The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard

Aliette de Bodard's novel The House of Shattered Wings looks like a standard fantasy novel, but has more in common with The Godfather than your typical sword-and-sorcery adventure. In an alternative universe/post-apocalyptic version of 20th century Paris, fallen angels periodically drop from the sky, stricken with amnesia but chock-full of magic. Those who survive Paris's magic-hunting street gangs usually join one of the Great Houses, mafia-like organizations that offer protection in exchange for magical mojo. When several of House Silverspires' lackeys are murdered, three unexpected allies find themselves tangled up in the mystery: a newly-fallen angel, a human addicted to magical essence, and a young man with seemingly inexplicable powers.

While I really enjoyed de Bodard's mafia-with-superpowers world-building, I was annoyed by how rarely she actually explained anything. By the end of the novel, I still had no idea how her world worked—I didn't know how magic functioned, what caused the war that lead to such widespread devastation, or what life had been like beforehand. I was sufficiently intrigued by The House of Shattered Wings' characters to give the next book in this series a shot, but answers better be coming soon, because there's a fine line between tantalizing and irritatingly underdeveloped, and de Bodard is currently treading it.

Review based on publisher-provide copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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