Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi
This retelling of the Greek myth of Atalantia didn’t do it for me, friends.
About the Book
Publisher: Flux | Release Date: November 27, 2018 | Pages: 360
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling | Format: eARC | Source: Publisher via Netgalley
To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.
She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.
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I feel like I have read a lot of fantasy this year that is along the lines of “King is not doing well, finds abandoned daughter(s) to save the kingdom” cliche, and sadly this wasn’t executed in a way that stands apart.
”But nobody can beat fate – not even her. Nobody can outrun the wind.”
As a lover of mythology, I was really excited to be granted a review copy of Outrun the Wind and read a retelling of the Greek myth of Atalanta. For those that are familiar with the source myths, be prepared for this book’s departures and liberties from the source mythology. This is a retelling and the author makes changes to make it her own, so it is worth it to read the end acknowledgments. I prefer my retellings to be a bit more of a departure/re-imagining than changing some of the gods’ names.
Outrun the Wind is told in the dual-POV of Atalanta and Kahina, and I struggled to really engage with either perspective. As the reader, I was thrust into what felt like the middle of the action, with the characters thinking about things that I had no reference for, and I spent much of the first 17% rather confused. Because of the dual-POV, I also found the text repetitious at times when the scene would be rehashed from the other character’s perspective.
There is a f/f enemies-to-lovers romance, but unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be enough devoted to the budding relationship between these characters to buy into the romance for me. One thing that is great about the first-person narration is learning about the character’s inner thoughts and the tension that builds, but I feel like this was a missed opportunity here. The narrative largely fell into the pitfall of telling rather than showing.
I appreciated the underlying theme of strong women standing up for themselves in a society with strict gender expectations. Their actions are those of strong female characters, but after reading the book I am still at a loss for their inner motivations, feelings, and the growth that they experienced. This is definitely a plot-driven tale, but one that I never really got fully sucked into.
Ultimately I was neither impressed or displeased with this debut fantasy. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more had I not been familiar with the source material, but ultimately I didn’t find the writing to be engaging and I struggled to be sucked into the story. Just because this wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it isn’t for you: if you are looking for fast-paced mythology read with f/f romance, this book may be for you!
Madalyn interviewed the author of Outrun the Wind, Elizabeth Tammi, over on her blog! I really enjoyed reading about Tammi’s experience writing and drawing her inspiration, and I recommend giving it a read!
REPRESENTATION: LGBTQIAP+ (f/f romance)
CONTENT WARNINGS: sexism (challenged), implications of sexual assault
Many thanks to the publisher for providing me an electronic advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication.
Let’s go on another adventure together!