Reviews: Reading with the Waterbirds

Hello everybody! Today, I have another review post for you, and this time all the books are connected to birds in some way. I’ve been a bit slower with my reading than usual recently because I’ve had loads on at uni and I’ve not been making enough time for it as I should, but I’m hoping to get my mojo back in March so these posts can be longer again. And they’ve not permanently moved from Saturdays in case anyone is wondering, it’s just been a total coincidence the last two times! Anyway, onto the books!

(Also for anyone wondering, the title makes v little sense, you’re right, cause not all of these books are about waterbirds. It’s a play on a song by one of my fave bands. Nearly all of these are named after songs!)

A Rush of Wings by Laura E. Weymouth

This is Laura E Weymouth’s 3rd book, and I’ve got to say it felt really good getting to read something new from her after 2 years having passed since A Treason of Thorns was released. It follows the story of a girl named Rowenna who lives in a historic version of the Scottish Highlands, and what happens when her mother dies, an evil impostor takes her place within the family, and curses Rowenna, her brothers and a boy named Gawen that she rescued from a shipwreck. Laura’s writing is so beautiful and lyrical and it really brings her setting to life, both in terms of time and place. I loved Rowenna, our beloved dark-hearted girl, who very much wants to do the right thing but is very misunderstood by most of the people around her. Gawen is a wonderful love interest with his own backstory and issues to work through, and I loved Rowenna’s complex but ultimately close bond with her brothers. My favourite character was undoubtedly Elspeth because I found her story so heartbreaking, and I hated Torr Pendragon for the cruelty he inflicted on his people. This is a gorgeous, lyrical read and I very much look forward to reading Laura’s next book A Conjuring Light.

The Bird Singers by Eve Wersocki Morris

This is a debut novel from a publicist at Simon and Schuster based on Polish mythology, which follows two sisters named Layah and Izzie as they go on a trip to the Lake District and end up involved in a mythical mystery after deeply strange things start happening to them there. I loved th mystery at the heart of this and how dark the fantasy element of the book made this, and I found it so interesting to discover more about Poland’s mythology as I don’t remember ever having read a book about it before. Layah is a great protagonist, she’s so headstrong and brave and determined, and I loved how much of a bookworm Izzie was and the way she balanced Layah out really well in terms of personality. The setting is so well described and depicted, and as I’ve already sort of said, I loved the fantasy element, especially as it blends so well with the family mystery element. Given the tantalising hint at there being something more going on in the epilogue with a certain Teddington Speckleback, I’m really looking forward to reading the second book, which I don’t think I’ve seen an official announcement for anywhere but I definitely need in my life.

The Raven Riddle by Vashti Hardy and illustrated by Natalie Smillie

This is the third book in a really cute middle grade series from Barrington Stoke, which follows wardens named Grace and Tom, who live in a world where wardens try and prevent crime before it happens due to technology developed by an ancestor of Grace’s. This one sees them try and solve the issue of some rather violent ravens that are plaguing a small town for some reason, and it was great to see Grace and newbie Tom (who was introduced in the Puffin Portal) strike out on their first solo mission. They handled the situation like absolute pros for the most part and it was great to see how the trip brought them closer together. Clockwork raven Watson remains my absolute favourite character though, I had a lot of chuckles over things he said and did during this and it’s sweet how much he wants to protect Grace! There are also some really lovely messages about kindness and not judging people based on rumours in here that I really appreciated. I had somehow got it into my head this was the last book but that definitely isn’t the case, so I’m very much looking forward to my next visit to this world when book four comes out.

A Crown of Talons by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

This is the follow-up to A Throne of Swans, which I really enjoyed the last time I did a review post about birds, so this was always a shoo in for another post of this ilk. It follows Aderyn as she attempts to adapt to her new role as queen, and her role as wife to her cousin due to the rules of the kingdom forcing them to marry, meaning she can’t be with her true love Lucien. I was a little bit worried I’d get confused as the magic system is pretty intricate but I adjusted to being back in this world very quickly and I love all the political intrigue and backstabbing and court drama that’s going on throughout it. The fantasy world of nobles being able to shape shift into different birds is so incredibly cool, and I love that all of the characters remained who they are at their core, but also had a lot of character development. Also, a lot of the relationships are very complex and well written; I absolutely ship Aderyn and Lucien, but I also loved her friendships with Aron and Letya. I think the ending of this wraps things up so well and lots of it made me really happy, these characters deserved their happy ending! If you’re a fan of the State of Sorrow books (or political fantasy with a smidge of romance in general!), this is the duology for you. I’m so excited for the Corr sisters’ new series to start later this year, because they really are such brilliant writers and craft incredible worlds and characters with their words, and I think their take on Ancient Greece will be something very special.

Sparrow Rising by Jessica Khoury

I’ve been wanting to read this author’s two currently released middle grade books since last summer, and I’m so happy I’ve finally got to one of them! It follows a girl named Ellidee Meadows, who lives in a world where people have wings and are members of a certain bird clan, so in Ellie’s case she is a Sparrow. She is desperate to become a Goldwing (the knights who protect her kingdom), but no one from a clan with as low a status as hers has ever succeeded before, so she is very much an underdog. After her trial goes badly wrong, she ends up running away and joining a group of thieves, and the book follows their journey to getting to the wildcard trials where Ellie wants to compete for one last chance to achieve her dreams. Like I said, Ellie is an absolute underdog and I was just so behind her from the minute I met her, and our other main POV character Nox is also someone i was rooting for the entire book, even though he is a little bit prickly until you get to know him better. We also have a great supporting cast in Gussie and Twig and other people who aren’t quite so lovable (I hate Zain so much, just for example!!). The worldbuilding is fascinating and there is so much I want to learn about the different castes. It also provides a great metaphor for racism and classism, through different clans being treated unfairly for things like having two different coloured wings and Ellie’s issues with not wanting the career she is supposed to, Not only am I very excited for the next book in this series, I’m also even more excited than I already was to discover the world of Mystwick School for Musiccraft (which I’m hoping to read in April).

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any bird themed books lately? Do you have any thoughts on the ones I’ve included here? I’d love to chat with you in the comments!!

Amy xx


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

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