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Windhaven [Mass Market Paperback]

George R.R. Martin , Lisa Tuttle
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 29 2003
George R. R. Martin has thrilled a generation of readers with his epic works of the imagination, most recently the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling saga told in the novels A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords. Lisa Tuttle has won acclaim from fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy alike— most recently for her haunting novel The Pillow Friend. Now together they gift readers with this classic tale of a brilliantly rendered world of ironbound tradition, where a rebellious soul seeks to prove the power of a dream.

The planet of Windhaven was not originally a home to humans, but it became one following the crash of a colony starship. It is a world of small islands, harsh weather, and monster-infested seas. Communication among the scattered settlements was virtually impossible until the discovery that, thanks to light gravity and a dense atmosphere, humans were able to fly with the aid of metal wings made of bits of the cannibalized spaceship.

Many generations later, among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, who bring news, gossip, songs, and stories. They are romantic figures crossing treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms that could easily dash them from the sky to instant death. They are also members of an increasingly elite caste, for the wings—always in limited quantity—are growing gradually rarer as their bearers perish.

With such elitism comes arrogance and a rigid adherence to hidebound tradition. And for the flyers, allowing just anyone to join their cadre is an idea that borders on heresy. Wings are meant only for the offspring of flyers—now the new nobility of Windhaven. Except that sometimes life is not quite so neat.

Maris of Amberly, a fisherman's daughter, was raised by a flyer and wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. By tradition, however, the wings must go to her stepbrother, Coll, the flyer's legitimate son. But Coll wants only to be a singer, traveling the world by sea. So Maris challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen on the basis of merit rather than inheritance. And when she wins that bitter battle, she discovers that her troubles are only beginning.

For not all flyers are willing to accept the world's new structure, and as Maris battles to teach those who yearn to fly, she finds herself likewise fighting to preserve the integrity of a society she so longed to join—not to mention the very fabric that holds her culture together.

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From Amazon

If Windhaven weren't a fantasy book, it would be a selection for Oprah's books club, in the best sense. It tells the life story of a girl whose desire is so strong that it literally changes her world.

Maris wants nothing more than to fly. But she is land-bound: she was not born into a family of flyers, those who inherit their wings from their ancestors and convey messages, songs, and stories between the isolated islands of Windhaven. She convinces the flyers to break their ancient dynastic traditions for a selfish reason--to gain a pair of wings. In so doing, however, she opens the skies to all the hopeful land-bound, with serious social and political repercussions for both populations.

Each of the five chapters relates a different incident in Maris's struggle to first become a flyer and to then open the skies, and the flyers' minds, to the rest of the land-bound. They are told in sequential order as Maris ages, but resemble short stories featuring the same character more than chapters in a novel. Although the background in each certainly enhances the understanding of the following one, this knowledge is not at all essential to appreciating each chapter as a discrete entity that can stand alone.

Windhaven is a thought-provoking book, challenging us by depicting the potential consequences when young idealists break ancient traditions. The authors gave us a heroine, a planet, and a story that teach as they entertain. --Diana M. Gitig --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Rereleased 20 years after its initial publication, this gentle tale of a woman's quest to live out her dream to fly by award-winning authors Martin (Sandkings, A Storm of Swords) and Tuttle (Lost Futures) concerns the hard choices that come from having a vocation. On stormy Windhaven, the descendants of long-ago stranded star sailors live on widely separated islands. Lacking metals to sustain industrial technology, the inhabitants depend on flyers, humans with wings made from the original star sail, to bring news and carry messages, uniting far-flung communities. Maris, a land-bound female adopted into a flyer family, loves to fly. But when her stepbrother, Coll, turns 13, he stands as first-born to inherit the irreplaceable wings, even as he dreams of being a traveling singer instead. When Maris tries to resolve both quandaries by stealing the wings, she challenges not only flyer law but the basic assumptions of Windhaven society. Establishing competitions to win wings and training academies for students from non-flyer families, and defending a "made" flyer accused of treason for stopping a war, Maris faces the lifelong consequences of talent come into conflict with privilege. Although Martin and Tuttle make the correct choices rather clear, they never ignore the costs. With a well-constructed plot (with only minor slips in logic) presented in prose that reads as fantasy, the book will appeal to a YA audience in addition to Martin and Tuttle fans.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
MARIS RODE THE STORM ten feet above the sea, taming the winds on wide cloth-of-metal wings. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad! Feb. 20 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was nice change of pace for me. It wasn't too long and the characters were fairly entertaining. Wasn't engrossing or thought provoking just an entertaining short novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful fantasy!!! Dec 3 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoy Anne McCaffrey books,and I really enjoyed WINDHAVEN. I could not put it down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Open your mind Oct. 28 2003
By Katie
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Agreeably not ASoIaF, this book is still not to be ignored. If it weren't for the high standards we have set for GRRM, this book would have a higher rating. Slower action, but this book really made me think. What would happen, say, if I couldn't ride horses anymore, the one thing I love to do? Maris dreamed of being a flyer since being a little girl. She thought that what you dreamed, you could make reality. She was right. With her father dead, he mother gladly gave her into the care of a flyer, one who flies on metal wings above the storm-wracked islands of Windhaven, delivering messages. When her adopted father's son comes of age, there is a new struggle. Coll, her adopted brother, doesn't want the wings. Maris does. And defying the odds, she changes the system, allowing those of low birth to compete, and have a chance to become a flyer. But then she is forced to help a boy who hates flyers as much as they hate him gain his wings. Fast forward, the most significant scene of all happens. Maris falls. She can never fly again. She no longer feels she has a place with other flyers. This book opened my eyes to the world around me. If you want something that makes you think, laugh, and cry, and reasses your values and how much things mean to you, while telling you the life of an extrodinary character who lead a specatular life, pick up Windhaven. You won't be disappointed.
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1.0 out of 5 stars a disappointment Sept. 15 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If like myself, you have enjoyed Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire Series and been completely blown away by the honesty of his characters, the brilliance of his politics and spent countless hours awake at night, unable to sleep because you just HAVE to know what happens next, please don't read this book. George R. R. Marin may have the utmost respect for the talents of Lisa Tuttle, but after reading this book, I can't say I share his opinion. The concept is good but the characters are flat. Half-way through the book I no longer cared what they thought or what happened to them. I just kept reading in hopes that Martin would pull some of his last minute magic....and it never came. It isn't terrible or full of typos, it is just so typical template fantasy that any ASoIaF fan is going to be frustrated. There is nothing outstanding about this book. If Terry Pratchet were no longer funny and clever or Neil Gaimen were no longer quirky and dark they would lose what distinguishes them from the first time SF/Fantasy author who doesn't know what he/she is doing and there would be no reason to read them. If you are new to the genre, there is nothing wrong with this book, but if you are looking for something more i advise you not to waste your time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Just an okay story Sept. 13 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Windhaven is the story a one person's life in a fantasy setting. It is not a bad story, just not a great one.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dragonriders of Pern much better Aug. 10 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Anne McCaffrey told this story first, and much better, with her Dragonriders of Pern series. Several plot elements within the two stories are so similar that Martin and Tuttle must have been "inspired" by the Pern series. However, McCaffrey fleshes out her world in such a way as to make it seem much more believable than the Windhaven world. Pern's characters are also much better developed than those in this story. It was a disappointment to me to find I was reading a "Pern-lite" novel rather than an original story.
Pern gets 5 stars. My suggestion: read McCaffrey's novels instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! Dec 7 2002
Format:Hardcover
I had read this book 20 years ago and had almost forgotten how wonderful it is. After just rereading it i cant emphasize what a unique story it is. It is more like Biography of a fantasy character as it starts out with a young girl running on a beach watching "the flyers", to her becoming one against all odds, and then reluctantly having to give flying up due to life and then her old age near the very beach she used to run on. All done at a great pace and with heartfelt emotion. Its true that its not Song of Ice and Fire, but anyone who has read GRR Martin's stories will surely enjoy this one. (It Reminded me of "With Morning Comes Mistfall")
Buy this book, and get ready to Fly...
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4.0 out of 5 stars More good stuff by George Sept. 1 2002
Format:Hardcover
The 1st 2 parts of this novel (previously published in ANALOG magazine as "The Storms of Windhaven" & "One-Wing") brilliantly Dliver the kind of mood, setting, atmosphere & believable characters that Martin fans read him 4. The final section, "The Fall," basically mops-up the book. But I love it & keep it 4 the 1st 2 sections. 2 me, this reads like another early George Martin novel, & I'm grateful 2 have it. Whether Tuttle provided George with the character, idea or setting, or wrote 1/2 the book, it was a good pairing. There R scenes here that will stay with U 4 a long time -- long passages about flying like a glyder over Windhaven's stormy seas; sitting with other flyers & drinking hot tea in a shadowy, drafty aerie; Maris's trial, which questions Windhaven's entire society & social structure. This is the kind of writing I wish Martin was still doing.
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