Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Albina: A Windflower Saga Novella by Aleksandra Layland is a highly relatable Young Adult fantasy novel. The main character Albina is of mixed race, and that isn't all that sets her apart from most people in the Industrial Age. She's intelligent, has a keen interest in science and chemistry--unusual for a young woman of that time--and is a twin. Her studies lead her away from home, where she has the opportunity to connect with her indigenous roots, her faith, and who she really is. Besides the drama of these things unfolding, she discovers romance and begins to realize the true meaning of love. This story has a lot of heart and soul and stands out for its individuality and ability to connect with YA audiences.
Layland's choice to use Albina's point of view to tell the story was a wise one. It instantly draws you into the character's mindset, emotions, motivations, hopes, dreams, and uncertainty. There is an immediacy to the first-person perspective that really works here. I like that the author has Albina in a non-traditional female role. The plot places emphasis on family, societal expectations, and making choices that are right for you. The theme of genealogy helps the reader get to know the family history from the other books, and actually piques your interest in reading them.
Albina is a very likable character, empathetic and wise for such a young soul. The author's commentary at the beginning is very helpful, there are images that add another layer to the story, and you will find yourself wishing it was a bit longer. Yet, it doesn't feel rushed or too short. It's just that you want to hear more from this character, and, when the book is over, you feel as if you're saying goodbye to a new friend. Albina: A Windflower Saga Novella by Aleksandra Layland is a charismatic book YA audiences will fall in love with.