Saturday, May 11, 2024

The Wings Upon Her Back by Samantha Mills


I first encountered Samantha Mills when her story, Rabbit Test, was nominated for a Hugo Award. I loved that story so much - it was incredibly well written and was number one on my ballot. (Regardless of what we later learned about how the 2023 Hugo nomination was hijacked, that story was amazing and it will always be a Hugo winner in my mind.)

After reading that story, I was excited when I found out that Ms. Mills had a first novel coming out, and I was even more excited when NetGalley and the publisher gave me an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

The book starts when the protagonist, a member of a fascist warrior caste, goes easy on someone in possession of forbidden material, after which she is caught,  her bio mechanical wings are stripped from her, and she is cast down. She then ends up connected with a bunch of young dissidents committed to bringing about positive change through violence. 

The book alternates between this present time frame and the past, explaining how the protagonist left her scholar household to join the warrior caste. 

The entire story is set in a city state organized by a caste system in which each of the five groups worships one of five gods that may or may not be alien visitors in suspended animation. 

The world building is intriguing and tell you just enough to leave you wanting more. 

The split narrative didn’t work for me exactly as intended - I loved the past timeframe so much that the present time frame felt boring and shallow by comparison. But maybe that’s just me. 

In any event, I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait to read more from Samantha Mills in the future!

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