Little Winged One by Will Kosh

(8.0/10) By turns exciting and ghastly, a first rate horror.

Alida Beretta is a small town Colorado teenager, perfectly normal, aside from the fact that she has a pair of fully functional bird's wings on her back. Her parents know something about it, as does her sister Lela, who has a dark abnormality of her own, but Alida chooses not to ask questions. She opts instead to enjoy her secret gift of flight, unquestioningly. Everything changes with the arrival of Tyler Goldman, a pyrokinetic enforcer for the GUARDIAN corporation. Tyler and the Tango Team, his genetically enhanced four-man cell, are on the hunt for a rogue research specimen that has been picking off civilians. They have one major suspect: Lela. Alida falls in love with Tyler while trying to prove her sister's innocence. The Necromancer, the true culprit in the murders, reigns terror over the sleepy Colorado town, and Alida is heartbroken when the Tango Team are trapped and kept prisoner in a Nevada casino on the trail of another specimen. Can Alida rise to the challenge of saving and protecting her friends and family? Or will her wings carry her only so far?

Little Winged One, Will Kosh's debut novel and the first book in his Guardians series, certainly makes for interesting reading. The central character, Alida Beretta, seems to be just a normal everyday teenager living in a small Colorado town… except of course for the pair of wings that she has on her back. As the book begins Alida has managed to hide from others the wings that would make her outcast. But an ill-advised early-morning flight sets in motion a series of events no-one could have foreseen… She has no idea of the chaos she has just caused with this incident, yet she does have a lover, Tyler Goldman and, along with him, she sees the world Guardians, and other chaotic altered types who cause violence and even murder. Lela, Alida's sister tries her best to keep the teens in check, but when Tyler and the team get wind of all the murders, they suspect Lela, but in that judgement they would be wrong.

The cover to this novel might look cute, but the blood on the wings should be enough of an indicator as to what to expect. Alida has awful dreams of being shut in a box, of being prodded with needles and being forced to have blood drawn. The story takes Alida and Lela into a dystopian future where genetic alteration is rife, and no one can do as they please; curfew is set due to all the violence, but that does not prevent Alida from breaking the rules if she wants her freedom from society's restraints.

Alida does not know why she has wings, they sprouted from her back when she was young. Her mother and father accepted her genetic mutation, but when one girl, Tammy, hears information about Alida's wings, she feels the full brunt of how society will consider beings like Alida.

Little Winged One has two stories running alongside each other. One is the life of Alida, Lela and the Guardians plus a girl called Laura who becomes infected by a mystery woman. This book is a lot more descriptive than the rest, and vividly describes the horror and the murder, and what the woman doing it is feeling. The book merges science fiction and horror with elements of blood and gore to create an unnerving novel that gives nothing away until you begin reading. It is by turns exciting and ghastly, a first rate horror.

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Will Kosh lives in Las Vegas and is working on his next two books, including the sequel. He had originally envisioned the plot for Little Winged One as a comic book. For more information on Will and his work, visit http://sbpra.com/willkosh/.

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