Black Wings Beating by Alex London
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Macmillan on September 25, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Romance, Siblings, Young Adult
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.
This was my first Alex London book, and it definitely won’t be my last. I picked this up and read it in less than 24 hours. I was just completely enthralled with the world and characters London has created with this story.
Twins, Brysen and Kylee live with their mother on the outskirts of Six Villages. Brysen wants only to become a famous falconer and Kylee wants just the opposite, to be free of the debt they acquired upon the death of their father and falconry all together.
Brysen has spent his early years ducking his father’s fists quite unsuccessfully, while Kylee tried to protect him as much as she could, but there is a huge divide between them that was apparent from the start of this story.
When the boy Brysen loves life is threatened, he’s determined to do whatever he can to save him… that means he has to head up the mountains and catch the Ghost Eagle, the very bird that killed his father. But the village is on the brink of war, and as they head up the mountain they aren’t alone and Kylee and Brysen find that despite the many issues between them, they still need each other.
I really loved the world building with this story. The falconry aspect was fascinating to me and it’s apparent that London did his research! The characters were intriguing and if you know me, you know I love reading other people’s interpretations of the relationships of twins. I do have to say that I kind of struggled with Brysen a bit. He had some pretty bad tunnel vision about the guy he was so determined to risk his life over, and I kind of saw the ending twist coming early on. I hope to see a bit more growth in his character in the next book.
Kylee was intriguing to me. She had this gift that her brother would kill for, and she was determined not to use it. I think it made a lot more sense to me as I read on, where you got a bit more visibility into how not being able to control the words could cause more harm than good.
Overall, this story was a departure from my most recent reads and I think that’s why I really was so intrigued. The plot is unique, the world is really well crafted and the story is so well told and filled with action. If you are a fan of fantasy and love unique stories, then I highly recommend grabbing this one upon release. I can’t end this without mentioning that cover at least once! It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to get a finished copy on my bookshelves.
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.