The House of Shattered Wings: Hark! The Fallen Angels Sing

Title: The House of Shat­tered Wings

Author: Aliette de Bodard

Ele­va­tor pitch: A mys­te­ri­ous young man of unknown mag­i­cal ori­gin, strand­ed in Paris and cap­tured by the most pow­er­ful fall­en angel fac­tion, is forced to hunt a super­nat­ur­al killer.

Why did I pick this book up? Typ­i­cal­ly, I don’t read angel books. But I was will­ing to give fall­en angels in an alter­nate real­i­ty 1930s Paris a chance.

Main Char­ac­ters: Philippe is for­eign­er strand­ed in Paris try­ing to sur­vive with­out call­ing too much atten­tion to him­self. Then he gets caught try­ing to main­line fall­en angel blood, a high­ly addic­tive a pow­er­ful mag­ic-induc­ing drug.

Isabelle has the most recent, but fad­ing, con­nec­tion to Heav­en. She is the newest fall­en angel who hits the pave­ment in the first chap­ter and near­ly becomes sav­aged for her potent blood.

Selene inher­it­ed a bro­ken fac­tion when their great leader went for a walk and nev­er came back. She is in over her head and is des­per­ate­ly try­ing to hold her fac­tion togeth­er.

Made­line is the most capa­ble alchemist in the city, but also a tor­ment­ed angel-drug addict try­ing to for­get the hor­ri­ble things that have hap­pened to her dur­ing her ser­vice to angels.

Thoughts and Mus­ings
Have you ever watched a movie where the two hours lead­ing up to the end­ing cred­its feel like pro­logue, and you think “This is where the movie should have start­ed. Right here. This would be real­ly inter­est­ing to see what hap­pens next.” This sto­ry begins after The End.

The House of Shat­tered Wings is an after­math sto­ry. It’s set in an alter­nate Paris dur­ing the 1930s where the fall­en angels of Heav­en have set up an empire, near­ly destroyed them­selves and every­one else in a civ­il war between fac­tions, and their great­est leader has dis­ap­peared. The main events lead­ing up to the sto­ry have already hap­pened, and now the char­ac­ters are deal­ing with the fall­out. It’s like read­ing about Rome in the imme­di­ate years after its col­lapse.

Start­ing here is a big risk for the author to take. What­ev­er comes next has to be at least as com­pelling as all the back­sto­ry. I think against the odds, it works.

At its core, The House of Shat­tered Wings is sim­ple who-done-it mys­tery. Someone/something is killing peo­ple and the char­ac­ters have to find and stop the killer. Com­pared to the back­sto­ry, this doesn’t sound near­ly as inter­est­ing. How­ev­er, Bodard sur­rounds the mys­tery with lay­ers on lay­ers of com­pli­cat­ed pol­i­tics, ques­tions of faith, con­flict­ing rela­tion­ships, and inter­sect­ing world mytholo­gies. And as the mys­tery begins to unrav­el, it inter­sects with sev­er­al pre-nov­el plot­lines. This inter­sec­tion helps keep the main sto­ry­line as com­pelling as the pre-book sto­ry­line.

House of Shat­tered wings is the first in a series, but it works as a solo nov­el. The end­ing has a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion. When the next book comes out, I’ll pick it up.

Please, share your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Site Secured By:

Gravityscan Badge

%d bloggers like this: