Book Review: Flight of the Wren

review-cover-flight of the wren

Title: Flight of the Wren

Author: Atthys J. Gage

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Magical Realism

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description / Synopsis:

“The Arcane Order of Carpet Flyers! The Sublime Society of Scudders! Didn’t you read the contract I sent you, Miss Drake?”

Sure, Renny had read it. Obviously it was some kind of joke. And this guy with the flakes of pie crust in his beard, he is obviously some kind of whacko.

But no. Parnell Florian is no whacko – and Maysa, the ancient silk-brocade carpet now rolled up under her bed, is no joke. It really can fly, and Renny’s life just got a whole lot more interesting. And when she meets the other members of the Order – her flock – life gets more interesting still. Most interesting of all is the boy called Stonechat, who seems to find her pretty interesting as well.

But when a vengeful rug-rider called Mistral kidnaps Parnell and steals the all-important Orb of Descrying, Renny and the ragtag flock of misfits must ride to the rescue – or else face an adversary who can control their very dreams. One by one, all the people Renny has come to care about fall into Mistral’s hands, and she must find courage and ingenuity she never knew she had.

A modern day fantasy that Publisher’s Weekly called: “A great combination of fantasy, adventure, and romance…an engaging and enjoyable read,” The Flight of the Wren is, at its core, a story of family. Estranged from her mentally-ill mother, bounced from one foster home to another, Renny feels no connection to anyone in her life. In her darkest moments she fears that she will never really care about anyone…only to find out that having someone you really care about can be the scariest thing of all.

And that sometimes the hardest part about flying is just learning to hang on.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Another great book by author, Atthys J. Gage. I read Flight of the Wren alongside my 12-year-old daughter, which, I’ll admit, probably wasn’t the brightest idea. Parents: There is kissing, sex, and profanity in this book. You’ve been warned. That being said, we skimmed over the questionable content, and still managed to greatly enjoy the book together.

As far as the technical side of the book goes, the story was, for the most part, written well. There were some typos, some poorly constructed sentences that we had to re-read once or twice, but overall, the pacing was solid, the main character was interesting, and the narrative had some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Was it perfect? No… but it was still good.

Obviously, things weren’t all rainbows and puppies. The romance was fairly superficial. Girl meets guy one night, and before you know it, they’re having sex and dating. It wasn’t convincing, and honestly, I wasn’t rooting for the couple as I should have. I didn’t feel invested in their relationship, and in the words of my daughter “those parts were boring.” I probably wouldn’t go that far, but I do agree that overall, I just wasn’t interested in Wren and Stonechat’s relationship. It was a minor part of the plot that tried very hard to be the majority of it.. and I think the story probably would have been better off without it.

There were a chapter or two that were for the majority, monolog’s of one character (Parnell & Raven) explaining things to the main character, that were long, and I probably could have done without. I’m not a huge fan of having to have a majority of the plot explained to me by a character. I just feel there are more interesting ways of handing over the information. To be fair, though, there was a lot of information that the reader needed to know in a very short period of time, so I kind of get it.

The last point of contention both I and my daughter had was the ending. It was depressing. There was so little explained in the book—so many open ended questions that had no answers, that when the book ended without even the tiniest sliver of hope to cling to, we were both left sitting there wondering why the book had just ended on such a sour note. It felt as if the author had skimmed over all the interesting parts of the world building—the wind sprites, the orb, who the next keeper might be, what really happened to mistral and stonechat, why Wren was found the way she was near the end of the book—all these tiny bits of interest that weren’t played out or explained that could have been. Instead, we got a sad ending shot of a depressed girl reciting poetry. Neither of us enjoyed the ending.

All of that aside, however, I have to make this clear: we enjoyed the book. For all of the bits we didn’t like, there were twice that many that we did. We loved Wren as a character – and Parnell. The battle scenes and the drama and tension stirred up by Mistral and his renegade band were exciting. There were hilariously laugh-out-loud funny bits, sometimes in the most tension-filled moments that had us giggling so hard that we had to stop mid-sentence to catch our breath. The book was good, and we enjoyed it. Was it perfect? No. Would we read more from this author again? In a heartbeat. If you enjoy YA fiction with fantasy, I would recommend that you pick up this book and give the author a try. I look forward to seeing how the author’s work evolves in the next few years—I think there’s a lot of promise here.

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