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(Bone Universe #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  3,233 ratings  ·  635 reviews
In a city of living bone rising high above the clouds, where danger hides in the wind and the ground is lost to legend, a young woman must expose a dangerous secret to save everyone she loves.

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother's side, being i
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Tor Books
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Fran Hi Riki! I wrote Updraft to stand on its own. There's a completed arc, as Coolcurry said. At the same time, there's more to tell about this world, and…moreHi Riki! I wrote Updraft to stand on its own. There's a completed arc, as Coolcurry said. At the same time, there's more to tell about this world, and two more novels set here are coming in 2016 and 2017.

There are also short stories, including one published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies two weeks ago - Bent the Wing, Dark the Cloud

Hope that helps!
~ Fran(less)

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I had a lot of high hopes for this. I really did. I thought to myself, "Oh wow, a society of fliers. A whole world of fliers! This could be utterly awesome, giving me lots and lots of necessary extrapolations and unusual twists and turns, whether societal, setting, or even character-centered."

Instead, I'm introduced to a completely forgettable and utterly predictable plot, with: A Chosen One. An Outcast Sect. War like a Football Game.

Huh? Am I reading YA? Trials, graduation, snobby rich kids, da
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Updraft is a lovely book, a mesmerizing debut from Fran Wilde that draws readers beyond the clouds into an incredibly imagined world of open skies, towers and wings. A lot of readers should enjoy this one, like I did. So why not a higher rating? As with a lot of crossover genre fiction, my main struggle was with the story and writing style, and a dissonance between what I read versus what I expected. Sometimes, getting s
Althea Ann
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Updraft" has been getting a lot of buzz - I went and grabbed a copy just because of all the great things I'd been hearing about it. I'm glad I did; this was a very, very enjoyable book.

However, I almost wish I hadn't heard all the hype - it gave it a lot to live up to. One of the things I kept hearing was how very "unique" it was, especially the setting. There, I have to disagree.

Back in the 70's, when I was a kid, one of my favorite stories had to do with a people who live in a living, growi
Sherwood Smith
Oct 30, 2014 added it
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this book. Loved it. It hits so many of my favorite narrative tropes: wings, towered cities, strange beings, layers and layers of secrets, a heroine who's got talent but who has to work hard with it--and who experiences the consequences of talent/powers/special abilities.

Loved the characters, the world. I'll need to reread it when it comes out, as this was an ARC made from the uncorrected manuscript, so the voice did not come through as clearly as I know it will. So this review will chan
Aug 29, 2015 marked it as zzz-books-not-for-me  ·  review of another edition
DNF: 50% Read from November 04 to 05, 2015

Ok, I'll be honest, Updraft is NOT a bad book. In fact, it's one of the better ones I've (almost) read.
- The World-building is phenomenal! The setting was absolutely amazing, so good that it kept me reading despite my complains!
- Beautifully written, easy to follow narrative, great action scenes!
- And no, no love triangles! (yet)

Everything else felt like a déjà vu, unfortunately. It's a YA book, so be prepared for Special Snowflake Syndrome and for the
Ken Liu
I blurbed this book:

A lovingly, carefully crafted world—an engineering marvel—filled with captivating characters whose struggles and triumphs will thrill the reader and linger long in the imagination. I want to live in the world Wilde has created!
Executive Summary: This book finished stronger than it started, and I'll probably pick up the next one, but not right away. 3.5 Stars.

Full Review
This book has been getting a lot of buzz after various award nominations (and maybe some wins?). I wasn't really interested though. It sounded Young Adult, which I don't tend to enjoy, and I'm already not a big "Steampunk" fan. I'm not sure what qualifies as steam punk exactly, but maybe that's an inaccurate description? I'll leave that someone else
Stephanie Swint
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fran Wilde’s debut novel left me wishing for a sequel even though I knew her story was complete with this book. Wilde’s novel is a great stand alone. She created a world that could be a futuristic dystopia, but I saw it as a fantasy with its own world. In Wilde’s sky towers she has a young woman preparing for her skytest. If she passes she can become a trader, like her mother, and fly among the towers, bringing good luck, and visiting the spire. As teenagers will do from time to time, she chose ...more
Sherwood Smith
Copy provided by NetGalley

I read an earlier draft of this novel, and so engrossing I found it that I managed to get through a lot of formatting glitches and a lot of other detritus of various drafts as the publisher apparently wanted to get it out well in advance of the pub date for maximum publicity.

Well, it worked on me in this case. I could hardly wait to get my hands on a clean copy, and though I remembered the general outline of the story, I found myself falling immediately into it, coming
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mimi by: S&L
Still can't believe this book was nominated for a Nebula or that it won the Andre Norton award. Then again, Naomi Novak's Uprooted winning the Nebula over The Fifth Season still baffles me too, so... What were those judges thinking is what I wanna know.

* * * * *

This is one of those rare books where I think the cover artwork--this edition and the later one--is way more interesting than the story inside.

Updraft (Bone Universe, #1) by Fran Wilde Updraft (Bone Universe, #1) by Fran Wilde

So what we have here is a completely implausible setting world building (even for fant
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
In one of the book group discussions someone mentioned that this felt like a first draft rather than a finished novel. That's pretty accurate.

The writing is competent, so for not being actively terrible and because she doesn't have the heroine become romantically entangled with the Supporting Boy, aka Flying Samwise Gamgee, I'll give it 2 stars.

Worldbuilding - People are raving about the worldbuilding here, which I don't understand. It's easily one of the weakest parts of the book. I suppose if
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Engaging world-building, spunky main character, and for once a plot that resolves in only one book. Enjoyed!
Seth Dickinson
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
UPDRAFT is a story about engineering.

I don't just mean the crunchy numbers kind of engineering, like figuring out how to build bridges between towers of bone in a city thousands of feet above the clouds — although there's that, too, and it's even harder when you don't have metal. UPDRAFT is about how to engineer a society that can live in a wildly hostile place. It's about how to engineer a life in a world that feels outside your control.

Kirit Densala wants to be a trader, like her mom. If she h
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I'm not enthusiastic about this book. The plot is the predictable YA heroine Special Snowflake Will Save Her Society from Bad People we all know from the post-Hunger Games dystopia deluge. I went from liking the main character Kirit to hating her for being so Special Snowflake-y. She's kind of an idiot. And constantly thinks and talks in ill-thought out imperatives and emphatic nouns:

"Sacrifice. Duty. Tradition. We must save the city. We cannot fail. Speak the truth. Accept your birthright."

I ma
Jan 08, 2015 added it
Vivid, deeply affecting, mysterious. Also, WINGS. Y'all should read this one. ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fun fun read. Looking forward to the next one.
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
A very well written fantasy story with excellent world building, this debut novel is also a multi-layered tale about class and society. Wilde manages to do what many may have thought is the impossible, and tells this tale without the use of a love triangle.

In fact, the characters in this book all manage to interact with each other without any romantic involvement at all! *gasp*

I know it doesn't seem possible, but I assure you, it is true.

Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
A young girl with a rare talent is raised in a bizarre scarcity-society in a city of towering bone spires where flight is one of the few freedoms and giant invisible flying squids with glass teeth lurk in the sky.

Kirit is a strong-minded young girl who craves the freedom of flight as a trader between towers, but revelation that she has the type of voice that can control skymouths make her valuable to a secretive ruling class of the city. Her struggle to make her way in this world where it all se
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had so much to do this weekend, but instead I spent the whole weekend reading this book. Not wasted time in the least. This is a thrilling debut novel, full of bone towers and skymouths and humans flying on well-engineered wings. Engineered. This is fantasy without magic (there are creatures WE might call magic, but I would simply call them fauna native to this particular world), a society built on tradition and Laws, but with the reasons behind many of those things lost to a more chaotic time ...more
Gregory Frost
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Updraft is a first novel by Fran Wilde, and it’s one of the more fast and furious fantasy adventures I can recall reading, as well as one of the weirdest worlds you’re likely to encounter: where humans live upon organic, growing towers of bone, high above the clouds; and like the Thanagarian Hawkmen of DC comics, they strap on wings and fly. While the cover art on the ARC I read gives the impression of something vaguely Wright Brothers-ish, the sense of the wings in Wilde’s tale is much differen ...more
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Set in a world where towers of bone endlessly towards the heavens and traders fly on homemade wings to get vital commodities between families, and skymouths devour the unwary. Kirit dreams of being a trader like her mother, but when she finds out she has a special ability to repel skymouths, she finds herself drawn into the intrigues and secrets of the Singers' Spire, those who keep order between the towers...

Superlative world building, a very sympathetic main character (and her family, which i
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Review from Tenacious Reader:

Updraft was a fun read. I really enjoyed the world and imagery of people living in towers in the sky, flying about towers with the aid of fabricated wings. It’s the coming of age story of Kirit, who discovers there is more to her world than she realized. She becomes entangled in politics and and her life has been thrust in a direction she did not expect.

I enjoyed the flying aspect and the idea of living up in the sky, but I wa
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another book edited by Miriam and I promise, my rating isn't because the editor is a fellow Terps fan. ;)

I really dug this book. I guess it's technically young adult, but it didn't feel like it skewed young. It's an interesting coming of age (sort of) crossed with a dystopian fantasy set in a world where people fly to get places. THEY FLY. The book is neatly divided into thirds, and each third tells a piece of the story and sets up the world.

After finishing, I'm intrigued as to what's next for
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I expect I will have much more to say about this book closer to its release date, but I am in love with this world! It's rare to encounter such an original and fascinating setting as this city with its living bone towers, winged citizens, and frightening sky monsters. Wilde has built a world with a detailed, believable history and society, and layered the story with intrigue, action, and compelling characters — rich with themes of tradition, progress, ambition, and class struggles that will reso ...more
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars for the story, but I rounded up because of the beautiful world building. It's very decidedly YA even if it doesn't seem that way from the descriptions, so don't be surprised by the lack of indications of that from the descriptions or shelving. I know that can throw some people off when they aren't expecting it. The girl is young and headstrong and trying to figure out her way through her society's coming of age rituals. It doesn't say her age but it's has to be mid-teens at best as the ...more
Pete Harris
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Updraft reminded me a little of the disturbing world building that China Miéville is known for.

There is a dystopian but fascinating City of bone towers above the clouds, the people swooping free like birds between them on silk wings, yet bound by complex and inflexible traditions and laws. There is the subtle organic horror of their homes being made of living, growing bone—bone of some unseen enormity below that periodically roars for sacrifice. And there is the more direct terror of invisible f

Beth Cato
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a coming-of-age tale that is completely fresh and new because of the utter brilliance of the setting: towers made of bone and a society that relies on constructed wings for survival in the homes among the clouds. The politics are dark, the secrets deep. Kirit is a headstrong young woman who cares nothing for convention, and her agency and attitude make her a strong heroine. This book is fantastic (and a very appropriate one to read when traveling by plane, as I did).
Kirstie Ellen
Nov 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am like angry/10 with how much I was D-I-S-A-P-P-O-I-N-T-E-D by this book. What was that? WHAT DID I JUST READ FOR 400 PAGES? *tantrum flailing arms* I was hoping for an epic civilisation in the sky that flew but nonono - that was 400 pages of plot holes and 1D characters and FAUX DRAMA - because nothing was exciting. I so wanted to like this but oh boy, this is not my cup of tea. This is not even a cup of tea. It's a cup of cold water.

Full review to come.
Michael Underwood
One of the coolest debuts I've read in some time. The worldbuidling is nuanced, layered, and sophisticated.

Definitely recommended for fans of the New Weird, and also a good fit for fans of YA fantasy expanding into adult SF/F.

-NB I received an ARC for an honest review.

-NB Fran is a friend of mine and writing colleague (go team Publishing!)
Becky Shaknovich
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Incredibly imaginative and gripping! Fran Wilde will be visiting the Whitman Library on December 5, 2015at 3:00 p.m. I can't wait to meet her and learn about her creative process. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Squabbling Dragons: Updraft: SPOILERS 5 8 Nov 26, 2017 07:55PM  
Squabbling Dragons: Updraft: SPOILER FREE 2 7 Nov 16, 2017 10:13PM  
Squabbling Dragons: Updraft by Fran Wilde 3 6 Nov 08, 2017 02:25PM  
The Sword and Laser: UD: Skymouths or Skymaws? 9 126 Jul 01, 2016 02:55PM  
The Sword and Laser: UD: Finished: World Building 26 141 Jul 01, 2016 02:50PM  
The Sword and Laser: UD Part 1 (Spoilers through the wingtest) 21 107 Jul 01, 2016 06:15AM  
The Sword and Laser: UD: Silence 4 55 Jun 30, 2016 12:33PM  

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Fran Wilde writes award-winning speculative fiction and fantasy. She can also tie a number of sailing knots, set gemstones, and program digital minions. She reads too much and is a friend of the Oxford comma. Her short stories appear in Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Uncanny, and

Fran's debut novel, Updraft, was nominated for a 2015 Nebula Award, won the 2015 Andre Norton Awar

Other books in the series

Bone Universe (3 books)
  • Cloudbound (Bone Universe, #2)
  • Horizon (Bone Universe, #3)

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