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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Wind of Choice by Marty C. Lee is the first book in the Unexpected Heroes series. Ahjin dreams of one day becoming a skydancer and joining his parents' troupe, but all his dreams quickly vanish when he receives news he's been chosen as a priest without an option to refuse. On his way to start his new life, he's swept away in a storm where he meets Nia and gets a chance to escape the life chosen for him. When he's driven to answer the voice in his head, he takes advantage of an opportunity to rescue a missing god and get back the life he wanted. He and Nia embark on a dangerous journey where they team up with surprising allies for an unforgettable mission that could change their futures.
Marty C. Lee has breathed life into this extensive and magical world with four prominent societies representing earth, water, fire, and sky, each with its own unique types of people. Each of the societies are represented by a character who clearly showcases the customs and embodies the spirit. Lee crafts each character with specific appearances reflective of the elemental reminiscent society: Ahjin has wings, Nia has an aquatic look, Ludik is a lion shapeshifter, and Zefra evokes many fire comparisons. Even certain phrases they use mimic the society they're from such as Ludik using fur balls and Nia using shark bait. These phrases add a sweet charm to the dialogue to reflect where these characters are from while also providing humor. This world is so vast with so much explored it makes you want to see even more of what Lee has created. Every place has its own god, beliefs, and way of life, with their own quirks, like the dolphins where Nia is from and aerobatics where Ahjin is from, giving a well-rounded perspective of each. Everything in this world is so thorough you're completely immersed within it.
Lee makes it fun to explore different societies, taking time to really know the different characters by using different backgrounds as a way of seeing how these characters eventually connect with each other. The main four are very different people so they have to find a commonality in order to work together to save their gods. They're ordinary people who are led on an extraordinary mission which shows how special each of them has been. Each of the four characters is in a place of change, going from a more innocent place of youth to entering an adult future with their whole life changing. Their mission to save gods though, being this grand and dangerous adventure, also gives them a different perspective on their lives. Each of them finds their own hero's journey while also discovering what it means to be a team, working together and bringing out the strengths of each of them. Wind of Choice is a delightful adventure with heroism, friendship, humor, danger, and coming of age charm.