A lot of people have been introduced to Wein’s work recently, given the popularity and award winningness of Code Name Verity. However, she’s published a whole series before that, and I was lucky enough to be a fan pre-Verity. Someone mentioned her books on Sounis, and my interest was piqued.
So I read The Winter Prince in a great gulp and completely fell in love with it. Medraut is a fantastic narrator–prickly, anguished, and yet completely compelling. I don’t like most attempts to turn the villain of a classic story into a hero (ie, Wicked), and yet here I completely bought it. More than that, it’s one of those books that I will happily read and re-read, each time finding something new. The whole series is like that.
One of the reasons I love Wein’s earlier books is the setting–the later books are set in 6th century Aksum, the empire that would later become Ethiopia and Eritrea. It’s richly and lovingly detailed, and almost a character in its own right. There’s one more book written, and I hope we get to see it someday.
But the characters themselves are what make all of Wein’s books: heartbreaking and marvellous, they work their way into your heart and stay there forever, from Medraut to Abreha to Maddie to Anna Engel. There’s a part of me that’s convinced that they’re real, even though the rest of me knows better. They face hard choices and sometimes they make mistakes. Some of them fail entirely. But you always care about them.
Favorite books, which are all of them
The Winter Prince (2009) and again, briefly (2010); and yet again, briefly (2011)
A Coalition of Lions (2010) and again (2011)
The Sunbird (2010) and again (2011)
The Lion Hunter (2010) and again (2011)
The Empty Kingdom (2010) and again (2011)
Code Name Verity (2012), and again (2012), again, briefly (2012)