booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
So sorry about the absent reviews recently m(_ _)m My problem in doing it, is, I have a very bad memory. And so, reading any book I want to review, I have to take notes constantly. Somehow, this is taking away from the enjoyment of the book... so... I have not been doing the reviews so much recently.

But, I decided that to do it in a different structure is better than nothing, right? So, this review is a little different from normal, not so much structure, but, just writing about it. I hope you like it anyway m(_ _)m

I'm going to talk about three books here: Murkmere and Ambergate by Patricia Elliott, and, The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson.


All three of these books focus on swan maidens (though, Ambergate is the companion book to Murkmere, and, follows the character Scuff from that first book, but, the swan maiden plot also returns in it). And, they are all very beautiful in writing, with some dark haunting feeling and some fascinating ideas. Particularly, the bird-focused religion in Murkmere and Ambergate is very interesting, unique, and, gives an atmosphere to the books, as well as being the frame for much of the plot.

All the books also have a strong and interesting female as the main character, and, particularly, I like the character of Leah in Murkmere, a high-born but wild-hearted girl with a personality and nature that is an exact echo of the swan. Any swan-kin out there, will see something from themselves definitely in her I think, in her fierce and dangerous beauty that cannot be tamed. Doucette in The Swan Maiden is also similar... a kind girl, and yet, she has that alien, swan nature, that pulls her away from human life and human love, afraid to be trapped.

The other thing that all of these books have in common is a very strong and positive idea of what a swan maiden is like. Like I said before, the swan maiden characters in the books have a feeling about them that rings true... being a swan maiden myself, I know this. Unlike some characters in certain books I reviewed, who don't react in any strong way about losing their wings, the swan maidens in both books are fiercely possessive of their swanskins, and, over many threats to take it from them, you can see and feel the pain in their hearts. (This might be quite triggering, in all three of the books I mention.) The swanskins, the wings, the flying, are treated like their souls... if you have ever read His Dark Materials series, and you know how the armoured bears treat their armour, then, you have some idea of how it is in these books. As it should be, as it should be.

I'm also happy to say, that none of the books end with messages about giving up your swan nature to be with someone you love. Some spoilers for the endings, trying to keep it mild ) That is part of what makes me review all these books together... they all have such heart and understanding, about being a swan girl who is not really human, about needing (not just wanting, but, needing) magic, about the fear of being trapped without the skin, how they will not give it up for anything.

There is an absolute wild heart in all of these books, and, they are definitely worth reading. I will say, that The Swan Maiden does have some slightly negative thoughts on magic, but, also some very positive ones, and, the transformation parts are beautiful, and will give you shivers for sure. I don't think there's anything to regret about Murkmere, and Ambergate is fun to read with only a handful of small parts that feel a little slow. I can definitely say, that these books all deserve five out of five... that score does not mean "perfect", because, no book is perfect, but, it means "this has so much deep content about being a bird person, you shouldn't miss it if you are one". Especially for any other swans out there, but, also bird people in general.
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: This is a companion book to an art exhibit by Peter Greenaway, which was held at the Louvre in 1992. It's fitting for a book on an art exhibit that the writing is lovely, thoughtful and philosophical. Your opinion of the art will very depending on your taste of course, but, the comments on it truly spark some really fascinating thoughts for anyone winged. Much of the pictures don't seem like they really have anything to do with the subject, but, Greenaway is creative and the ideas he draws out of the paintings definitely make you think twice. Absolutely must have in any winged person's collection... if you can afford it.

Writing: The writing is wonderful, asking many interesting philosophical questions, while following a journey through art from the ground, to the sky, and then falling to the ground again. The writer treats the book as catalogue of philosophical flying instructions, containing secrets how we might fly, and presents this in a very serious way. There's also a lot of beautiful art to enjoy obviously.

From a winged person's perspective...: Of course, this book is all about the winged. The writer understands the longing for flying, how no machine will do, our offspring will not do... we must fly. He understands that false flying portrayals make us feel let down. Really, the book is all about that longing for flight, treated as a very serious thing. The "story" of the book, as much as it has a story, has a negative message about flight in the end, but it's such a beautiful journey and the negative message seems to be more about showing all the possibilities and angles that artists have treated flight, not making a judgment.

Trigger warnings: Graphic description of dead bird. Detached wings in a picture. Association of flight with negative pride, detailed descriptions of failing of flight.

More thoughts... )

Free Fall

May. 17th, 2011 04:17 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A beautiful picture story, this book has no words at all so it's up to the reader to decide what is happening. It's a lovely book with no bad messages, although the flying part is short and makes the book not very relevant to this theme.

Writing: No writing! The pictures are lovely though, great for children (and adults) to sit and stare at, finding all the little details and how they follow the main character from page to page.

From a winged person's perspective...: The birds in this book are the only winged people... the boy does fly for a short time, but, he is riding on a leaf-bird, more than flying. The page where the leaves turn into swans is very interesting to look at, and there are some beautiful drawings of swans on the next page (they're trumpeter swans if you're curious ^^), but, this book is not really about flying.

Trigger warnings: None.

More thoughts...: There isn't a rating for this book, because it isn't in the theme. Sometimes I review books like this: they don't meet the theme even though I had some information that says they do (usually, these are books that were tagged with "flight" or "wings" in a library system or on Librarything), so, I review them anyway just to let people know. It's a very nice book though, nothing wrong with it (and very beautiful swan pictures if you like that ^^) Good for any age, from tiny children to adults, because it's only pictures.
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Today, something special for you ^v^ A guest review of Charles deLint's Someplace to be Flying, by [personal profile] charcoalfeathers!

If you're interested in doing guest reviews too, please, let me know, I'm happy to put yours up ^^ I also accept any discussions of books that are on the theme if you want to write an essay about the book, deconstruction, compare two books, etc. I would like this to be not just book reviews, but a place where winged people and people with dreams of flight can discuss and explore fiction... so... if you have anything on topic... I'm happy to include it.



Short review: The corbae (corvid animal-people) and canids (canine animal-people) are playing out their ages-old disagreements once again, and this time the cauldron of creation is in the middle of it. In spite of some shortcomings, this is a satisfying read with a lot of really neat thoughts and stories about animal people and mythology.

Writing: I enjoyed his short stories first, and only moved on to his full length novels later; and it always feels a little to me like his novels are reaaallly drawn out short stories. In some ways, it's nice that it doesn't end so quickly. But other times, I get lost in all the plots going on. Perhaps that's just my lack of attention span these days. ^^; It's also neat to watch all the plot threads coming together over time for a finale.

But in general, his writing style is good and sort of blends to the background. Except for the "story teller" parts: these are fantastic, exceptional. You really feel like you're listening to someone telling a story around a campfire.

From a winged person's perspective...: This book is more of a fae/therian type of book than one about winged people per se, but I think there's something in here for everyone. deLint is always heavy on mythology, especially Native American mythology, and this book is no exception. Rather than birds, or winged people, the characters in this story are almost like fae with animal associations; most of them can shift between an animal form and a human form, and they have a lot of traits like their animals when they're in the latter.

So you could safely say that this book will appeal to corvid and canine therians quite a lot in that way. I think it would be hard for a winged person not to enjoy that aspect of it, too.

Though anyone who associates with cuckoo birds might come away a bit upset. ^^;

Trigger warnings: The main one that struck me was about crows dying and their bodies being mistreated. Someone who wants to be winged is abused. There's a decent amount of violence. Lots of talk about what it means to be sane or crazy, and some fairly intense descriptions of someone being institutionalized. Basically this is a really adult book: if you're worried about triggering something, tread lightly.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: For Jonathan Livingston Seagull, flying is the most important thing in life. Unlike to his kin, who think flying is only a tool. Armed with this philosophy, Jonathan makes some surprising discoveries about life... and beyond. This is an amazing philosophical story that is a slot similar to classic fables and allegories. On the lteral level, as well as philosophical metaphor, many winged people I think will enjoy it... it's about living in the way that is important to you even if it's not the custom, the spiritual things that follow from that, and much more.

Writing: I didn't really notice the writing in this book... I guess the sign of a good book, is when you focus on the story so much, you don't notice how the writing is like at all! As for the plot though, it's great, and builds more and more on itself... it starts out being about one thing but, always has more to teach. The book also has seagull photos at some points in the story, which helps you feel the characters are real and makes you feel like you are being drawn into the story a lot.

From a winged person's perspective...: Well, the book is about flying of course ^^ Although in a way you can see it as a metaphor, the story is also very much about "the things YOU feel joy doing... are important and will change you". So, if you want it to be about flying, the book isn't going to tell you, that itself is not about flying. For a book all about learning to fly, there is not much description of the feeling of flying... it's more about the Jonathan character achieving his goals. But, he does focus much on "flying for the sake of flying is the important thing".

Also, all the characters are seagulls ^^ So, there are no issues to worry about like, "is this book going to call me a freak for wanting to read about wings?"

Trigger warnings: Being outcast. Also, this is just my personal view but some things at the beginning of the book were a little ED triggering for me (it depends on what ED is to you), though, by the end of the book it actually turns around in a nice way and might actually be a support in that way. If you're not suffering from ED you probably won't notice this, but, it is just a small thing I noticed.

More thoughts... )
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I thought I will write these two reviews together, because the first one is a quite short book and the second one is not very relevant to the theme, but, it's here because a lot of library catalogues list it under "Fiction: Flying" and the cover shows a boy trying to fly. Because of that, I feel my duty to talk about the book even to tell you it's not very fitting.

I also decided to do a new thing from now... for the picture books, I'm going to scan one page of the book and show it here. Then, if you are collecting it for the art you can see if you like the art.

So, here are the reviews ^^


Short review (Unicorn Wings): A very simple child's book that is written for readers from "preschool" to "grade 1" in America, with very beautiful pictures and a nice, simple, sweet story with a good message. There's not much for older people but if you are looking for an inspiring book about joy, friendship and magic, to give to a very young child, this is the one ^^

Short review (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): An older child's book that has a "crazy adventure with an odd family" feeling. The writing is fun, but the part about flying is just at the beginning and then it's forgotten very soon, among all the other daredevil mischief. It's a fun book with no bad messages but, there's not much here for winged people.

Snowy white swansWriting (Unicorn Wings): Very simple... there is no poetry. It's a "someone just learning to read" book. Because of that, older people might find it boring, and the ending is not very "neat"... it just stops. But, for a young child it's good and the pictures are beautiful (see on the right).

Writing (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): Quite fun... there's not much problems with the technical writing. It is a little light-hearted so if you want a serious story, it might not be the one but younger children might not notice. The ending is a little sudden and there's not a real plot... it's just "some exciting adventures happen but then things go back to normal". Nothing really changes.

From a winged person's perspective... (Unicorn Wings): Very nice. The pictures of pretty winged creatures will make anyone happy, young or old, and the story is very simple and positive... a unicorn wants wings, helps a pegasus and gets his own wings, and flies off to be happy. There's no bad messages or sneaky feeling of "magic has a price"... just beauty and joy. If only all adults' books could be like this....

From a winged person's perspective... (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): The only content about winged people, or people wanting to fly is at the very start... and, it's over quite quickly. Anyone reading the story for this will be disappointed. There are a couple of nice lines, like "he felt the wings were becoming part of him" but it's not the focus of the story.

Trigger warnings (Unicorn Wings): None.

Trigger warnings (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): Trying to tear off the artificial wings.

More thoughts...: Unicorn Wings really doesn't have any problems except that it is very simple... but, for the age who are meant to read it, it's fine. The Not-Just-Anybody Family is not really relevant to the theme. Because one book has a very special audience and one book is not relevant, it's hard to rate them, so, please use the information here to decide ^^
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: Alison wants wings, and nothing else will do... not flying with a cape or even in a plane. This is a short little children's book, almost a "half picture book" (it has more writing than a picture book, but it has lots of pictures and it is still very short) meant for 2nd grade children. It's interesting and a little circular... the story ends where it begins. I'm not sure what to think of it at all, but, it's a nice book for very young children.

Writing: It's quite average and simple... nothing too good or bad. The ending is very blurry and there is no real message, leaving the story open where it's hard to say what a person might get from it. The pictures have a touching feeling to them, and, you can see the longing that is in Alison. It also has nice small details like, the feather print on her night shirt ^^

From a winged person's perspective...: This book is almost the opposite of the last book I reviewed, Eucalyptus Wings. In that book, flying with wings is a dream that you can swap for flying on a swing. In this book there are swings too, in strange coincidence, but, it's very clear all through the book... nothing is like flying with wings. Alison's dream of wings isn't described very much so we don't know why she wants them, but, it still has a feeling that many winged people will identify with. It's a short book and not much detail though, better for younger children who are just learning to read.

Trigger warnings: Feelings of longing for wings, and, the feeling of wings itching under skin and pushing through skin.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A very pretty picture book, with full double page paintings. The book talks much about the dream of flying, and begins in a beautiful way, but, it falls into one of the "traps" in the ending that many books like this fall into I think... in "More thoughts", I'll discuss it. It's very inspiring, but, the writing is a little poor and it might give the wrong message to young children. It's worth it if you're collecting pretty picture books about flying though.

Writing: The writing jumps about, between really beautiful, and very broken and confusing... for example, one line is, "So they went to the kitchen where they found the ingredients for a mysterious potion". But, we never hear about how they get the idea for this potion, before or after. Did they find the recipe in the kitchen, too? Did they make it up? Do their parents make mysterious potions? You don't find out. The book jumps like this a lot.

Since this is a picture book, I'm also going to talk about the paintings here. They are a little mixed... some of the people are a little rough but the background style is very pretty. It feels like it was inspired by classic Japanese paintings.

From a winged person's perspective...: Flying with leaf wings is a really interesting idea! There's lots of magic and the characters definitely want to fly for the sake of flying. They love magic and they miss it in a deep way when it is gone. This would be a great book for winged people except for the message at the end, which I think most people will disagree with.

Trigger warnings: None. This is a very gentle book, with no violence.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A boy discovers he's growing wings one day and is horrified, but learns to understand their beauty... in a way. This is a harsh book with a lot of negative feeling aimed towards winged people, and although the book tries to have a good message, there's too much that's negative in here for the message to really shine out. Also, after the way the book is written, the ending feels like a bad betrayal. This book tries, but it's shaky, there are better books out there.

Writing: Average... other from a couple of writing errors, there's nothing much to say good or bad about the writing.

From a winged person's perspective...: For most of the book there's nothing to make a winged person happy. The main character hates his wings, his family hate his wings (and abuse him for it), he sees nothing good about his experience. But he does learn to "love" the wings (I say "love" for a reason you see later) and the descriptions that happen at this point are quite strong and positive. There is some very realistic flying and they take into account things like the kinds of tiredness you would feel, the beauty of thermals, and there is a part where it feels like he is "chased into the air" in a helpful way that really feels like they are treating him like a baby bird, trying to fly. People describe him as "feeling like he's being made ready for something" and a lot of winged people will sympathise with that feeling. It doesn't really describe how it feels to fly, at the time, but there is a lot of talking afterwards about how it feels like something you can't put in words. The main character's attitude around this time also has a strong positive message, about how he will decide about his body for himself, not let someone else's feelings affect what he does with it. There's beauty in this, but, it all gets let down again later.

Trigger warnings: Very bad treating of a child by his parents because he's different: abandoning and emotional abuse, described in a vivid way. Every word you can think of is used to insult him and his wings and it's used constantly. Threatening to remove wings in surgery. Threatening to rip off wings. May spoil the story ) Some slight ED triggers.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A boy feels trapped on the island where he lives and dreams of flying to escape, but finds out that the gift he has been granted is too much for him. This story clearly falls into the category of "be careful what you wish for" stories (even the back of the book has "be careful what you wish for" written on it), about a child doing something foolish against the wishes of his parents, usually because he feels he's stuck in a bad situation, and then turning back to normal realising how lucky he is to have a normal life. It's a story for scared parents to read to their children and hope that they become more careful... not a story that really sparks any child's heart. The story is quite simple and obvious, and there isn't much for winged people... it's not recommended.

Writing: The writing is average and quite simple... this is another children's book that has bad humour too, that makes the story feel less serious and real.

From a winged person's perspective...: There are a few things in here for winged people, but they are things you can find in much better books too. If you were stuck on an island and this was the only book you had, I can't say "don't read it" because there are a few inspiring parts, but, there's no need to buy it unless you are absolutely collecting every book that mentions winged people and flight. The story talks about "body flying" which is an interesting way of calling what happens in many books, the supernatural flying of humans without wings... body flying is a sport in this world of course and if you do body flying to feel your wings better, you might like this. There are also a few of the usual parts about how flying is natural and everyone dreams of it, and how joyful it is, which are nice but they're the only good thing in the book really.

Trigger warnings: Nothing that I noticed, other than the "just want to be normal" theme, which is not that strong even... the book doesn't deal strongly with the theme of not being a normal person, but, instead, he wants the flying for a practical reason and he gets rid of the flying for a practical reason. It's not much about identity, which makes it not triggery but also makes it not much interesting to this reviewer.

More thoughts... )
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Short review: A girl discovers she is part faerie, and is taken to the faerie world, but starts finding it's not so beautiful and happy there.... This book promises a lot in the beginning, but, the story is very predictable, the non-humans are treated in a negative way, and it feels not serious enough or emotional enough to catch your heart. The "wings" in the title are also in the book hardly at all. Disappointing, for winged people and for general readers.

Writing: Not so good... the main character emotions aren't described very much or very strongly so you don't understand why she does the things she does, and often, she contradicts herself. The silly humour feels very empty and keeps you from taking the story too seriously. The story is an obvious one, but the writing makes it even more predictable. It's fun and fast to read, but by the end I was getting bored.

From a winged person's perspective...: In the beginning it seems like it might be a good book for winged people. The main character begins to awaken to her faerie self, feeling the strong need to dance under moonlight, and then begins to grow wings. The itching sensations of wings coming out are described strongly, maybe too strong for some, as it might trigger feelings of longing, but winged people will feel understood about the longing to move and grow in certain ways. There are a few interesting things, like how she notices three-dimensional space more when she can fly, and there is some beautiful winged dancing. But, most of the book doesn't have any talk about the wings at all. It's like they just disappear, which is the worst thing you can do writing this kind of book! It also shows non-humans as bad and scary, including bird people. And, her feeling about having wings is mostly "I'm special". No descriptions of beautiful flight, or how she feels happy to come home. In the end, it isn't that good for winged people, and there are much better books that do better all the things that it does.

Trigger warnings: The main character using words like "weird" and "mutant" for herself because of what she is. Showing non-humans as ugly and frightening.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
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. May spoil the story ) It also might be triggery for people with eating disorders.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: As it says, this is an anthology of many flight stories. I thought because of the title that it would have a mixture of stories, from winged people to planes. But, there are only a couple of winged people stories, which are the classic Greek myths. Everything else is about planes... mostly war stories. The Greek myths aren't a very good translation either. So... there's really nothing in this book for winged people sadly, disappointing....

Writing: It's an anthology so the writing is varied. I admit that I skimmed-read a lot of the stories because they didn't seen relevant so I don't have a good impression but... the writing didn't connect with me. I guess maybe it's not my type of writing.

From a winged person's perspective...: This book contains a couple of the Greek myths about winged people but otherwise it's not relevant... I couldn't even find any good stories that were about flying in a plane, but had that "joy of flying" feeling. The stories about winged people skim over the details.

Trigger warnings: Horrors of war.

More thoughts...: There isn't much additionally to say about this book since it's not relevant to my theme... but... looking at the title, you might think that it is, so I add this review so people would know. Since it says "flight stories", I expected a mixed spread. But, this is really not "the right kind of flying". So, I can't really give it a rating.


This was a quick review sorry m(_ _)m I was disappointed that this book had nothing for me. But, I'm soon going on a trip and taking many of my books so there will be a lot more reviews in the near future!! ^^

The books I have with me are these, so you can expect some, or all of these reviews soon:

Wings, by Bill Brittain
Signs of Life, by M. John Harrison
Flying Out of this World, by Peter Greenaway
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach
The Book of Flying, by Keith Miller

Please, I hope you enjoy it! m(_ _)m
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: An anthology of stories that are presented as cultural perspectives of other worlds... in a very clever and funny way that doesn't stop the stories feeling serious at all. All the stories are fascinating and powerful, and the story that I think most winged people will like (The Fliers of Gy) has a mix of negative and positive treatment of bird people, but it uses that to tell a good message. Really recommended!

Writing: The writing is really fantastic. It has a bit of humour without being over the top at all and the stories feel very serious and real. You really feel you are reading reports from other worlds and they're very alien.

From a winged person's perspective...: There are two stories in this book that I think winged people will like especially: Seasons of the Ansarac, which is about a migrating bird-people that don't have wings but are based on real bird behaviour, and The Fliers of Gy, which is about winged and feathered fliers with a full culture based on having feathers. Both stories, like all the other stories in the book are very evoking, and the culture of the bird people in both these stories feels very real. The message of The Fliers of Gy will be very powerful to bird people I think... even though there's a lot of pain to go through to get to the good part, the message is rewarding.

Trigger warnings: Talk of language used to insult the people of Gy. Negative feelings towards the winged people and cruel torture treatment of them with mocking. Mention of cutting off, binding or injuring the wings, but it's written very clearly that to do anything to their wings will kill them literally. Treatment of wings as deformed or a handicap.

More thoughts...: For this review, I want to do something a little different: I want to philosophically discuss this story, because I think it's very interesting. If you just want to know whether you should read this, I definitely think you should if you can handle the cruelty: I would give it five out of five, for the bird people stories and the others as well. But I also want to talk about the message of The Fliers of Gy. This will spoil the story, so, please don't read this unless you finished the story or you don't mind.

A discussion of The Fliers of Gy )

Skellig

Mar. 27th, 2011 11:29 am
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: This is an amazing book... it feels claustrophobic, and vast at the same time, gloomy and hopeful, full of pain and full of light. It's a story about a mystery man, a lot of birds, and the flickering dreams of two children... and that really gives you all you need to know about it. There's much philosophy, and many interesting, inspiring questions asked, and the book holds birds and bird-people in high esteem, touching on the dreams that we have all had about them. It's wonderful.

Writing: The writing here is great. The story is written like shadows, only revealing itself halfway, and the story builds up and builds up like a rolling thunderstorm until it almost hurts to read.

From a winged person's perspective...: The winged person in this book is never shown quite directly, but only in hints. But those hints are worth ten of what's in many other books. Through all of the book, his presence provides a feeling of magic and mystery that touches everything in the story. You don't see him fly, but you will feel the power of flight through all the references to birds and flying that feed on each other and make the story feel like it's very tightly knitted. He's shown as beautiful not monster, even though he is crippled. There is lots of talk of myths, birds as evolution, and a somber kind of magic... I only want to hint at it, because it's lovely to see it, itself, but it truly is great for winged people, and a little bit of a different story from the usual ones about people who want to fly. Though, one of the main characters in it is someone who has a strong love of birds and desire to fly, and wants to protect them, which is nice too. It's shown in one place as a temporary love and not something she deeply felt from the beginning, but other than that one line, it's a very beautiful picture of someone who feels connected to birds.

Trigger warnings: Some mentions of dead birds. Threats of cruelty to birds. The winged character is shown as suffering and in pain clearly. Lots of reflections on death.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: This is a rework of the myth of Icarus with beautiful picture spreads. Since it is based on the Greek myth, it can't very too much from the story, which I think many people know: Icarus flies too close to the sun and drowns. Like the myth, this story is all about flying as expressing the sin of pride... trying to be too close to the gods... which I think will bother many winged people, because they think that their flying is not about that, or they think that their flying is about being closer to the spiritual world and that's okay. If you want a version of the myth that has beautiful pictures and some poetic feel, you might like this one, but I don't recommend the story in general... especially for young children as it might make them feel "choosing to follow your dreams and be free will cause you to be hurt" if they long for flight.

Writing: The writing has a good poetic feel. Of course it is based on a story already existing so there is not a lot that's creative here, but Jane Yolen does expand on the story a little bit from what I know about the myth. Unfortunately, that expanding is only more driving home that Daedalus was a proud person and that the gods thought that was bad, which is the point of the story so I can't blame her, but it won't make winged people happy to associate pride with flying in a bad way.

From a winged person's perspective...: The art is really beautiful and realistic, with lots of detail that maybe you only notice the second time, and give a feeling of how amazing it is to fly. The wings really look like wings! The sad part is Icarus... he seems to love the flying for its own reasons and not because he has pride. He flies higher only because it's beautiful to fly and he loves the feeling. But in the end that is what makes him lose his wings. I don't think I know a story that has a more "anti-winged-people" message than that really.

Trigger warnings: None other than the obvious ^^;; The "falling out of the sky" picture is very realistic though.

More thoughts...: Since the story is so simple my thoughts are very simple too... this story just feels against all my spiritual beliefs, that we are meant to fly high and touch the spiritual world. I think that wings and flying are spiritual in many ways. And the myth of Icarus goes quite against that. Of course, your feelings on this story will vary. If you find the myth beautiful then this is a great book ^v^ Personally I don't know how to rate the story, you can't give a rating to a myth really ^^;; The pictures are a five out of five.

Birdwing

Mar. 23rd, 2011 10:14 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A story that continues the traditional fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm, The Six Swans, following the life of the youngest brother in the story who is left with a swan's wing, after being released from a curse that turned him to a swan. Because it's based on that story and can't change from it, in the beginning, the swan curse is seen as a horrible thing. But then, the story tells that the youngest brother's swan wing was "on the left side - the side closest to the heart". And this is where the tale really begins, as next we are plunging into a world of joyful flight, and pain, and spiritual wonder. This book is very descriptive which is both a blessing and a curse... it's lovely that it goes into such details about what it is like to be part-bird, and what it is like to be a swan, but because it feels so real this book can be painful to read. But, if you can handle that, I very much recommend it.

Writing: The writing is absolutely beautiful... I said about Gwinna that the descriptions of flying are the most detailed you would see, but about being a bird-person, the writing in this is even more descriptive and has equal poetry. It's a very serious story mostly but even then there are little funny moments, clever-funny though and not cheesy funny as a lot of these books... I actually laughed out loud in parts. At the ending, it starts to get a little slow and drawn out but the very end is worth it.

From a winged person's perspective...: Where do I start?? Usually, what is a good guide of how good the book is on this matter, is how long my notes are. For this book they were two pages long. I think that's the longest I ever had. I would describe all the little details, and I really want to, but that would just spoil it... but, for a character with only one wing, he's more well described than ten two-winged people in other books. The book always notices the wing in an extremely realistic way. His connection to swans is painful and beautiful. So much thought has been put into the whole thing. There are moments where he hates and curses the swan side of himself but you always see the beauty too in ways that make up for that. If you can put up with it not being 100% positive about him, but more like 70%, then you will love this book.

Trigger warnings: Threats of cutting off wings and actual cutting off wings, cruel murder of animals, abuse of birds, use of words like "freak" and "thing" by the main character towards himself and by others towards him. Lots of detailed description of the longing for flying and the longing to belong.

More thoughts... )

Frankie!

Mar. 22nd, 2011 02:20 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A baby griffin is born in a magical human family. The story is all about magic, but somehow, it feels empty of wonder and it jumps around too fast, never giving you time to have feelings about what's happening. It has some small touching and true magical moments, but in general it feels very flat, and there aren't many details for winged people to feel connected too. I don't really recommend it.

Writing: The writing is not that good... it just rushes ahead with the story without connecting with anything emotionally, and rushes into ideas that are really over-the-top without ever suggesting that this is strange or unusual. I guess they're trying to make it feel like magic is a normal part of their lives, but the result is that all the magic is taken out of the story, as miraculous things are treated as normal. The story also doesn't even really have a progression... the plot doesn't build up to a natural ending, but rather, a lot of different events happen and then it suddenly ends.

From a winged person's perspective...: Frankie can fly, but the flying scenes are really short and dull (wow... how did they make flying dull?). There is a brief reference to the joy of flight but the story doesn't dwell on it, or even really allow you to feel what flying is like. What is mentioned of the flying has some good realism in it though, and there are some other good details like descriptions of how the different feathers feel, and some mentions of the unique work it takes to care for a griffin. But the thing that I think most winged people will notice, that will overwhelm this, is how often he is talked about as a "horrible monster"... even by his family. It's meant to show how non-magical see him, not meant as hurtful towards him, but it doesn't make the impact any less.

Trigger warnings: Many people call Frankie a monster, demonic, and terrifying, even the magical characters. At the beginning, one person tries to attack him because of this view.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A powerful story about the power of change, flying and dreams... unlike many "mutant stories" the magic and powers are not treated as a bad thing, except by ignorant people. It's quite violent and some people will find it triggery because there is almost constant abuse. But if you can stand that, this is a great story, that asks the question "is being normal so important to you that you would give up joy?"

Writing: Quite good... although it has a number of cheesy jokes that make it feel less serious.

From a winged person's perspective...: This is another of the books where people fly without wings, but I think that most winged people won't mind as the story is so positive in other ways. The main character is someone who longs to fly in a way that is described really well and in detail (sometimes so much detail that it feels painful to read!) and feels that the sky is her natural home. The descriptions of what it feels like to fly are very magical and will make you shiver... it becomes her most important thing very quickly and she loves to see that other people are interested in it too. Like many characters in these books she has a dream to find the secret people she belongs to. And when things get tough, she fights to defend her dreams and her friends' dreams.

Trigger warnings: Religious abuse and emotional abuse to fliers and others. Animal cruelty and torture. May spoil the story ) This story also describes the feeling of longing for flight in a way that might make some people feel twitchy and needy.

More thoughts... )

Gwinna

Mar. 19th, 2011 09:08 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A fairy tale that is just pure magic... in every meaning of that word. This is surely the antidote to all the books out there that promise you fantasy and wonder but take it away just as quickly... it's an amazing story, for young and old people, and especially those with wings. It's a beautiful story for anyone who loves magic and spiritual things too, because its spiritual heart is very deep. The pictures are just as beautiful as the story too. This is a "must read" book!

Writing: Pretty and full of poetry, with a soft magical feeling matched with the soft misty paintings... the descriptions are so beautiful and the story is uplifting. The images will just flow into your heart.

From a winged person's perspective...: This is a great story for winged people. Even though this is a fantasy, dreamlike story, the descriptions of flying are realistic and the most detailed you will see. There are many realistic descriptions of birds too and Gwinna's wings are never treated as an afterthought. Gwinna has an ache in her body and heart for the sky and she loves who she is, only happy to embrace it, coming to learn that her parents are not her true family and that they keep her bound out of fear for her, but also not forgetting them for her new life, and continuing to be loving towards them... so it doesn't have a message of "thoughtlessly abandon your family for your true self" either, making this story the best of both worlds. There is no "horror of being not human" in this story at all, except from those who are ignorant... Gwinna sees herself as a bird. I can't think of anything negative about how this story treats winged people, except for the parts in the trigger warnings which might upset some people.

Trigger warnings: Binding wings and making them painful and crippled, described in detail. Some characters treating wings as a curse.

More thoughts... )

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booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
book reviews for winged people

June 2011

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