Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Black Wings Beating by Alex London - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Black Wings Beating
Author: Alex London
Recent Release Date: September 25, 2018

Synopsis: The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer--while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She's nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he's long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother's future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.


Review: I have been waiting for this book. YA Fantasy is my favorite genre and to finally have a book like this with a lead queer boy means so much. I wish my teenage self had had this book. Not only is this a book with boys kissing, there's also a vast magical world based on falconry. So much thought went into the culture London created. The subtle avian references really flesh out the world.

The first chapter of this book is so intense. It paints such a wonderful picture of the world and the characters within it. The family dynamics are such a large part of this book and the first chapter paves such an excellent path for them to be thoroughly delved into. The first chapter also sets in play the chapters from adults' perspectives sprinkled throughout the book. Most of the book is from either Kylee or Brysen's persepctive. 

Going into this book, I didn't even read the synopsis. I just knew it was written by Alex London, there was falconry, and there were gay characters. I expected a gay male lead, but Brysen shares the role with his sister, Kylee. Kylee was absolutely my favorite character. Their relationship as siblings goes through so much in this book.

Love is at the center of this book. Not only romantic love, but familial and platonic. Each character is motivated by love in some way. The motivations all make sense and each character has a detailed past. 

The worldbuilding is phenomenal in this book. The bird imagery is everywhere. It's ever present. The culture is so well thought out. The geography of the area is described in such detail. I just got back from a tans Atlantic vacation and the imagery definitely reminded me of the beautiful Scandinavian landscapes.

Although this book is definitely only the first in a series, it is a complete story. I was very satisfied with the ending.

I give Black Wings Beating a 5/5. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. It's a YA Fantasy with a queer boy protagonist!!! I can only hope that one day I have a book out in the world that can be recommended alongside this one.   


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