The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Book of the Month
Have you ever read a book that from the first paragraph you just can’t put down? The House of Shattered Wings is definitely one for me, set in a post- apocalyptic Paris it is full of the tattered remnants of once regal houses that have managed to survive a magical war that was driven by the need for power and dominance. Although the book focuses on one particular House named Silverspires, Paris is the gothic backdrop to a world torn to shreds set near the banks of the Seine and incorporating Notre Dame and its surrounding areas.
The book is focused on three characters that are very disparate from each other: Philippe is a former Immortal from Vietnam, Isabelle is an angel who has recently fallen from Heaven and Madeline is a human alchemist for House Silverspires. As their stories progress all three get caught up in the intrigues and power struggles between the various Houses of Paris.
House Silverspires was once the grandest and most powerful House in France, it was founded by Morningstar (Lucifer himself), but after Morningstar’s disappearance twenty years ago, the House’s power is on the wane. Now led by Selene, (Morningstar’s last pupil) whose thoughts are always with the House and how to keep it strong, she is an effective leader but at times can be seen as limited in her thinking and stubborn when other people are trying to give help and advise. This may be due to the older the Fallen becoming set in their ways over centuries so that there is no room for fresh thinking rather they are mostly reactionary. It is Selene who brings both Isabelle and Philippe into House Silverspires and in her own way sets in motion the events of the book.
Philippe as mentioned previously is a former Immortal from Vietnam. Years before he was drafted into the Fallen’s war, due to this he has strong feelings against ever being a pawn to the Fallen. As Philippe is a survivor he has spent most of his life in France trying not to be noticed or thought of as anything out of the ordinary, but one stupid decision leads to others and Philippe unwittingly becomes the catalyst for unleashing a very deadly force back into the world.
Through Philippe’s bad decision he and Isabelle have an almost psychic link to each other and this keeps him close to House Silverspires almost as much as being bound to the House by Selene's punishment. Isabelle in comparison to the other Fallen we meet is unusual due to her being newly Fallen and she still has an innocence about her that makes her seem quite naive, but at the same time Isabelle is more fearless and powerful than she can truly understand.
The third character Madeline is a human alchemist with an addiction to Angel Essence, although this is slowly killing her. It is her way of coping with the atrocities she has seen in the past when she was a dependent in House Hawthorn. Madeline is the main human focal point in this book full of magic and due to this is very relatable, as unlike the others she is fallible with a much shorter life span from the others and an almost pathologic need to be safe. All three characters need to learn about the dark histories of the Houses to truly understand what is about to befall them.
De Bodard’s phrasing is excellent and one of my favourite lines which relates to House Silverspires and the curse that haunts it is as follows: “All you hold dear will be shattered; all that you built will fall into dust; all that you gathered will be borne away by the storm...” House Silverspires stands alone against a coming storm, not knowing if it can trust the other Houses such as Hawthorn and Lazarus to stay out of matters that do not concern them or whether their meddling will help them gain the upper hand. This is a very dark story where you really do not know who will survive till the end of the book.
This book is wreathed in mythology, magic and mysticism and it is such a compelling read that maybe the book itself is magic. The twist on angels being power hungry was also really interesting, especially as the book never goes into why they have Fallen. I liked how the different kinds of magic were not complementary or even understood by the different practitioners. The House of Shattered Wings is a fantastic book full of sacrifice, vengeance and justice.
This The House of Shattered Wings book review was written by Michelle Herbert
Have you read The House of Shattered Wings?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The House of Shattered Wings reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Powder Mage Trilogy
The alchemy of gunpowder fused with the magic of sorcery. In a time of upheaval, resurgence and corrupted Royalty Privileged, one-man’s love for his lost wife and his...
Seven Blades in Black
Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of...
The Limits of Enchantment
England, 1966: Everything Fern Cullen knows she's learned from Mammy - and none of it's conventional. Taught midwifery at an early age, Fern becomes Mammy's tru...
The Magicians series
In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price... Quentin Coldwater's life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turn...
In the first age of Andeira, men and dragons brought together the two halves of the elemental magic of the world to create a union through which their magic, and the world,...
Dawn of the Exile
For the damned, redemption may be just a mad dream…Years have passed since the demon Tarrik and his master, the sorcerer Ren, destroyed the servants of S...
Smoke and Stone
Michael R Fletcher
After a cataclysmic war of the gods, the last of humanity huddles in Bastion, a colossal ringed city. Beyond the outermost wall lies endless desert haunted by the souls of ...
Steel Crow Saga
A soldier with a curseTala lost her family to the empress's army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress's crimes don't haunt her ...
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford - Samuel Johnson. In fact, Dr Johnson was only half right. There is in Lo...
Great fantasy books published in 2015
The Sorcerer's Glen
The Grand Master sat back in his chair with his blue eyes closed and sent a small prayer earthwards. The White Sorcerer had returned a little after the hour of the sabre-to...
The Hollow Boy
Lockwood & Co. might be the smallest (some might say shambolic) Psychic Detection Agency in London. But its three agents - Lockwood, Lucy and George - are exceptional T...
The Gameshouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a...
For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn'...
Half the World
Sometimes a girl is touched by mother war. Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named murderer by the very man wh...
Escaped from prison and back in his own body, life has taken a turn toward the domestic for Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg. His days are filled with diapers, formu...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
Six of Crows
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is off...
Queen of Fire
Queen Lyrna has survived the bloody siege of Alltor. Now she must rally her troops and take back the capital from the Volarian invaders. But driving her hated enemy out of ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: