Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell sounded quite intriguing. Fantasy is a genre I tend to orbit around and I was keen to be immersed in a new fantasy world. I did enjoy some parts of the book and I though the magic was pretty cool, but overall I was rather disappointed.
First off, the aspects of magic and religion were interesting.
I enjoyed Farrell’s ideas of a female god and the forces of magic working together in this society she’s created. However, there was a lack of context or explanation when necessary. I understand that in fantasy we’re usually left to fill in the gaps ourselves, but these gaps were too wide and it was hard for me to comprehend what was happening in some moments. I did enjoy the use of magic towards the end of the book more so.
The characters have specific voices, which was great in guiding the story across three perspectives.
Wings Unseen features three voices: Janto, the heir to the throne; Serra, the prince’s betrothed; and Vesperi, the daughter of a Meduan lord. I had a lot of hope for these characters considering the trials they were about to face, but there were inconsistencies with their development and I found the short and quick shifts between them to be jarring. Their development was better towards the end though, and I particularly liked reading Serra’s perspective. Also, a couple of the plot directions and changing relationships added an element of surprise I enjoyed.
The lack of world-building and descriptions was frustrating.
It could be because there was no map, but I found this world to be completely messy and confusing. There wasn’t much in regards to orienting the reader with the land, or longer descriptions about the Meduans, the Lanserim and the other races. The politics between these countries was also left to the imagination.
Basically, this book is in need of further polishing as quite a few sections were convoluted. I had to reread many sections to fully understand what was occurring simply because sentences were too long or descriptions were confusing. An example of a description I questioned is: “Uzziel waved the club so lustily that he drooled.”
Furthermore, the opening chapter simply does not work. It will either turn readers away or leave them confused. Upon reading, it felt like walking into the middle of Game of Thrones season 2 and being expected to know the politics, relationships and issues within the world. Also, it is marketed to young adults, yet some sections feel like they were closer to New Adult, whereas other parts catered to more Middle Grade. It was all over the place and I found it difficult to pinpoint the audience.
Overall, Wings Unseen has an interesting story that would benefit from more descriptions about the world itself and polishing of the text so it’s more comprehensive for the reader. Farrell has created some really cool characters and I would love to see them fleshed out more and given longer sections for us as readers to settle in. The use of magic and religion was also fascinating and it would be great to see this with some more explanation or context.
Disclaimer: Netgalley gave me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.
When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancee of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.
To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.