This story alternates between the Girl and the Stranger. They are both lost souls who have forgotten everything to do with their pasts, and it shows them navigating the world separately as they try to remember who they are while starting a new life. The only hint of their past that they remember is the faint memory of someone who they cared for deeply, though they don’t recall the persons face or anything beyond their prior existence.
The Girl is found by a tribe called the Nhil, a people who are one with fire and take her in when she has no one else. She learns their ways and finds a home amongst them, until she is torn between them and a mysterious stranger who butt heads due to their differences. The Nhil are a people of fire, able to control the element, and when they do a ceremony to find out the Girl’s name and anything about her it will reveal, she is granted the same power over fire. Rune is then taken on by the tribe as an acolyte to their Fire Keeper as they believe her to have the same powers that would make her the same as their current tribe member in this position, and it is considered one of great import.
The Stranger was rescued from death by a pack of wolves and has learned to run with them as his own family before he stumbles across a woman he is certain is the one he has been searching for. He tries desperately to get her to remember him in any small way and to stay with him, though she resists, fearing his family of wolves and the fact that she knows nothing about him.
This world was so lush and beautiful. I cannot express enough how fully fleshed out and unique and all encompassing it was to read about it. Though not much of the wider world was seen throughout the course of this first book in the Destini Chronicles, even what little part of it was shown still managed to be enough to draw the reader in and reveal little tidbits of how it worked. My favourite thing about it had to be the fact that there are different groups of people based on the elements they had control over. Furthermore, it is forbidden for people of different elements to mix because this would null one’s power so they no longer had access to any element. This creates a lot of tension throughout the book because, though not antagonistic towards one another, people are very set on maintaining their own element and therefore the mixing of two different ones resulting in the element disappearing is very taboo. This is also part of why the Nhil tribe is so adamantly against Darro, as they can tell he is not one of them and therefore has no right to be part of their close knit circle. Alternately, they do believe Rune is one of their own, and therefore want her to have nothing to do with Darro.
I feel like I felt so passionately on one end of the spectrum or the other about characters. There are some characters that I passionately hated and wanted desperately to be rid of, without giving away spoilers. But then I loved Darro, Runa, and all the animals under their care so incredibly much. I am a sucker for animals always. And Solin is one who grew on me so much more than I expected or ever thought possible. Yet he made certain decisions that made me so angry with him despite begrudgingly liking him due to circumstances later on in the book. There were so many incredible characters.
Also, can I just say, this quote had me teary and awwing. “About time you came to find me.” I won’t give either context or whereabouts in the book it appears, who says it or who they’re saying it to for spoilers sake, but one of my top favourite quotes despite its simplicity. It wrenched my heart in the most beautiful way. This book all around was so beautiful. Heart wrenching, stressful, full of the push and pull of tension and conflict, yet somehow no matter the difficulties these characters faced, there was still that beauty and so much passion. I honestly can’t speak enough on how incredible this book was. The thought of waiting for the sequel, particularly after how When a Moth Loved a Bee ended is agonizing. I need book two now!