to be killed. It’s been raining every single day since the day she released the Scions and, as she eventually figures out, that means one of the Scions is in the city with her.
It’s just one more reason why she wants to leave.
I know I complained about Gwyn a lot in this review, but she’s still growing up. She’s still learning and changing, and I want to keep watching that happen. I’m invested in the world Bonnie Wynne has built, I’m invested in Gwyn and her friends defeating the Scions and bringing balance back to the vim.
Do I think the series will have a happy ending? Not really. I’m not sure how Gwyn will defeat the remaining Scions and the surprise new enemy while keeping herself intact either emotionally or physically.
I could be wrong. Bonnie Wynne has at least one more book to publish in the series, but I suspect there might be another one or two after that.
But we’ll just have to wait and see.
A Wind from the Rift by Bonnie Wynne, the second book in her The Price of Magic series, is published by the indie publishing house Talem Press and is available now in Australia at talempress.com, and internationally at Amazon.
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