Cloudbound, by Fran Wilde

51bSYBdd+BL.SX316(reviewed by Aliette de Bodard)

In the aftermath of the Spire’s Fall, the city of bone stands on the verge of tearing itself apart, the citizens desperate to find someone to blame. Nat, the son of a man who was thrown down for defying the Spire, is now a councilman, but his political mentor appears all too eager to appeal to the city’s basest instincts. As he and his friend Kirit search for answers in the ruins of the Spire, they find out about the past of the city–and about the dangers to its future…

A fantastic follow up to UPDRAFT–I liked it better than its predecessor, particularly for what it says about the politics of fear and prejudice, and how giving people what they want isn’t always the best thing (spoiler-not-really-a-spoiler: people sometimes want really bloody things that involve denying other people their basic rights). It’s also very smart about politics and how hunger for power can be harnessed for the good of the city–or, sometimes, not. And it’s got a host of new and returning creatures too–bone-eaters, gryphons, and my personal favourites, the littlemouths who glow when Singers hum to them, oh-so-cute (and handy when you don’t have a torch!). Wilde continues to work out the logistics and physics of flight rigorously: I loved the discussion of how to handle rising pressure, among other things. And the ending sets up for a very interesting third volume, by revealing more about the world and expanding it in new and interesting ways.

Buy this book.


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