Book Review: UPDRAFT, by Fran Wilde

Not since the Divergent books have I found a YA novel as energetic and exciting as Fran Wilde’s Bone Universe. UPDRAFT is the first in the series. And I devoured it like a skymouth!

Towers made of growing bone rise above the clouds. The towers house the people. Oftentimes bridges stretch from tower to tower. The tiers notched into the towers set apart the different classes. The higher up the tower one lives, the better off that family is. Lith is a tower that fell, and is an example to all that when things go wrong they go really wrong.

Singers protect the towers. Singers, either singer-born, or singer-sworn are like guardians. Singer-sworn members are plucked from the city. They sever ties with family, and friends. Their responsibility is great. Their silence is demanded. The secrets of the world rest on the Singer’s shoulders.

People fly. With fitted wings soaring the skies is a way of life. The young must past tests to earn the right to fly. The testing process is dangerous, and complicated. If one wants to excel in the city passing the test is essential!

Kirit has always dreamed of becoming a trader, like her mother. Ezarit is renowned, and celebrated. Her flights have earned the family a comfortable level in the top tiers of their tower. The only thing that could hinder Kirit’s exam is if she didn’t know her place.

When a giant skymouth appeared in the sky, and was headed for Kirit, she screamed. Her voice frightened the beast. Some considered her blessed. Powerful. A godsend. However, Kirit wasn’t where she was supposed to be at the time of the attack, making her a lawsbreaker. And when laws are broken, punishment is inflicted.

Through a series of unfortunate events, the Singers are all too aware of Kirit. And they want her. With broken laws attached to her person, Kirit is faced with a difficult choice. She can negotiate for her friends, and her mother’s safety by agreeing to willingly join the Singers –giving up her dream of becoming the next greatest trader.

Her training inside the Spire opens her eyes to truths kept secret from the rest of the city. Bargains and bribery run the Spire. The safety of the city might not be the Singers main priority. Teaming up with her longtime friend, Nat, the two work to break wide open a mysterious code. The truth is more frightening than skymouths!

There is unrest within the Spire. The towers are unsettled, and rumbling. The society above the clouds is on the verge of a war. Exposing the truth might do more harm than good. Kirit knows one thing for certain, to save her family, and her friends, she has to try.

Fran Wilde has crafted an absolutely amazing world. UPDRAFT is not just entertaining, it is compelling. The host of characters are expertly drawn, and fleshed-out. The scenes that unfold are tense, and exciting. I did not want to set the book down. I needed to keep reading, because I had to know what happened next. There is nothing simple about the story. While it took a bit of time to understand the politics, and hierarchy –the language, it was well worth the initial struggle. (It is also why I wanted my review to be slightly more story line-detailed, to give some understanding to potential readers).

Thankfully, I have book two right next to me. CLOUDBOUND. And, as I understand, the third book is available for sale, as well. So, if you will now excuse me, writing this review has kept me from beginning to read the second book in the series.

Phillip Tomasso

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