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[personal profile] booksofafeather
Short review: An amazing book, about books and stories, about longing, and about wings. A book within a book, and "a book within a book within a book" in a sense... you won't understand until you reach the end... it's a philosophical book feeling similar to The Alchemist or Le Petit Prince, so, if you like those, you might love this. This book is deep poetry, doesn't hold back from being harsh, and will hurt your heart.... Because of the ending, it's not the kind of book I would recommend normally for winged people, but, what comes up to that point is beautiful, though harsh, so worth reading anyway. Just be wary... hold your heart close.

Writing: The writing is like nothing else I have read. Everything is mystery, philosophy, magic, and wrapped in many meanings... nothing is said in a literal way and it makes the text thick and heavy with poetry, though it's easy to read still. It's so poetic, that it becomes a little much sometimes... it reads like it was meant to be spoken aloud, for the beauty of the words, which makes sense, because of the theme of the book.

From a winged person's perspective...: The winged people in this book are not seen much, but they drive the story and they are beautiful. They perch to sleep and fly in their dreams, treating flying as an art and a lost heritage... they are not human, and I love them. All through the book too, it keeps returning to them, to dreams of the air and flight, and bird metaphors, and you don't feel that the winged people are far from the story even when they are not in it. The book is very poetic, and that poetry is used to describe the winged people too of course.

The one thing that might be negative about the story for winged people (other than the things in "Trigger warnings") is that the main character doesn't want wings to have wings, but wants them so that he can be with the girl he loves. Well, it's not wholly true, he does want them for what they are, but... it's complicated. You can believe that he has a good motive, at least until the very end. Then, it gets more doubtful. If you want to be super safe, read "More thoughts", but, it will spoil the story.

Trigger warnings: Violence, lots of sexual content (described in poetic ways but very obvious), cruel treatment of bird bodies, detailed descriptions of birds cooked as food, stealing bird eggs to eat. Prostitution, cannibalism. It also might be triggery for people with eating disorders.

More thoughts...: Wow... if I can say nothing else about this book, it's a beautifully crafted work of art. As I was making notes on it, I noticed the themes carefully woven all through it... the way that love and death are tied together over and over, the way that books and stories fold in on themselves. As a philosophy book, with many reflections on life found in each poetic sentence, it's almost as good as The Alchemist or Le Petit Prince... I'm sure that if you like to read fantasy style philosophy, you know that it's high praise! The poetry does trip over itself sometimes... becoming so intense that it feels awkward a little... but, it's so beautiful, you can forgive it for that.

This book looks on the cover a lot like a young adult novel about flying, but, it's really a lot more mature than those and has many mature themes. I'm 16, and I read this book and I think it's fine, and I believe strongly in treating young people as people, who are allowed to make their own choices, mistakes and discoveries. So, when I say "it's not a young adult book" I don't mean "don't let young adults read it", but, "if you have been reading a lot of "normal" young adult books, you should know that this is more intense". It's very sexual (not in a tasteless way, not described in detail, but it's strongly sexual at the same time), and very violent. Hearing this, you would think it's some kind of horror book, but actually, it's dreamlike and beautiful in feeling... it's only that it doesn't turn away from the reality of life.

So... knowing that... the one other thing I want to say about the book is that the ending is very disappointing for anyone who loves flying more than anything. The book starts out, and continues all the way through, like it knows what flying is worth, but then at the end is the feeling that it doesn't know at all. But, it's just the very end. You can get through almost all this book without reading that part and still have a beautiful experience. And the rest of the book is worth it. If you are able to see an ending like that and not mind it, or if you are able to "not think of the ending as real", then, by all means, read this book.

Because of that, I can't give it five out of five, but, I don't think I can give it less than four and a half out of five, either. And, even though the one flying message comes out a little weak at the very end... the other messages in the book are really amazing. If you want to read something a little different from the normal young adult novels about flying, something that will inspire you and make you think in poetry... then read this.
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