Oh hey.. it’s been a while! I’m a Doctor now, lol (but seriously tis true and definitely crazy).
Anyway, I’ve had the chance to read a few books FOR FUN, soul enrichment and entertainment ect. ect recently and it’s been great! I do a lot of endless note writing in the real though so i’m gonna try to be a new and improved shorter blog version of my previous self (so far this is not going well).
Ah well, without further ado:
I read Black Wings Beating this past weekend and it was NOT what I expected, which is a little odd because I didn’t read any blurbs, plot summaries or ARC reviews (which is pretty much my jam these days: 1) buy book 2) read if I have time 3) ask questions later). So I had essentially zero information (except that the cover was AH-MAZ-ING) so I don’t know what I thought i was going to read?? Doesn’t matter though, this was not what I thought it would be and tbh it took me a few chapters to adjust to that.
Once I did however I was glad for the experience. This was not an easy book. It is a book FULL of detail, emotions and rich world building.. but it wasn’t easy. Why?? Well.. the easiest answer is that the male MC was a whole lotta ugly. If you are looking for a functional sibling relationship full of love and protection this isn’t it… not on the surface at least & not in this book per se.
Sure, the female MC Kylee is protective sister X10,000 trying to hold everyone and everything together (a fact that I think rubs some the wrong way but that didn’t bother me) but her twin brother Brysen is a mess. Not the beautiful, tragic hero kind (though his story is truly painfully tragic) it’s more the day to day reality of chronic abuse and jealousy kind. And man have I SEEN that. I see it often in “troubled” kids/teens with complex devastating stories of neglect & abuse. The ones for whom the system may (not always) scale mountains (or at least show sympathy) when they are young, cute & helpless but as they grow and the deeply seeded flaws grow into dark damaging monsters we don’t know how to handle it, not because we are all terrible but because it can be damn complicated! And the way forward isn’t clear. Brysen, for example is cognizant of the pain he causes his sister. He knows he is punishing her and he even seems to sooth his own depression and anxiety by doing so. He is also old enough to “know better”. He COULD make other choices, but he doesn’t. It’s hard to feel for him and even harder to imagine a way for him to heal. Which was SO REAL, his story, his ugliness and the consequences were hauntingly realistic for all the fantasy packaging (which I love). I don’t have any idea where London plans to go with his story.. I suspect his character arc will continue to progress to a place that allows for a more whole relationship with his sister & hopefully one self forgiveness.. but I sort of doubt he will come away magically healed by love or whatnot. Yes, there is a loving/healthy relationship setup going on with a blessedly not-an-asshole boy but I don’t expect that to be the answer to his demons. At least I hope not. What I want is for this character is to get to a place where he is beginning to develop a sense of self worth and self forgiveness so that he can extend those feelings to others and they to him. Regardless though, I have been a fan of London since Proxy and I trust him to tell the story that this character and this story needs.
And then there’s Kylee; for all that she is the more obviously sympathetic (and likable) character she is not without demons that are hurting herself and others. Though her actions have seemingly noble origins, in shouldering the entirety of the blame for her brother’s behavior and well-being she ultimatly does not take responsibility for her own mental health nor does she face her own sins. Thus she allows herself to be held in place by the idea of protecting her family (whom she truly does care for) while holding her bitterness and anger for both mother and brother in the deepest recesses of her heart. Truthfully I kind of love the moral and emotional dichotomy that presents. It makes her character complex but also deeply relatable if one is willing to look for the hidden flaws of noble sacrifice within themselves.
So yeah… this story is complicated, sticky, tangled & challenging. But if you dive in it has a lot to offer on the subject of human nature, mental health and imperfect familial love.
And on top of that it presents a truly unique fantasy style world complete w/complex religious constructs—> unrest —> brewing war and a vibrant set of cultures (OMG Owl Mothers!!!!!!! They obviously have all kinds of political motivations but they provided my FAVORITE quote about only those who provide life may take it. Can this be a rule we all follow in the real world?? Not that women aren’t murderous buuuuttttt… IDK I feel like if we made all the life & death & war decisions the world might be a different shape.
But I’m a momma myself now too (oh yah, that ALSO happened!) and I am biased. But also viciously protective of the life I’ve brought into the world.
Anyway, I hope you give this book a chance, it’s truly fascinating and it was SO exciting to have another YA book out in the universe from this author. Thanks for stopping by!
Dr. LJ 😉