Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.
Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother's side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city's secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.
As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice and may well change the city forever - if it isn't destroyed outright.
©2015 Fran Wilde (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
"It's especially wonderful to encounter a novel - a debut! - that reminds me of nothing so much as how wildly, powerfully innovative fantasy can be....Wilde's world and characters... blew me away." (NPR)
"The world of the towers grown from bone, where residents strap on wings and soar the air currents, is captivating.... a world that readers will be anxious to revisit in future volumes of this exciting new series." (Library Journal)
"Extraordinary worldbuilding and cascading levels of intrigue make Wilde's debut fantasy novel soar.... This well-written and fascinating exploration of a strange land is an extremely promising start for an exciting new writer." (Publishers Weekly)
Winner, Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction, 2016
Did not like the performance because the performance over-pronaunced certain words so hands were haaaaannnnds. Not sure if this is the American accent or the lady not quite understanding that she does not have to read everything as if she fears for her life! What a shame. Otherwise, story is ok, not the amazing novelty it was cracked up to be though.
"Wait for it"
I was ready to abandon this book early on. The tale gets better as it goes on. The characters get better as it develops. It ends on a high note, however, the overall quality of the book, while good, is not great. I would suggest buying this on a daily deal if possible.
"High adventure and law breaking in the Skies!"
UPDRAFT was a definite winner for me. From the characters to the mysterious world set high in the air amidst bone towers it wasn't surprising that I was hooked from the start. The story stars a young female protagonist named Kirit who is a law/rule breaker. These law breaks she commits seem to be done in ways she thinks would be harmless but ultimately end up costing her and her family almost everything. The progression of her character was well executed and each choice she makes has a major impact on the direction both her life and the story takes.
The was a very character driven novel. The world is fascinating but instead of laying on a huge amount of worldbuilding information the major focus is on Kirit and everything she does/is going through. We do ultimately see how her life and actions fit into the bigger picture of what has been going on in the past generation of people within the Spire, the Towers and all of it's people. This is a story of secrets upon secrets and Kirit is determined to uncover as many as she can. She wants to know everything but she also wants to do what she thinks is the right thing for everyone. It was a winning point for her personality that she was willing to make sacrifices at times and not just be selfish. I thought at the beginning that she was going to be a very selfish character but that was so far from the truth. She might make what some would consider missteps along the way but I think all of them work perfectly and I can't imagine making different decisions myself.
Family, Flying and who comes First
There is a big focus on family in this book. The ones most important to you of course are your family but I was surprised to find people were not called by "mother" or "father" or "aunt" etc. - they were all called by their actual names. I really liked the way this was done as it made the family connection way less personal and made you really pay attention to how the characters acted versus relying on readers presumptions or implied affections that normally come with those terms. People really keep themselves a part from each other. Each tower looks after their own and isn't supposed to come to the defense of others. Also folks are really quick to turn their backs on people they deem unlucky. Its sad but all of that is explained in its own way as you move through the book. It made for a unique culture.
I know this is a weird way to combo it but this is a book of flying. Did you ever dream of flying? I think everyone does. I've never thought about hang gliding (the image pictured on the cover) but this really makes me want to try it. Honestly, I don't think the cover even accurately depicts the way I think the wings look based on the visuals that were painted in my mind from descriptions I picture them as actual maneuverable wings not a big clunky frame like a hang glider would have. The amazing descriptions given of the flying here really gave it a unique feel.
Great Supporting characters
While the focus and perspective is from that of Kirit the secondary characters were still well developed. I could have used a little more connection with her cousin Nat but the time spent with Wick and
On the World Building
While I loved the world I found myself constantly asking questions that I wish were answered. If the spires they inhabit are bone and is alive then just what is the creature that its growing from beneath the clouds? Are we ever going to learn what is beneath the clouds? How is it or what caused them to live on these spires. Much of this is probably ancient history for the characters in this world and thus no one likely knows I bet - so then that makes me wonder - am I ever going to learn these things? Because hey I really want to know. Thus things like that I'm still left wondering and hoping I'll get to know more in the future books. Which of course I most definitely will be reading because I found the world fascinating. I ultimately didn't mind that there were a number of unanswered world building/history type questions because if all of them were answered it might have tipped the scales the other way into the dreaded info dumping style and we all know how much that can hurt a book. I mention all of this because the world building style does leave a lot in question and this can either totally work for it with a reader or against it. For me I was given that perfect amount to get my brain whirring and leave me wanting more more more - in the best kind of way.
Thoughts on the Narration
Khristine Hvam does a wonderful job on the voice acting of Kirit. I loved the way her personality shone through in her voice. The atmosphere she was able to weave made me feel like I was right there next to Kirit soaring through the air or in the gyre with her. I must note that a few of the male voices (her cousin and Wick) didn't really sound distinctly different from each other to me but they still worked well. (Probably because each of the characters come heavily into play during mostly separate parts of the book.) There is singing in this book! So of course the narrator sings these parts. Be prepared - Kirit is known for how bad her signing is...so the narrator in turn gives us a very true to form performance. It didn't bother me but I can't help but note it because I found it funny that Khristine had to purposefully sing bad (not that I know what her real singing voice sounds like.) Overall, I highly recommend the audio edition whether you're an audio reader or not, and you know I will absolutely be reading the next book. More please now!
"Steampunk Styled City"
This one was a lot of fun. The narration was great, and the story was imaginative. The setting seemed rather steampunk - living "bone" cities and a culture based on flying. The main character has strong family ties and a passion for flying. (Flying is the main mode of transportation, and the basis of most trades.) This was a well written world, and definitely has a lot of political drama - sometimes a bit hard to listen to, since it's not a overly fair society. But the story is well told - and I highly recommend it!
"Short of its potential"
No. Although decently written, the timeline and world are not fleshed out. Although the lead character has complex relationships with the other characters, the world around her is short on detail, and by the end of the book seems smaller, literally.
The basic premise that people live above clouds on towers and fly to get from one place to another should present an challenge for food supply, water, and many other cultural, social, political, etc. aspects of life. None of this addressed properly.
And while the story unfolds, and there are some vague hints at what might possibly be the evolution of this society, it is oddly isolated. There is one city, and nobody mentions other cities or curiosity about other cities or the wider world.
It seems like the story that the lead character goes through is generic enough that we can relate, and what made me interested is the odd surrounding world, and yet that was disappointingly vague and lacking detail and context that many of the major characters would have been aware of.
This is a story for children, Mid-teens, 8th grade or so. That said I actually rather enjoyed it, good characters, plenty of action.
I listened to the whole thing. Liked the premise and the writing style was solid. But I found the main character's struggle hard to identify with, the worldbuilding full of holes, and the plot predictable. Despite monsters made of teeth, the main conflict has none. There are no real consequences or stakes. I was especially irritated that (Spoilers) nearly everyone who dies or is believed to be dead turns out not to be.
"Enjoyable story ... well worth the time"
This is enjoyable book. It is quality genre fiction and well worth the effort. I will definitely read more by this author ... she is in my watchlist.
To be fair, though, the story lacks 'the punch' of my absolute favorite audiobooks.
Dragons of Dorcastle (Jack Campbell). Both have a similar feel, similar stories and similar settings. Both feature youngsters who are highly skilled in their craft, on the verge of becoming masters in their fields. They are caught up in events on intriguingly different worlds facing similar types of challenges against a hidden corruption within the existing, trusted elements of society.
Kirit was the only character that was truly developed. She didn't so much 'grow' and flip between positions within the book, but the performance was enjoyable and the character memorable.
"An excellent read"
A novel concept with excellent character development
I'm not really one to pick a "favorite" character, all characters need to be plausible have motivations and be realistic to make a story work and these characters do. This book keeps reminding me of early David Brin, one of my all time favorite authors and I can see Fran has a bright future ahead in Science fiction
She is an excellent narrator and gives the impression of not only reading this story but being a part of it.
No, but it certainly kept me interested and is one of those books that you slow down for on the way home....so you can get to the end of the chapter or the next bit of the story.
the some of the flying bits were a tiny bit off-putting, Anybody with knowledge of flying will probably cringe on occasion at some fundamental aeronautical errors.....(like tacking into the wind)....A tiny bit of effort there would have added immensely to the story for those who can fly / have a basic aeronautical knowledge and lets face it, with a cover and blurb like that, it's going to appeal to people with an interest in flying.
"A Unique Setting but the Story Doesn't Quite Soar"
The setting of the book is unique and fun -- high above the clouds are bone towers and a spire where people live and fly on artificial wings. There are also monsters and a ruling class at odds with itself. Wilde's worldbuilding is fun and the characters are accessible, but the political intrigue and the overall story didn't quite soar for me the way I'd hoped. Some of the reveals, conflict, and villains fell a little flat for me.
That said, it's a book I'd be happy for my kids to listen to -- and one I suspect they'd enjoy hearing. Hvam's narration is unsurprisingly solid, and added an extra boost to the story.
In the end, I was happy to explore the Bone Universe for a book, but I'm not sure I'll make a second trip for the sequel.
"Fun. Different. Enthralling world!"
What a fun world to loose yourself in. You can easily fall in love with this place and never want to leave it. Can't wait to download the next book!
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