The House Of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard (book review)

July 29, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘The House Of Shattered Wings’ is a fine example of a book that is much better than its initial appearance. I was taken aback by a rather dark and brooding cover that looked as if it was trying to channel ‘Game Of Thrones’. Getting past that was hard but, when I got into the story, I really enjoyed it. Let that be a lesson, as I’m not the only reader who flirts with the cover before buying the book. Expectations raised or lowered are hard to get past if you want the reader to part with their hard-earned cash. These days, I’m safer with an eBook as I pre-judge much less.


Phillipe’s encounter with a newborn fallen is dramatic and changes his trajectory. Phillipe trails his previous existence as a soldier in chains to the Fallen, angels expelled from Heaven. In the war-torn Paris of the late twentieth century, there is much scavenging and newborn Fallen are usually killed for their latent magic force, unless they are saved by their brethren.

The Fallen are divided into several Houses and each tries to keep its power as the world continues to deteriorate around them. Phillipe is captured by the head of the House Silverspires. Selene rules here as Morningstar, who was the original leader as the original Fallen, Lucifer, disappeared twenty years ago. It is Phillipe who accidentally releases a force into the House putting both the new-born Isabelle and the rest of the protected Fallen in terrible danger from a barely perceived threat.

As the Houses move against each other, Phillipe tries to find his place in the world. His connection to Isabelle, the newborn Fallen, is both confusing and intriguing. The House alchemist, Madeline, conceals her own battle or rather acquiescence to the need for Angel Essence and her past with the House Hawthorn and its leader, Lord Asmodeus.

As I said, I was quite surprised to enjoy this book and it kept me occupied for a very happy Sunday. It gets into the story quickly and is not afraid to introduce an unexpected element that really moves the plot along. It’s very readable and follows good internal logic with highly visual scenarios and well-sketched characters.

‘The House Of Shattered Wings’ does feel like it might be part of a series as there is so much background, the story could either move into the past, the future or across the world to other battlegrounds, so I’m assuming there will be more. It has also won awards and features on several ‘You Must Read This’ lists which seems to indicate that many people got the same feeling from this book as I did. You can read the first chapter online here

The House of Shattered Wings

Sue Davies

July 2016

(pub: Gollancz. 432 page paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-47321-257-2)

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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