Book Review: Black Wings Beating by Alex London

Brysen and Kylee are twins living in the country of Uztar, a place where birds of prey are looked upon with honor and utmost respect. Their entire lives are spent flying, trapping and selling birds. After the death of their father, a cruel and terrible human, the twins must pay off his debt to the royal family using their skills for falconry.

Kylee is less than enthused to be invested in falconry, even though she has talents greater than the community thought possible. Her brother wants to be the greatest falconer in the world, but with a stubborn streak and a crush on the guy who may ruin their plans, he must use his skill and smarts to trap the most powerful bird in the land — a ghost eagle.

The writing in this book was great and I LOVED how the book related the plot to that of a falconer and his/her bird. You can definitely tell the author did his research on this subject, which is very refreshing. The descriptions of the birds and their demeanor was super interesting.

The writing wasn’t too flowery, and to be honest I found myself a little confused with the different social hierarchies. They had the Altari, who did not like falconry and the Uztari (what Kylee and Brysen follow) who love birds and working with them. Then there was the radical group that wanted to take over. For me, the world wasn’t my favorite part of the book.

I initially thought the book would be mainly about Kylee, but soon find out her brother plays a large role in this book as well. I loved that she was crazy about her brother — to the point that she has saved his ass many times. I loved the bond they shared, and that their relationship was often NOT perfect. They both cared about each other, but it was obvious Brysen had some jealousy issues. Kylee has an ancient power that allows her to control birds with her words, while Brysen has to actually work towards gaining the trust of the animals. I thought Kylee was pretty cool inthe beginning, but to be honest, her character doesn’t do a ton of changing by the end of the book, which I typically like to see. I’m hoping she evolves as a character in the next book.

The first thing I noticed about Brysen is that he makes TERRIBLE decisions. He is very naive and unfortunately very in love with someone who clearly does not care about him (which is one of my least favorite tropes). He’s one of those characters that desperately wants to prove himself to anyone and everyone. He’s impulsive and wants to show that he’s capable of being a great falconer. He believes he can be the one to capture the ghost eagle, and eagerly accepts the challenge.

I was pretty disappointed by the ending in this.

Without spoiling TOO much, it was pretty anti-climatic for such a good build up. I noticed many other reviewers agree with me. (Although if I had to guess, the author valued everything else that was going on much more than this specific scene).

TW for physical abuse, death of humans and animals.

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