Good read, it helped pass the time on an airplane. Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, who bring news, gossip, songs, and stories. They are romantic figures crossing treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms that could easily dash them from the sky to instant death.
This reminded me of Anne McCaffery's dragon flyers series.
The protagonist, Maris, is the daughter of a poor fisherman. As a young girl she yearns to fly - and when she's adopted by a member of the flyers' guild, it appears the orphan may achieve her dream despite the odds. Wealthy landowners control the guild, however, and in order to keep her wings she has to fight generations of tradition as well as prejudice from the sons and daughters of nobles.
This is a reasonably well done story. Decent writing, believable plot devices, mildly interesting characters. And the world built here is actually pretty interesting. A remote archipelago hosts a pre-industrial society literally built from the wreckage of interstellar travelers; the flyers use wings cobbled together from old space ship parts.
Still, despite a lot of potential, this book seems to be missing something. The authors offer a "moral dilemma" dressed up with cultural/class warfare to drive the story but then it just kind of limps along. As I read, I kept thinking, "yeah, so what?"
Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, who bring news, gossip, songs, and stories. They are romantic figures crossing treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms that could easily dash them from the sky to instant death. Maris of Amberly, a fisherman's daughter, was raised by a flyer and wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. So Maris challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen by merit rather than inheritance. But when she wins that bitter battle, she discovers that her troubles are only beginning. For not all flyers are willing to accept the world's new structure. Now she finds herself fighting to perserve the integrity of flyer society against a revolution that threatens to tear apart the fabric of the world she fought so hard to join - and to which she might be required to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
Loved it! The plot was very imaginative and kept me reading to the end. As usual, Martin was at his best in his descriptive words. I almost seemed you were there with the characters. High flying adventure!
I've never read anything like this before but found it to be an engaging read that I couldn't put down.
The rarest bird of all -- a George R.R. Martin fantasy that is NOT part of a multi-book series! Wow! What will they think of next?
Seriously, Martin and co-author Lisa Tuttle have created an alien but recognizably human world where the descendants of stranded spacefarers have cannibalized parts of solar sail ships to create wings allowing a few, specially-trained men and women to fly on the planet's unceasing winds.
The first section of the book, where a young woman whose social class bars her from ever learning to fly, could be any YA fantasy. But that's ***just*** the first section. After that, the issues and problems become very grown-up indeed, and nothing is quite as simple and straightforward as it seemed.