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Life, Law & Libros

Updraft by Fran Wilde ARC (2 stars)

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My rating system is far from perfect. Some books get 2 stars because they had significant failings that prevented me from liking them. Some books get 2 stars, not because there's anything horribly wrong with them, but just because I never fully connected. Like watching a horse race or baseball game, but without caring who wins. You watch, but you're not invested. On the bright side, since I didn't find anything horribly bad in this book, I'm confident plenty of readers will really enjoy it. :)


This ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Updraft by Fran Wilde
Series: 1 of ? (it does have a sequel)
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Published on September 1, 2015
Published by Tor Books
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
In a city of living bone rising high above the clouds, where danger hides in the wind and the ground is lost to legend, a young woman must expose a dangerous secret to save everyone she loves.

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.

Review:
Updraft revolves around lots of secrets, which means lots of tension. I had a little disconnect from the "big problems" of the story--probably because, for the most part, they felt so far removed or were dealt with too easily. Still, it's a fun, pretty engaging story. Once you discover the mysteries surrounding you, you want to know more.

The main character, Kirit, makes lots of mistakes and is somewhat impulsive and stubborn, but she creates forward momentum (and conflict) rather than waiting for things to happen to her and then reacting. She's always trying to find the angle, figure out what's going on around her, and how to survive. There is no romance, which makes total sense. There are so many secrets and other life-threatening stuff going on, it would be strange if the Kirit were concerned with romance.

I couldn't fully connect with the story because I was distracted; I have questions. They were not answered. What is up with this city? How high up are they? How do they breathe? Are the bone towers and spire growing out of some giant bone beast or turtle or dragon? Or is it an organic landmass? When the towers shake and the Conclave sends people off to be dropped into the clouds, is it to feed a giant monster, or is it just seismic activity or even a monster moving, but the sacrificed people have no effect on it? I know it's fantasy, but Kirit is so inquisitive about everything else, so I was disappointed when the author barely scratched the surface on any of these big points.

The ending is kind of anticlimactic--a bit of a deus ex machina. Everything goes horribly wrong, then it kind of pulls a Star Wars IV moment or two, and you're left with a somewhat open ending and the feeling that things will get better.

If you like the sound of people flying around everywhere and living in giant bone towers and are willing and able to shush those niggling questions about , give Updraft a try. 

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