Black Wings Beating by Alex London

Trigger warnings: One of the main characters experiences a significant amount of abuse by his father throughout this book. He's also looked down on because of his relationship with another male.

SynopsisThe people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer--while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She's nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he's long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother's future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

Review: Black Wings Beating was an incredibly enjoyable time. The story is told between two primary perspectives. There's Brysen who is a gay falconer, and there's Kylee who hates how prominent falconers are. They're twins, but they offer such differing perspectives which is interesting to read. Brysen embraces this lifestyle, despite how dangerous it is. He loves his bird, Shara, and would do just about anything for her. Kylee is the complete opposite and wants to get away from this lifestyle. She stays with it though because of her dedication to her family. Mostly, the dedication to her brother. 

Black Wings Beating started off a little slow, but it certainly picked up around the halfway point. I liked the premise of falconry within this story. I wish there was a little more explanation of the human/bird relationships, but that's really my only complaint with this story. Unlike most fantasies, it doesn't have a heavy emphasis on magic which might make it a little easier for people to read if they have a hard time getting into fantasy. There were 2 dialogues I appreciated a lot. The first is how easily Brysen and Kylee's mother dismissed the abuse Brysen constantly faced. She never addressed it the way she should have, and I think that speaks very true to a lot of abuse situations. The other was Brysen feeling like he is being used so people can get closer to Kylee. This is a very personal thing that I had to deal with growing up. Seeing it in a book meant a lot to me.

Great first fantasy book. Can't wait to see what happens next.

4 howls