Publishing Date: February 2016
Publishers Description: It is forbidden for women to steal the wings that allow a select group of runners to carry messages and goods between colonies. It is forbidden to cross the wastes with a sand storm on the horizon and it is certainly forbidden to share the secrets of the windrunners with those who spend their entire lives in the biospheres.
Review: Basically this is a story about Wren residing on Mars in dystopian fashion, where runners fly through the air from colony to colony bearing messages and whatnot. She longs to be a runner and soon circumstances force her to blaspheme against the ruling council.
The Good: Wow, what a storyline. Mars colonists barely surviving within a caste system of runners and grounders. Soaring high above the landscape with terrible sand beasts tracking your progress below, waiting to eat you. The character development was great along with the movement. Wren grows a little, but Raw morphs from a hateful turd into a stalwart buddy that has your back at every turn. The world building is epic and along with the descriptive detail, you feel like your walking er…flying along with Wren. I give this section 4 Blondie’s.
The Bad: At about the 50% mark the novel takes a literal nose-dive into the sands of Mars. Wren becomes this clingy weirdo that feels her breasts swell when a guy kisses her. There is the very tired and used tribangle where Raw and another dude want her naughty bits. She flies around as a boy but only one guy can tell that she’s a woman when women are in such short supply? I give this section 2 Angel Eyes.
The Ugly: The foundation that makes up good science fiction was severely lacking in this novel. The idea that you can glide/fly for a whole day in a wing suit is ridiculous. Martian atmosphere is close to vacuum. Even with some terra forming which this novel alludes to, no numbers are given as to how much they have converted the planet. As the only places where growing and living things abide is in controlled biospheres, one can assume the planet is still a completely hostile environment. This novel should have been rendered with airships of one design or another as those are about the only unpowered vehicles that can operate in Mars thin atmosphere. Additionally another glaring hole in the plot is why, with the lack of a functioning ecosystem, is it possible that Mars can support huge sand beasts, sand snakes and hives of beetles? Is there some subterranean source of water that produces plant like matter with huge refracting natural crystals providing light or some form of cave dwelling ecosystem? This section gets 1 Tuco.
This was so close to becoming a 5 star novel. With just a bit of supportive science as a nod to the genre this novel could have soared. I just don’t understand how, with so much information out there on Mars, that the author did not evolve the planet scientifically. Moving Wren from a gutsy do-anything person into a dopey eyed love-struck bimbo really ruined the novel in it’s entirety. The author speaks about writing for her daughter in order to show her that girls can do anything. I get that, but I also get that her swelling breasts couldn’t have done it all without Raw and his rippling muscles, flashing mischievous eyes and an anger that is …..raw.