Black Wings Beating by Alex London
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Thank you, Macmillan, for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
There was an invisible tether that bound them to each other. Each of them was the falcon, each the falconer.
Have you ever read a book reminiscent of Pokemon? Because I couldn’t help but imagine the domesticated birds in this book as Pidgey, Spearow, and their evolved forms. Moreover, Brysen and Kylee were on a quest to find a ghost eagle, which was virtually a legendary Pokemon like Articuno. Basically, it was my first time to encounter such a bird-centric novel, so I had a fascinating time reading Black Wings Beating.
Besides its outstanding premise, this book had a very interesting setting wherein people were either Uztari or Altari. The former loved the sky and all its creatures, while the latter loved the earth and its resources. Given their opposite passions, these two clans were in perpetual conflict. Some Altari became Kartami, extremists who desired to eliminate everyone who loved the sky and trained birds. All these things contributed to the book’s intricate world-building. Still, be warned that the first 50 pages could be info-dumpy. Hopefully, the finished copy will have a helpful glossary. Otherwise, you might be annoyed by all the unfamiliar terms.
As a fan of family dynamics in YA, I also enjoyed how this book emphasized the bond between siblings. Contrary to popular belief, not all twins get along so well. Jealousy and resentment caused Brysen and Kylee to have frequent disagreements. Fortunately, the twins managed to mend their relationship after confessing their dark secrets. Kylee’s was so easy to guess, and it became one of the reasons for my rating. Although she did it to save a loved one, I couldn’t believe that she had the guts to commit such a crime. What a tragedy!
Among all the characters, Brysen was the least likable. He tended to be envious, impulsive, and downright naive. I really disliked that he risked his life for someone so shallow and manipulative. In the end, his motivation for catching the ghost eagle was pathetic. I’m pretty sure that other readers will be triggered by the unhealthy romance in this book. Ugh, if only Brysen had been wiser in choosing a lover.
In the end, Black Wings Beating was predominantly entertaining, especially because it appealed to my fondness for Pokemon. It was my first time to read an Alex London novel, so my reading experience was a bit enlightening. However, don’t expect to meet characters who will steal your heart.