I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
So here we have Updraft by Fran Wilde, a fantasy book that goes full fantastic but loses me in the process. The story follows Kirit, who is rebellious and just wants to fly. See, this world is far in the sky and people travel with mechanical wings and live in spires made of bones. There’s trade routes, sky monsters, flight test and religious sects that are also the government.
This book is not my cup of tea.
I like fantasy books. I do. Maybe not as much as science fiction, but that’s not the genre’s fault. It took me a long time to realize there were fantasy books out there that I would like and I really owe that to Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson. But their books all feel relatable, they all feel like a humanity I know, even if it is in a world I don’t recognize. Sanderson rights about whole worlds he creates, but the people and their desires are very Earth-bound.
But Updraft doesn’t do that, or at least not for me. This book has a world, civilizations and people I can’t relate to, no matter how much I tried. The world is bizarre and there are terms and phrases the characters use that make sense to them, but the reader is thrown into all of this without a helping hand. By the end of the book, I still didn’t have a full understanding of what was going on.
Alien. That’s what the book felt like. The characters felt alien and even though they’re humanoid, they don’t feel like it. And you know what? That’s okay and there are readers out there who will find this whole book fascinating but it didn’t click with me. If the universe you’re creating is so different from mine, I need a point of entry or a viewpoint I can understand.
If you like your fantasy as far out as it can get, I’m sure you’ll love Updraft because it’s not a badly written book and there are plenty of things to like. For others, this is a risky read.