And no romance. There was no room for that here. The only "links" were of blood and curses and magic and slavery of sorts. No "souls destined to be together". The relationship between Philippe and Isabelle definitely wasn't born under the brightest star, so to speak. The reason why I'm not rating this novel higher is because I wanted more. The mystery, the curse, those were intriguing, but the balance between unveiling them, developing the characters and showing the world around them was regularly a bit off.
I would have wanted to see more interaction between Philippe, Isabelle and Madeleine; see more about how they evolved, or rather, could have evolved as people. I expected to see more of House politics, of the complex webbing of alliances and betrayal and various other ways of pecking at each other. More about Philippe's origins and what his presence in Paris meant, more questioning about immortality and fallen angels, perhaps? At times, I felt that all that was more akin to beating around the bush, and that a while elapsed with nothing really happening, neither in terms of events nor of character growth.
That while would've been the perfect place to inject I was also not too convinced by some of the secondary characters, more specifically Selene. I expected more cunning on her part, as someone who had been playing the game of House politics for decades. As a Head of House, she wasn't "older" than Asmodeus, yet the latter and his schemes hooked me much more, seemed more ruthless and thus believable.
I got it, nobody could have equalled Morningstar, but All in all, this is still an "I liked it" book. Just not the "I'm in awe" story I had hoped for. The House of Shattered Wings coincidentally had a lot in common with a book I'd finished reading last week, In The Crossfire , but I found the latter much better.
The House of Shattered Wings is very ambitious, and it does do fairly well at throwing together a mixed bag of characters and creating an entertaining story with powerful themes of angels and fantasy, but it never seemed to know where it wanted to go. Leaping from steampunk apocalypse to murder mystery to friendship tale, it tackles big The House of Shattered Wings coincidentally had a lot in common with a book I'd finished reading last week, In The Crossfire , but I found the latter much better.
Leaping from steampunk apocalypse to murder mystery to friendship tale, it tackles big ideas but never really grounds itself well. While I wouldn't say I disliked the book, but it just wasn't for me. Moreover it was so needlessly cruel at some parts that I just couldn't get on-board with the story. Harvesting body parts from angels? Beautiful buildings destroyed? Understandable for the purposes of the plot I guess, but still I'm not saying I can't understand the possible motives behind choosing such heavy-handed violence and destruction for the book, maybe for shock value or to raise some sort of point, but it was still disturbing as anything.
As good as the author's scenic descriptions and world-building are, I just ended up feeling sorry for the characters more than anything else. OK, so I read an early draft of this book a year or two ago and thought that it was awesome I read this book from beginning to end on an overnight flight between the US and UK last night, with many, many distractions going on around me i.
I was traveling with my kids - but I was absolutely gripped by this novel the whole way.
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- The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard;
It is such a beautiful, powerful, genuinely haunting fantasy. Set in a post-apocalyptic Paris rav OK, so I read an early draft of this book a year or two ago and thought that it was awesome Set in a post-apocalyptic Paris ravaged by the war between the great magical houses almost all run by fallen angels , the worldbuilding is rich and strange, creepy, fascinating and compelling.
The Dominion of the Fallen Reading Order (Novels Only)
The different points of view - from Selene, a Fallen who runs what used to be the Great House of Morningstar Lucifer himself, to Philippe, a former Vietnamese Immortal who hates the Houses for their imperialism - are often in conflict but always empathetic. The magic feels deeply magical in all its different forms. At the end of the novel, the main arc of the story was beautifully fulfilled, but there were definitely important questions left unanswered I can't wait to read more! I really enjoyed Aliette de Bodard's earlier historical fantasy trilogy, but I think this marks a huge leap forward in her novels.
This is definitely one of the best fantasy novels I've read in the last few years. Jun 07, Arielle Walker rated it it was ok Shelves: disappointing , urban-fantasy , fantasy-unusual. I really want to give this more stars. The world-building is gorgeous, the settings atmospheric and much of the writing is both and more, sentence by sentence at least.
I loved the concepts, and the blend of multicultural mythology brought to life. However the characters feel so I can barely remember most of the names, and there were some really lovely ones too. Much is made of a I really want to give this more stars. Much is made of an apparent connection between Philippe and Isabelle, but being told about it simply isn't enough.
I didn't feel it - didn't feel much of anything, which is a huge shame.
Book 1: The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
There really is so much potential within the world de Bodard has created, it just Fingers crossed that by the second book the flaws vanish because there will be a second, and a third - there always is View all 4 comments. Richly imagined and decadently written story of Fallen angel politics set in post-apocalyptic War era Paris. You don't get much more background than that as the characters work their way through the chaos that befalls them, but you don't really need it as it all unfolds very nicely using several different points of view.
There was a lot to like here, with an interesting premise and setting and some diverse characters, but I wanted a tiny bit more spark from them in order 3. There was a lot to like here, with an interesting premise and setting and some diverse characters, but I wanted a tiny bit more spark from them in order to make the whole thing fully satisfying.
That said, overall I did mostly enjoy it, I just didn't love it. Even though there is a follow up book on the horizon, this book scores extra points by making sure to bring the story arc to a close, and it could easily be read as a standalone. I received this via Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honorable review. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray.
Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself. What I Liked: I don't know what to think of this book. It's getting three stars because I don't hate it and I don't love it - I'm not sure what to think of it. I still have no idea what's going on, what happened, what to think of the novel.
It's also labeled as "adult", sold as "adult", but Young Adult readers should be fine with this one. This story follows many people, in third person. Philippe, who is a powerful immortal, but not a Fallen.
The House of Shattered Wings
Isabelle, who is a Fallen inextricably tied to Philippe. Madeleine, the alchemist of the Silverspires House, formerly of the Hawthorn House, and totally addicted to angel essence. There is darkness looming, an evil that not even Selene knows of. These characters will join and fight to save the Silverspires, willing or not.
This book was confusing - I don't even know how to comment on the story. The plot was interesting, but a bit boring. There was a lot of history dumped at times, and a lot of descriptiveness, which wasn't entirely necessary, in my opinion.
So, with all of that in mind, the story seemed to go at a snail's pace. And when things happened, they happened too quickly and I wasn't sure what had transpired. Still, the story was very unique, nothing like anything I've read. There was a lot going on, despite the plot moving slowly. Philippe has something going on inside of him, something that is evil and is seeking vengeance.
He doesn't trust House Silverspires, nor do they trust him. Isabelle and him are linked in a strange way, and he trusts her, despite their rough start.
Selene is a hard, cold woman, trying to lead House Silverspires as she has been since Morningstar disappeared. But someone is killing her informants, and it might be the other Houses. There are a lot of characters, yet I feel like only a few were fleshed out. Philippe for sure, it was easy to connect with him, even if we were in the dark about what was going on with him for the entire book.
Madeleine too - she's basically a drug addict, needing forbidden angel essence more than she needs food or water. These characters are developed from the beginning.
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Read on for things I wasn't sure about, things I may not have liked. I don't even know if I liked this book or disliked it. I felt bored as I was reading, unfortunately. I remember being at these locations and thinking, how have I not read more? This book is not THAT long, but it sure felt long. And boring, unfortunately. Perhaps this is an Alyssa problem, but I don't bore easily, especially with fantasy.
The story moved incredibly slowly, and we were left in the dark about so many things for so long, which really did not help. So it dragged. And I was tired. And that did not make for a good combination, and this book didn't do me any favors. Also this book was dense.
Get to that in a minute. I didn't connect with all of the characters. This is an adult book, and a lot of times, authors experienced in writing adult novels don't write characters that an audience can connect with like author who are experienced in writing YA write characters. Often I don't connect with "adult book" characters. There was so much information thrown around in this book at random times, like bursts of history, world-building, character information.
It was a bit annoying, all the info-dump. That and it really took away from the story.