Review: The House of Shattered Wings

The House of Shattered Wings
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book #20 for 2017
#AWSFF Reading Challenge:
– Locus Award Nominee for Best Fantasy Novel
– British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel
Personal Challenge Tasks:
– A book about a haunted building
– An award-winning book
The Legendary Book Club of Habitica’s Ultimate Reading Challenge Task: A book based on mythology
PopSugar Challenge Prompts (maximum 3):
– A book by a person of color
– A book based on mythology
– A book about an immigrant or refugee
Better World Books Prompts:
– A book set in a place you want to visit (Paris)
– A fantasy novel
– A book by a person of color
– A book by a female writer
Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge Prompts:
– A book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative
– A fantasy novel
GenreLand – April: Thriller & Suspense
Possible Book Bingo Squares:
– A Book with an Award
– A Book with an LGBTQA Character
– A Book by an Author of Color
Follow the Clues: Trail 1, Clue 5

I liked this book quite a lot, yet at the same time, I don’t feel like I got to know it very well. There was all this lush and darkly beautiful world-building, but I got mere glimpses of it out of the corner of my eye as I followed along. To some extent, this is explained by the fact that most of the characters were also feeling their way in the darkness, trying to figure out just how they came to be where they were, but I did not feel a shared journey with any of them. I was constantly held at arm’s length.

Perhaps this is also because the tone of the book was very purposefully Parisian. It is elegant and chilly, with just enough whimsy to keep you from losing interest. De Bodard did a great job with the atmosphere, and most of the time her language was perfectly suited to the setting.

I am a sucker for mythological mashups, so this was right up my alley. I do wish the author had given us a bit more on Philippe’s background, though. I was also disappointed in the murder-mystery aspect of the story. It was there, and it was resolved, but it didn’t feel at all central to the story. Perhaps that is more of a marketing issue, though. There was enough here that I’m interested in reading the next book in the series, but I also can’t help but wonder if maybe I’d be happier with this author’s Obsidian and Blood series.

View all my reviews

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