Title: The House of Shattered Wings | Series: The Dominion of the Fallen #1 | Author: Aliette De Bodard | Publisher: Gollancz | Publication date: August 28th 2016 | Num. Pages: 417 | Genre: Fantasy, Post-apocalyptic, Mystery | How I owned it: ARC copy kindly provided by the publisher
4 stars – A very good start to what could be an interesting series
Many thanks to Stevie from Gollancz for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in Heaven.
Paris has survived the Great Magicians War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.
House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.
Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…
The House of Shattered Wings is a new book and a new author to me, it’s a bit of a combination novel and by that I mean it has the element of fantasy but it’s predominantly a mystery novel which I liked. The fantasy element to it – if you haven’t already guessed – is Fallen angels! Now, I love a Fallen angel story possibly more than any other type of paranormal so this was a definite plus for me.
The story follows Phillippe, an Annamite, as he makes what ultimately becomes his biggest mistake. He is part of a gang in this post-apocalyptic type Paris and he is caught by Selene the head of House Silverspires cutting off the fingers of a recently Fallen angel. From there his life only seems to get more dramatic and more hectic, he’s kept prisoner in the House but has the means to go where he wants to apart from he can’t leave the House itself if that makes sense? There’s a spell cast on him that says he can’t leave until Selene is finished with him.
We meet several characters who are integral to the story and there’s various side arcs to the main story line which meshed very well together. The subject of the Houses is an intriguing one because they seem to have this weird hierarchy of Fallen and humans, where humans are dependents. There’s a odd drug which is apparently quite addictive and also really bad for the takers health – angel essence.
The mystery in this book circulates around a ghost related to Morningstar – who turns out to be Lucifer – and there’s deaths galore, shadows and the Furies themselves. There’s intrigue and mayhem between the Houses mainly Silverspires, Hawthorn and Lazarus who seem to be bundling together to bring Silverspires down.
It was written in a good way, not too fast paced but not too slow either so perfectly balanced for reading; easily devoured and the ending of the book leaves it open for the next in the series The House of Binding Thorns. There was a good pace to dialogue and the paranormal creatures were described in an new fashion for me.
In all, The House of Shattered Wings was a very good book and I can’t wait to read the next one.