The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Gollancz, 416pp large format paperback, £14.99 cover price
£7.49 on Kindle (Jan 2016)
Reviewed by Alex Bardy (Twitter: @mangozoid)
From the blurb, I already knew that The House of Shattered Wings was probably going to be awesome, and given that it’s written by Aliette de Bodard –an excellent and highly regarded writer of sf and fantasy short stories– there was little doubt in my mind that House would deliver…
And deliver it does, in spades… take the gorgeous city of Paris, mix in some post-apocalyptic gothique, several warring magic factions under the guise of Great Houses, countless fallen angels, a handful of gifted humans, some drug addiction, gang warfare of a sort, and of course seriously awesome prose, and you have yourself a very fine thing indeed.
The crux of the story revolves around the power games that have seen House Silverspires torn apart from within, their former leader Morningstar having disappeared almost into legend, leaving them ripe and ready for conquest and easy-pickings for rival houses, of which House Hawthorn and House Lazarus are foremost in the queue. But of course, things are never quite as simple as that, and thus we have ourselves an awesome supernatural thriller and a number of mystery players, any one of which could turn the tide for or against Silverspires. To say more would spoil your chance to discover and explore this fascinating imaginary world for yourself…
One of my favourite words of late seems to be “corking” (no idea why), but this comes under that banner too – a corkin’ read, from the pen of an author who garners ever-greater respect with each new story published. Evocative prose, a setting to die for, and a quite miserable future Paris that I can’t wait to visit again when The House of Binding Thorns is released… Highly recommended.