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[personal profile] logisticslad
My SF Book Club recently read Updraft, a first novel by local author Fran Wilde. It's a dystopian novel where people live in towers in the clouds and use constructed wings to fly between them. The main character is a teenage girl with a special power over the hideous flying invisible monsters that attack the people in the towers. She ends up discovering all kinds of secrets held by the mysterious Seekers who control the towers and engage in ritual human sacrifice and frequent duels to the death. I found the premise to be quite interesting, but the execution left a lot to be desired. First off, I did not like any of the characters. By the end of the novel, I could not have cared less as to who lived and who died. This was in part due to the structure of their society where no one could attach or bond well since one could die at a moment's notice. Second, while the world was presented as internally consistent, it made no sense in terms of actual physics. Had they attributed everything to magic, it would have been easier to accept, but since they did not, I kept thinking about how the flying could work, etc. Third, the economy of the world made little sense. Traders were described as flying amongst towers to exchange rare goods. But since no one ever went below the clouds, it was not clear where goods came from or how they were grown. In balance, I found the writing to be compelling and I wanted to know what would happen next. Overall, the group thought that this had some interesting ideas, but was plagued with first novel type problems. I'm curious to read the sequel, but I am not rushing out to buy it.


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