Title: Winter Falls (Twin Willows Trilogy, #1)
Author: Nicole Maggi
My Rating: 3 out of 5
Where to Find It:
Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.
Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.
Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.
As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make. (via Goodreads)
This was a really unique and interesting read for me because before I read “Winter Falls”, I had never read a story that focused so much on shape-shifting and a “spirit animals” kind of concept for the magic. It was different than my normal reads so that was refreshing. I also enjoyed the little taste of Italian culture sprinkled throughout the book. And, I wish I could say more about this book but it was just… okay, to me. I’m a little disappointed about that, to be honest. The summary sounded really intriguing but the way the story was executed just felt… flat. A bit boring.
Alessia is the heroine of the story and she was fairly likable. She was strong-willed, though a bit naive when it came to the boy she was crushing on, Jonah. She became gradually more rebellious – which gave her a more realistic teenager vibe, yes, but was annoying to read about at times – towards her mother as the plot progressed and the more infatuated she became with Jonah. On that note, I didn’t really enjoy the romance between Alessia and Jonah because it was predictable and insta-love. I saw the plot twist coming almost as soon as it started being hinted upon and I was really hoping Alessia would figure it out too, but sadly that did not happen. I also didn’t feel like there was enough development between the two of them before they said “I love you”, so when they finally did say it I couldn’t help but just sigh in disappointment. I might have felt a little sympathetic for their Romeo and Juliet situation, but honestly it was just the smallest of twinges.
The story actually picked up and started becoming more interesting after the predictable plot twist, so at least there was that. By the end of it though I still had a lot of questions, mostly about the Benandanti and Malandanti. I wanted to know more about their history and backgrounds. There was so much potential to expound on the lore and make it richer, thus making the plot a little more captivating. Maybe I’ll find the answers to my questions in the following books of the trilogy, but unfortunately, as of right now, I won’t be reading the remaining books.
“Winter Falls” was somewhat entertaining, but pretty average, predictable and boring. There was so much potential with the main concept of shape shifting and “spirit animals” but unfortunately fell flat. Most of the characters are unmemorable and the “insta-love” romance is bland and unremarkable, save for the Romeo and Juliet aspect. If you’re curious enough after reading the summary, I’d say give it a shot but don’t expect too much.