Author: Samantha Mabry.
Samantha Jac Crow and James Holt have fallen in love working in the endless fields that span a bone-dry Southwest in the near future – a land that’s a little bit magical, deeply dangerous, and bursting with secrets. To protect themselves, they’ve learned to work hard and, above all, keep their love hidden from the people who might use it against them. Then, just when Sarah Jac and James have settled in and begun saving money for the home they dream of near the coast, a horrible accident sends them on the run. With no choice but to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch, the delicate balance of their lives begins to give way – and they may have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.
This is what I get for picking up a book because of a pretty cover.
All the Wind in the World actually felt like it should have been a good read; like it really was trying. The desert, for example. That should have been a good setting. It didn’t quite make it. Everything was a little too dramatic, a little too self-aware, so that instead of feeling the harsh beauty of desert, I felt the author trying to make me see harsh beauty. Same with the characters. I never connected with them. There was emotion, and change, and character arcs – but they all seemed at a little distance, not really concerning me, falling flat in the end.
Part of that was Sarah and James making stupid choices, I think. (The whole “have to pretend to be in love with someone else so they don’t find out” plot… no. Just no. We all know where it’s going, and it’s a stupidly bad choice even in real life where there aren’t cliches and plots to be fulfilled.) But I’ve read books where the main characters made stupid choices, and I still sympathized with them, so there has to be more to it.
The plot didn’t even make sense in the end. The final emotion, for me, was great confusion (with a healthy dose of “What’s wrong with all of you??”) and some annoyance.
10/10 for the cover, but 0/10 for everything else.
Sexual Content: Lovers kiss, lying on top of each other. Some public affection watched – girl sitting in her boyfriend’s lap, light kissing. Intense kissing.
Language: 5 scato 2 derog 4 f-word 2 d****
Violence: There’s an altercation in high winds, girl shoves a rearing horse and it falls back, killing rider. Character cuts the head off a rattlesnake. Guard is knifed (killed) off screen. Fist fight breaks out, one nose broken. Character knocked out in a second fist fight. Character dies of fever. There are multiple accidents among field-workers, gory but only lightly described; the scythe slips and workers lose fingers or toes. Dog attacks girl, tears her open; a different character kills the dog with a blow to the head, but the girl dies. One character forces another into a truck, hitting her head in the process. Multiple people badly stung by bees, and some killed – this is described as “Soon the ground was littered with bodies”. A horse is also stung, and in its ensuing panic breaks its leg and has to be shot. Several workers who took the chaos of bees to attack overseers are put to death by the rifle. Little girl’s foot trampled and mangled. One character kills another by cutting their neck with a scythe-like tool. Workers set fire to buildings + each other in chaos.
Other: One character finds two men sort of cuddling – while a homosexual relationship is never made explicit, there’s immediate awkwardness all around, and the first character promises not to “say anything about this”.