Review: Black Wings Beating by Alex London

Happy Friday y’all! Man, I have been so bad at updating on here, and I want to say it’s because I’ve been feverishly reading… but I haven’t. Tik Tok has taken over my life again and I’m doing some part time consulting for my cycling studio (I’m helping them with their marketing, and I honestly love it so much) and I’m helping one of my aunt’s friends’ daughters in her job search (she just graduated from college and wants a job in marketing but has no idea how to get one and I’ve worked in marketing since 2015, so Avni to the rescue), so busy busy. I’m hoping things will calm down a little so I can read and post more starting next week, but we’ll see. (Also, cuffing season is about to start, so of course I’m all over the dating apps 🤦‍♀️ We need more hours in the day.)

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Fierce Reads/Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan Children’s Publishing for making Black Wings Beating “Read Now” on Negalley for 24 hours back in either late July or early August! This book came out in 2018 and I’ve been meaning to read it ever since then but just never got around to it, so this forced me to finally get around to it and man am I glad I did! I also checked out book 2 from the library already and I’m SO ready to read it and to read book 3 (which released on September 1st!). 

Black Wings Beating 4/5 Stars 

Summary from Goodreads: The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer–while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

I hate birds. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. I think they’re gross and I know some people think they’re majestic and our country sees one of them as a symbol of freedom, but I think they’re all just pretty… ew. But, besides that, I think the way that Alex London wrote the bird training aspect was interesting and the magic that Kylee has with the Hollow tongue is pretty cool. I think the idea of falconry in general is pretty interesting, so I love that this built on that. The ghost eagle was weird to me, because for most of the book, I thought there was just one single ghost eagle in the whole world, but Kylee shreds that belief when she talks about how her father had decided to go after a young one instead of one of the older ones (maybe I just missed that part in the prologue?). I liked the familial bond between Kylee and Brysen, even though Brysen takes out so much of his anger for his father and his feelings of inadequacy on Kylee and Kylee does everything she can to make up for the guilt she feels for not being a target of her father’s abuse. I loved all of the parts with the Owl Mothers and I’m so excited to see where things go in book two. One thing that definitely confused me while I was reading was the random interjections from new POVs that weren’t introduced- it would throw me out of the story for a little bit while I tried to figure out who the person telling the story was/where we knew them from/why they were important. 

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