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War of The Wind by Victoria Williamson - Review and Blog Tour

Monday, January 15, 2024

Hello and welcome to my blog for my stop on the blog tour for War of the Wind by Victoria Williamson! It is so nice to welcome you to my blog today - please do have a click round and read some of my other reviews.

It is a pleasure to be back reviewing Victoria Williamson! She was one of my favourite author discoveries last year; everything I've read by her has been so good and I really enjoy what she is doing with fiction and with middle grade in particular. Her middle grade is really engaging and perfect for the age group. I also love her settings, especially as she often sets books in Scotland where she grew up. I am excited to see what else she writes in the future and I'm really glad to be on this tour!

The book is set on a remote Scottish island called Scragness. Max is fourteen and lives on the bay there with his mum, dad, and baby sister Sally. A couple of years ago Max had an accident off his dad's boat and nearly drowned. He ended up losing his hearing. He is now in a special class at school and hates it. He has lost touch with all his old friends, including his best friend Calum. His mum struggles with sign language and his dad hasn't learnt any and refuses to write things down for Max. He wants Max to wear his hearing aid, but Max hates it as it doesn't really help him. Max really resents Sally because he thinks that his parents prefer her, and think that they just had her to replace their 'broken' son. Max's only friend is his Uncle Stuart's dog Twister who the family looks after when Stuart works away. 

Max is taught by Mrs Brody, who taught him most of the sign language he knows. Her daughter, Erin, is also in his special class - she was born deaf and is really clever. She is friends with Beanie, who has Down Syndrome and who lives with her grandma. Beanie is horribly bullied by Max's old gang, and Max feels like he has to stand up for her even though he doesn't really want to. Beanie knows a lot of sign language thanks to Erin, but she also speaks slowly enough for Max to mostly catch what she's saying to him. She gets easily upset by disruptions in her routine. Also in the class is David, who has a high level of special needs - he uses a wheelchair and can't speak. Max basically hates them all and just thinks of himself as better, I think. 

The island has never had any smart phones or internet because of its remoteness, but there are new wind turbines coming and there is a deal for them to also have mobile masts and for each of the islanders to be provided with a smart phone. Max is really excited about this because he knows there's a voice to text app that his dad and friends can use to communicate with him. There are a few islanders who are protesting the turbines, but Max knows they won't win. The turbines go up, but very quickly it is obvious that they're making animals behave strangely. Then all the humans start acting strangely too - can all the hearing people on the island hear something that Max and Erin can't? 

Then the mysterious scientist turns up, defended by three soldiers. Max knows something dodgy is going on, but how can he make people believe him?

I loved this book; it's pacy and fun and I loved Max and his friends and wanted them to succeed. I would actually really like it if there was a sequel to this book! I did think Max skewed a tiny bit younger than fourteen, but I can forgive that. I liked the setting and I liked the way it drew on classic sci fi literature. I'm giving this four out of five, and many thanks to Victoria! 

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