Thursday, August 27, 2015

ARC Review: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The House of Shattered WingsTitle:The House of Shattered Wings
Author: Aliette de Bodard
Publisher/Publication Date: ROC, August 18, 2015
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal 
Format/Source: eARC, Penguin First to Read (publisher)

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital. Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls. Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself...

My Thoughts:

Going into this book, I knew I was there for the story and to satisfy my curiosity about the concept hinted at in the synopsis. And I have to say that The House of Shattered Wings was pretty good.

The setting of post war Paris, a city literally on the brink of total ruin, was fitting. Throughout the novel there were tiny glimpses of what the place used to be like, and it was in stark contrast to how it was portrayed during the current story. There was a big focus on what happened with the houses, which ultimately shaped the city and directly affected the characters front and center in the story. House Silverspires and its dependents seemed to be at the center of the trouble. It was one giant mess, that’s the only way I can say it. So, the mystery aspect was handled well, I did guess a few things ahead of the reveals, but mostly I was surprised by how the story played out. And that’s a good thing. However, there were parts that got a little repetitive and seemed to slow to a crawl—mostly concerning some of the internal dialogue of the characters—but overall it wasn’t too big of an issue.

Now, the concept was definitely my favorite part and offered a different take on fallen angels. I have read numerous novels involving angels/fallen angels, but this was the best twist I’ve seen so far. And while the ending left me with a lot of questions, I do want to check out the sequel only because I want to see what happens to the characters next.

Rating 4/5

I received this copy of the book from Penguin First to Read (publisher) for this review, thank you!

About the Author...
(Picture courtesy of Ines de Bodard )

Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris, wher
e she has a day job as a System Engineer. She studied Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, but moonlights as a writer of speculative fiction. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Obsidian and Blood trilogy of Aztec noir fantasies, as well as numerous short stories, which garnered her two Nebula Awards, a Locus Award and a British Science Fiction Association Award. Forthcoming works include The House of Shattered Wings (August), a novel set in a turn-of-the-century Paris devastated by a magical war, and The Citadel of Weeping Pearls (October), a novella set in the same universe as her Vietnamese space opera On a Red Station Drifting. She lives in Paris with her family, in a flat with more computers than warm bodies, and a set of Lovecraftian tentacled plants intent on taking over the place.

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