Black Wings Beating (Skybound #1)
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.

Black Wings Beating (Skybound #1) Details

TitleBlack Wings Beating (Skybound #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 25th, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN-139780374306823
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Lgbt

Black Wings Beating (Skybound #1) Review

  • Adam Silvera
    January 1, 1970
    OFFICIAL BLURB: "BLACK WINGS BEATING takes the fantasy genre to soaring new heights with its epic thrills, heart-punching romance, and a marvel of a hero."So happy I got to read BWB early. Alex London does some one-of-a-kind storytelling here. (While waiting for this one, I definitely recommend checking out his futuristic thrillers PROXY and GUARDIAN. I really love those books too!)
    more
  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    At first glance, this may seem like an original tale. (The cover sure is.) After all, who knew birds could play such a huge role in a story.But the more I read, the less impressed I became. I did find the idea of training birds for different purposes interesting, and even fighting an opponent for money along with your trained bird.Except, when it came time to discuss the war that may or may not happen, I was like, ‘‘Here we go again.’’ Perhaps it’s bad timing, perhaps I would have liked this mor At first glance, this may seem like an original tale. (The cover sure is.) After all, who knew birds could play such a huge role in a story.But the more I read, the less impressed I became. I did find the idea of training birds for different purposes interesting, and even fighting an opponent for money along with your trained bird.Except, when it came time to discuss the war that may or may not happen, I was like, ‘‘Here we go again.’’ Perhaps it’s bad timing, perhaps I would have liked this more if I had read it some other time, because the last 10 fantasy books I read all had war settings.Then again, I did expect it. The word ‘‘war’’ was clearly there in the synopsis. But the reasons for war in this story are by no means different from so many other fantasy books. Besides, even if in the beginning the idea of a ‘‘mystic’’ bird held my attention, it turns out that birds all not all that interesting.To add to the disappointment, I could not take these characters seriously. Brysen is in love with a jerk who doesn’t even believe in him and is the kind of person to make tons of bad decisions. I thought I would connect to his sister Kylee, but this girl who appeared pretty kickass in the beginning ended up behaving so stupidly I couldn’t believe my eyes.I mean, when you make your characters do stupid things only so your story can go in the direction you want it to, it’s really hard to take you seriously. Kylee was aware of what she was doing, so why would she have made transparent her abilities like that. Nope, I don’t buy it.I did like the action scenes and writing, but none of the characters spoke to me and, instead of being captivated by the war setting, its predictability left me unmoved. Not all bad, but I do recommend this author’s other YA series PROXY a little more. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
    more
  • Mackenzi
    January 1, 1970
    Hi, I love this book.
  • Ari
    January 1, 1970
    I've been waiting for his next book after PROXY & GUARDIAN like forever....
  • Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    A new and gay Alex London book iconic
  • Shelflove
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book so much! The writing was just exquisite and to die for! Unlike anything, I have ever read before!
  • Marielle
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to a giveaway at my amazing independent bookstore, I got the chance to read this unbelievably awesome book before it actually gets released! This was one of the most amazing, well crafted worlds I've read in a long time. And you get all the intricacies of this without a lot of words. But you don't need them. You understand everything fully, as you follow along with Kylee and Brysen (who are impossible not to fall in love with). My only complaint: because I read this book early I now have Thanks to a giveaway at my amazing independent bookstore, I got the chance to read this unbelievably awesome book before it actually gets released! This was one of the most amazing, well crafted worlds I've read in a long time. And you get all the intricacies of this without a lot of words. But you don't need them. You understand everything fully, as you follow along with Kylee and Brysen (who are impossible not to fall in love with). My only complaint: because I read this book early I now have to wait even longer for the next book in this series!
    more
  • Sylvie Bower
    January 1, 1970
    YES THIS IS A SERIES THANK GOD
  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    I gave this one a good ol' college try with an awesome cover and some falconry but there wasn't much of a story to build that I realized I wasn't getting in to it and skimmed through until the end and realized I didn't miss much for it's thickness. It really only moved a tick forward in creating a series that could have probably been an awesome and thoughtful retelling standalone but instead gives it up to being another derivative series.
    more
  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    You've never read a fantasy quite like thisOfficial blurbage to come :D
  • Jessica Mae
    January 1, 1970
    The description had me at “falconry”. Holy freaking falcons Batman, I’m looking forward to reading this!
  • CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars! This is a dark, fascinating YA fantasy that didn't quite meet my (admittedly high) expectations. I loved the world-building of this dangerous place on the brink of war that revolves around falconry and birds of prey as status and commerce. It felt completely new and unique as far as a fantasy world goes. None of the usual dwarves and elves, etc., although there is an epic quest! Who doesn't love an epic quest. One of my favourite things about this book was the writing. I was impressed 3.5 Stars! This is a dark, fascinating YA fantasy that didn't quite meet my (admittedly high) expectations. I loved the world-building of this dangerous place on the brink of war that revolves around falconry and birds of prey as status and commerce. It felt completely new and unique as far as a fantasy world goes. None of the usual dwarves and elves, etc., although there is an epic quest! Who doesn't love an epic quest. One of my favourite things about this book was the writing. I was impressed with how London seamlessly integrated the mentality and mythology of the world he created both in the language the characters use and in the language used to tell the story. Some beautiful metaphors and sayings involving birds and falconry were scattered throughout the book, but never in a way that felt unnatural or like London was trying too hard.I loved Kylee, one of the two main characters. She has a special ability to speak the ancient language of birds, but it's a gift she's always resisted since falconry has been tainted for her by her abusive father. She's tough, smart, compassionate, and complex. I've seen some readers reading her as ace, which I definitely saw, as well as aromantic. I wish the book had been more explicit about this, and that it hadn't had people who apparently know her well nudging her to reciprocate the feelings of a boy who likes her. This felt especially odd considering the world didn't seem to have homophobia (another point on its own which is very cool! I love when SF/F chooses to do that!). I hope her identities are explored more and affirmed in further books. (This is the first of a series).Her brother Brysen, the other main character, though, I have to admit I kind of disliked. I had a hard time connecting with him and resented how his actions negatively affected Kylee. He's selfish, reckless, impulsive, and wracked with jealousy over Kylee's abilities, all qualities that lead to a relationship with his sister where she's constantly making up for his shortcomings, fixing his mistakes, and protecting him. I would have really preferred a sibling dynamic where their strengths and weaknesses could have balanced each other, instead of having this lopsided situation where the girl is given all the responsibility of making sure their expedition is a success while her brother thoughtlessly chases glory and the love of a guy who is clearly a douchebag. It just felt a little too... familiar in the patriarchal way.I mean, I'm all for gay characters not having to live up to some impossible standard of goodness. I also appreciate how the story doesn't focus on Brysen's queerness at all, although his bad taste in guys in one of his flaws that propels the plot forward. And I understand that many of his negative qualities can be connected to having borne the brunt of his father's horrific physical abuse. However, London chooses to construct the character with that background and my feeling sick at the abuse on Brysen's behalf didn't endear him to me as a character. I'm not sure giving a character that kind of intense childhood trauma is a good way to redeem him in the eyes of readers. Maybe that wasn't what London was doing?Not being able to empathize with one of the two main characters definitely put damper in my enthusiasm for the book at times. Overall though: a very exciting new addition to queer YA that I mostly very much enjoyed.Content warnings: some fairly graphic (for a YA) violence and suicide ideation
    more
  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so much fun and so creative! It’s like an epic falconry treasure hunt! This book has the best written sibling dynamic than any other book I’ve read. It perfectly describes what it’s like to have a brother or sister and to love them so unconditionally. The world building was incredible and the story sucks you right in. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun book with action, romance, and all the drama!
    more
  • Kath ☽ novelandfolk
    January 1, 1970
    Hi, this sounds amazing and the cover is glorious.ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Just gorgeous. With bonus monster birds.
  • Kath (Read Forevermore)
    January 1, 1970
    An arc of this book was sent to me by Fierce Reads (FSG) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.OKAY! WOW! I AM S H O C K E D! This book was just THAT good!I came into this book a little hesitant due to my past experiences with diverse fantasy books. But this book just came in and swooped all that hesitation away. It blew my mind.In this book, Alex London has created a unique and fascinating world with characters that are so well developed and easy to connect with An arc of this book was sent to me by Fierce Reads (FSG) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.OKAY! WOW! I AM S H O C K E D! This book was just THAT good!I came into this book a little hesitant due to my past experiences with diverse fantasy books. But this book just came in and swooped all that hesitation away. It blew my mind.In this book, Alex London has created a unique and fascinating world with characters that are so well developed and easy to connect with. The characters were so beautifully created, and my heart was happy when I saw that there were diverse characters in a fantasy book that didn't make me want to cringe or bang my head against the wall. I just love them so much!! The characters also seemed humanlike, and didn't have the godlike over-exaggerationess (I'm pretty sure that doesn't make sense, but you know what I mean lol) that I seem to run into in fantasy books. Throughout this story, I found myself being so well engaged with the plot and everything this book had to offer. I can definitely say I was on the edge of my seat for the most part while reading this, it was so unpredictable (in a good way) and very compelling. And the last thing I have to commend is the writing, because wow! It's definitely a style I haven't read before. Very exquisite and the story-telling is just PERFECT!I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone! And if you're a fantasy reader, PICK THIS BOOK UP and YOUR MIND WILL BE BLOWN AWAY, goodnight.
    more
  • Katya
    January 1, 1970
    Compelling, classically paced fantasy -- violent and unpredictable, full of falcons and fierce attachments. Love the brother and sister pair at the center of the story, and their fraught alliance.
  • Megan Manzano
    January 1, 1970
    I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS AFTER THIS. FULL REVIEW TO COME.
  • Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    Ok, first things first. Alex London is a new to me author. I haven't read any of his previous works before. And I am a total cover lover. This cover Drew me in, piqued my interest. And I love birds. (Ok I love almost all animals. But something about birds... I love reading about them.) And this blurb had me wanting to know what happens...Brysen and Kylee are twins living in the Six Villages. Brysen strives to be a great falconer. And his sister Kylee rejects the ancient gifts she has, hoping to Ok, first things first. Alex London is a new to me author. I haven't read any of his previous works before. And I am a total cover lover. This cover Drew me in, piqued my interest. And I love birds. (Ok I love almost all animals. But something about birds... I love reading about them.) And this blurb had me wanting to know what happens...Brysen and Kylee are twins living in the Six Villages. Brysen strives to be a great falconer. And his sister Kylee rejects the ancient gifts she has, hoping to be free from falconry. Brysen journeys up the treacherous mountian, his sister following suit to help keep him safe, to try to trap the Ghost Eagle- the greatest and most hard to capture bird, while a war towards their village, no bird or falconer will be safe from. Can these siblings master catching the great Ghost Eagle? Or will they die in the very same Talons as their father had? Both the twins and Eagle are hunted by those who only seek power amongst themselves, can either be saved? I will admit it was a bit of a slow start for me, and in fact took me three tries to get into it. But I think it was only because I am a mood reader, and the first two tries I just wasn't in the mood for a fantasy novel. Once I got into it I really enjoyed it. It was a great read about siblings who would do anything for love, and for each other, even if it meant they died protecting those they loved. They made friends and enemies along the way and did something no one else could. They conquered against the odds stacked against themonly to be faced with even more challenges ahead. I can't wait to find out what else these twins have in store for them. Over all it was a great read. I connected with Brynsen - and felt for him. And I loved how strong and caring his sister Kylee was. They rose up from the ashes of their lives like pheonixes, giving hope to the village that maybe they all can survive the threat of war. 4⭐ out of 5⭐. 
    more
  • Jo Ladzinski
    January 1, 1970
    Read as an ARC picked up at ALA AC 2018Like birds? Like journeys? Like impossible quests? Are twins your thing? How about compelling relationships between, well, everyone? Look no further than this fantasy YA about twins Brysen and Kylee on a quest to catch the dangerous ghost eagle and the friends they make along the way.My bird, was I moved by the end of this book. Kylee and Brysen's familial love and devotion to each other is so tangible. Kylee is the one with all the gifts and Brysen is the Read as an ARC picked up at ALA AC 2018Like birds? Like journeys? Like impossible quests? Are twins your thing? How about compelling relationships between, well, everyone? Look no further than this fantasy YA about twins Brysen and Kylee on a quest to catch the dangerous ghost eagle and the friends they make along the way.My bird, was I moved by the end of this book. Kylee and Brysen's familial love and devotion to each other is so tangible. Kylee is the one with all the gifts and Brysen is the wayward son who literally needs a blanket and for someone to be on his side. I found both their arcs so meaningful, both in the context of their quest and in quieter moments. The beginning does so much great set up, leading to the easiest world-building I've read in a while. These kids are a product of the society around them and so much careful detail went into all aspects. In addition, the ARC had no map and it was so easy to follow their journey. The world is so thoroughly realized.I acknowledge that this is the first in a series, but I really want to see more of the Owl Mothers and how they play into the the world of Uztar. Their introduction and involvement was so cool. In addition, the reveal towards the end was a little predictable, but it added such a layer to the plot moving forward that I was on board regardless.An stunning journey with a heart-wrenching relationship between brother and sister, definitely one to look out for in Fall 2018.
    more
  • Shelumiel Delos Santos
    January 1, 1970
    Black Wings Beating is SO good! It is so much more than I hoped for, and that says a lot, given how much I love the Proxy duology. It is EPIC and GRIPPING and EXCEEDINGLY ORIGINAL. It is QUEER in the most beautiful of ways.It is a story of power and bravery. Of longing and heroism. Of hurt. Of betrayal. Of forgiveness. It is a story of political intrigues and the fierce, complicated bond between siblings. All grounded in love.Like Brysen’s goshawk, I needed no tethering. I was drawn to the story Black Wings Beating is SO good! It is so much more than I hoped for, and that says a lot, given how much I love the Proxy duology. It is EPIC and GRIPPING and EXCEEDINGLY ORIGINAL. It is QUEER in the most beautiful of ways.It is a story of power and bravery. Of longing and heroism. Of hurt. Of betrayal. Of forgiveness. It is a story of political intrigues and the fierce, complicated bond between siblings. All grounded in love.Like Brysen’s goshawk, I needed no tethering. I was drawn to the story—a raptor trained to return to its master.Do not let this fly under your radars!
    more
  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    #Edelweiss #MustRead2018Alex London has an intriguing young adult novel with winged monsters, twins, and it's a series. I really enjoyed this novel. I am not going to recap the synopsis. If you are a fan of this author, you will enjoy it just on the premise. If you are not a fan, you will be after reading this novel. It hooks you in and sinks it's talons.
    more
  • L.C. Perry
    January 1, 1970
    I NEED THIS BOOK. WHY DON'T I HAVE THIS BOOK YET????GAAAAAAAHHHHHHH*flips table*
  • Rummanah (Books in the Spotlight)
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed for Voya Magazine.
  • E M
    January 1, 1970
    alexander london has done it again. amazing world building and a unique concept. A+ characters that i cannot wait to see again—beautiful in terms of its thoughtful attention to creating lush and beautifully diverse characters in a way that makes it clear that being human happens in innumerable ways and that being different than what may be traditionally expected of a person is not a spectacle but a natural part of life.i have been waiting for new YA from alex london for FOREVER and this exceeded alexander london has done it again. amazing world building and a unique concept. A+ characters that i cannot wait to see again—beautiful in terms of its thoughtful attention to creating lush and beautifully diverse characters in a way that makes it clear that being human happens in innumerable ways and that being different than what may be traditionally expected of a person is not a spectacle but a natural part of life.i have been waiting for new YA from alex london for FOREVER and this exceeded my (very very high) expectations. read it so fast that i kind of regret it (except not really because it was too good to regret anything about it). now the wait commences for the next one. can’t wait. 😍(i am immensely thankful to have gotten my hands on an arc so i could have the opportunity to read this majesty early. look out for this one, everyone. it’s a good one.)
    more
  • Casey Jo
    January 1, 1970
    OMG! London's writing is frighteningly visceral. Who is this dude? I'm so ready for #2.A world where falconry is deeply woven into the culture, and a family with a messed-up Dad and two siblings who learn to grow beyond that. And I LOVE that queerness is an unremarkable part of this world. YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!(view spoiler)[The chosen-one-who-doesn't-want-it-and-unchosen-one-who-does is certainly a motif, but it's well done. Not derivative at all. And I love that it's the girl who's chosen a OMG! London's writing is frighteningly visceral. Who is this dude? I'm so ready for #2.A world where falconry is deeply woven into the culture, and a family with a messed-up Dad and two siblings who learn to grow beyond that. And I LOVE that queerness is an unremarkable part of this world. YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!(view spoiler)[The chosen-one-who-doesn't-want-it-and-unchosen-one-who-does is certainly a motif, but it's well done. Not derivative at all. And I love that it's the girl who's chosen and the boy who's "second best". I mean, surely he'll come into his own, but I'm liking this start. (hide spoiler)]
    more
  • Ada
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn't for me. The beginning was really clunky and it didn't pick up until over halfway through. I couldn't relate to either of the main characters, and all of the twists were super predictable.
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! I was so pulled into this book that I had trouble doing other things, because all I wanted to do was read it! I described this to someone as Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun meets Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series. (And as someone who adored both of those, that's high praise!) This fantasy book (the first in what I hope will be a long series) takes place in a bird-centric world. Those who can "tame" the birds (falconers) have some power, whether an ability to win money or to vanquish one Wow! I was so pulled into this book that I had trouble doing other things, because all I wanted to do was read it! I described this to someone as Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun meets Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series. (And as someone who adored both of those, that's high praise!) This fantasy book (the first in what I hope will be a long series) takes place in a bird-centric world. Those who can "tame" the birds (falconers) have some power, whether an ability to win money or to vanquish one's enemies. Our two protagonists are twins (Kaylee and Brysen), and I loved how we are thrust into the story but are instantly curious about who these characters are. I talked with my 7th grade students this year about a character-driven vs. a plot-driven novel, and this is definitely both -- there's a quest and various stops along the way, but you also learn more and more about the twins and what makes them tick. The journey is what reminded me of Alexander's Prydain series.We gather right away that each of them has a secret they're carrying (actually, more than one), and I was eager to learn what had happened. This is the part that reminded me so much of Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun -- we want to peel back the layers of the twins and find out what has made them who they are. Of course, a wonderful thing about well-written characters is that you might think you know them, but then you find out you don't quite yet. I had so many questions as I read that would be answered later. It delighted me to keep finding out more. And London's writing shimmers. His descriptions of the birds always painted a vivid picture in my mind, and his characters are realistic and thoughtfully portrayed. An example of a bit that stuck with me: "Self-loathing wasn't a solitary hunter. It formed a flock with every unkind thought it could find, and then, like crows, they mobbed." (Page 89 of my copy)I am deeply thankful to have obtained an ARC of this, and I can't wait to share the book with students, relatives, and friends when it comes out in September. (And then I'm excited to have conversations with them about it!) It's a beautiful start to a series I'm now giddily anticipating!
    more
  • Charlene
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! I am in love with this novel. It's the first in a series and I'm definitely eager to read book two. Since this is an ARC and the title isn't releasing until October 2018, I have a lengthy wait ahead of me. In this novel, the author has created a world and characters that are fascinating and easy to connect with. I was invested in the story from really early on. A must read. Longer review to come closer to publication date.
    more
  • Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
    January 1, 1970
    OK I'm torn about this book you guys. So the world is interesting and the girl twin is an interesting character with cool powers, but the other twin? I couldn't stand him-- he was whiny and sad and not likeable in the least. The book felt very much like just a prologue to what was to follow, but it was hard for me to get through this book since I wasn't very invested in the plot or that main character. Not sure I'm sticking around for the rest of this trilogy.
    more
Write a review