Solid 4.5 stars for me.
What an amazing idea for a story. I absolutely loved it.
If one wanted to divide the world into 2 basics, they'd have Earth and Air (or Wind, in this case). As it turns out, Wind people or Windwalkers as they are called here, protect the Earthlings. But they have their own politics, of course.
A repressed tragedy 10 years ago where he was the sole survivor of a tornado lead Vane to be adopted by a human couple. They loved him as their own and he loved them right back. Vane also can't remember anything prior to being rescued after the tornado and learning his parents died. His past is a blank slate.
Audra is a Windwalker and a guardian. She and Vane grew up together when her family was in charge of protecting Vane's family. Audra was assigned to watch over Vane while he lived with his adoptive parent for the past 10 years, and in time, preparing him for the battle of his life, against his parents' assassin, Raiden.
Shannon Messenger weaved an intricate story of two races, one of which is more complex than it seems. Vane needs to uncover his past and be prepared to fight for his and everyone he knows' life in a matter of days. And that includes accepting he's not human, but something else completely.
And though they're 17 years old, you can bet your life there is a love story here.
I. Absolutely. Loved. Vane. The boy is funny, sarcastic, and he knows how he loves his woman:
I'm usually not a fan of soldier-mode Audra, but right now it's kind of awesome. She looks fierce. Brutal. And freaking sexy.
And when he tells her he loves her, all hearts shatter:
I have to remind myself to keep breathing. "I'd still rather live through that than watch you die. I-I can't imagine trying to live without you, Audra."
When the battle ensues, we find out just how tragic the death of Vane's parents was, and the ultimate betrayal is more devastating than anything.