Updraft by Fran Wilde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had a lot of high hopes for this. I really did. I thought to myself, "Oh wow, a society of fliers. A whole world of fliers! This could be utterly awesome, giving me lots and lots of necessary extrapolations and unusual twists and turns, whether societal, setting, or even character-centered."
Instead, I'm introduced to a completely forgettable and utterly predictable plot, with: A Chosen One. An Outcast Sect. War like a Football Game.
Huh? Am I reading YA? Trials, graduation, snobby rich kids, dashed expectations. Okay. there was a little flying, but it was like listening to a game. Where were the serious consequences? Oh... serious consequences are all in the dashed expectations: The MC and ME.
Later on, the plot remains absolutely scrutable. She can choose to level up with tattoos that give her better blah blah at the risk of blah blah, she'll have to remain outside of the regular caste and Sing. Yeah. Like a bat. And like a siren. And oh yeah, don't feed the animals.
The worldbuilding is probably the best part of the novel, but it is mostly there in the background, and it went deep enough to flog my waning attention.
Seriously, I wanted more flight and a story that wasn't exactly like EVERY OTHER recently popular dystopian YA novel. I was never surprised. Not even once. There were lots of opportunities for the novel to break off in new directions.
Do we really want another story about a squad of outsider tribals trying to save the misunderstood animal species from the other tribals? Substitute pieces at your convenience.
Other than that, it wasn't like the novel was written poorly. It wasn't. All my interest just drained away because it didn't bother to stand out. It just followed formula and relied on setting to try and carry it.
I DID like the novel better when I thought about the kinds of adventures that I might have had. The possibilities are still there, sitting unrealized. I just don't think I'll go out of my way to find them out except in my own head.
I'm rather disappointed.
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