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Black Wings Beating

(Skybound #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,878 ratings  ·  563 reviews
The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer--while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She's nearly made it out, t
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
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  • Black Wings Beating by Alex London
    Black Wings Beating (Skybound, #1)
    Release date: Sep 03, 2019
    Enter for a chance to win one of 15 paperback copies of BLACK WINGS BEATING!

    In this first young-adult fantasy novel in a trilogy, Alex London launches

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    Giveaway dates: Jul 01 - Jul 08, 2020

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    Popular Answered Questions
    Elias I don't know what that means but the hero, Brysen, is a boy who happens to be attracted to other boys.
    Naomi Waters I think this is a good book for high-schoolers and mature middle-schoolers. There are a few graphic scenes in this though. For example a guy is alive …moreI think this is a good book for high-schoolers and mature middle-schoolers. There are a few graphic scenes in this though. For example a guy is alive when he has his eyes pecked out by birds, so if you don't think a middle-schooler could handle a few scenes of that caliber then this book isn't for them.(less)

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.62  · 
    Rating details
     ·  1,878 ratings  ·  563 reviews

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    Start your review of Black Wings Beating (Skybound, #1)
    Adam Silvera
    Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    OFFICIAL BLURB: "BLACK WINGS BEATING takes the fantasy genre to soaring new heights with its epic thrills, heart-punching romance, and a marvel of a hero."

    So happy I got to read BWB early. Alex London does some one-of-a-kind storytelling here. (While waiting for this one, I definitely recommend checking out his futuristic thrillers PROXY and GUARDIAN. I really love those books too!)
    Cristina Monica
    At first glance, this may seem like an original tale. (The cover sure is.) After all, who knew birds could play such a huge role in a story.

    But the more I read, the less impressed I became. I did find the idea of training birds for different purposes interesting, and even fighting an opponent for money along with your trained bird.

    Except, when it came time to discuss the war that may or may not happen, I was like, ‘‘Here we go again.’’ Perhaps it’s bad timing, perhaps I would have liked this mor
    Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    Hi, I love this book.
    may ➹
    despite this book being about birds, this book was surprisingly, shockingly nothing like Six of Crows

    chan ☆
    Sep 24, 2018 marked it as to-read
    gay. pokemon comparisons. young adult. fantasy. fuck me all the way up.
    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    Brysen is one of those characters who is so obnoxious that it just slowly permeates the rest of the book and ruins it. If you want a book about a man's pride and how it is more important than any other characters' feelings then this is the book for you. If I had to read a single more page about Kylee making herself small and her accomplishments smaller in order to make her brother feel good about himself I was going to scream. A man's ego is not more important than a woman's self worth. Ugh. UGH ...more
    Nov 16, 2018 marked it as to-read
    • BIRDS

    • GAYS


    May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
    I liked this book but nothing about it stood out to me. While Alex London's debut YA novel Proxy grabbed my attention from the start with its thrilling plot and solid queer romance, Black Wings Beating left me wanting more. The noven follows Brysen and Kylee, twins gifted with the skill of falconry, as they embark on a dangerous mission to save the boy Brysen loves and to fend off enemies who want to use them for their power.

    I appreciated the complexity of the family dynamics between Brysen
    Ivy Moore
    Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: came-soon-18-19
    Full review:

    A fantastic fantasy chronicling the quest of twins Brysen and Kaylee, both fighting to capture a legendary killer bird. Smart and original and queer, this avian epic makes me hungry for a sequel. The bird puns and references got a bit excessive after a while, but the writing was strong and the ideas stronger. Aesthetically, I loved it. Technically, I wasn’t as much of a fan. Overall, I had a good time, I learned about birds and I fell in love
    May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
    I wanted to love this, but there was a lot I didn't understand or couldn't get behind. Brysen is so hard to root far. I think you're supposed to like him, but I really did not. I understand that people have father issues that can really pound their self esteem, causing them to accept a toxic romantic relationship as okay but... man, the whole reason for the journey in this book is unbelievable. Brysen whines a lot which is also so annoying. Kylee is a bit easier to stomach. However, she constant ...more
    Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
    As I reach the conclusion of this book, I'm a little in awe, a little annoyed, and mostly confused. Let me start, though, with what I really love about this.

    The Intricate World
    The Uztari are built on a society of falconry. They catch birds of prey, train them, sell them, use them as weapons, messengers, companions, and guides. The beginning was a bit heavy on backstory building this world, but it really left no day-to-day detail untouched. From their greetings, the two-winged salute, to th
    Stella ☆Paper Wings☆
    This is one of those books that I never stopped wanting to DNF, but I still managed to push through. Black Wings Beating certainly isn't all bad, but I just really did not like it. I'm going to try to be nice in this review but I have so many nitpicky little issues that it might be difficult.

    Let's start with the CONS so we can end on a positive note:

    ☆ My biggest problem is that the concept is actually pretty strange and underdeveloped. It certainly seemed interesting when I
    Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
    I've been waiting for his next book after PROXY & GUARDIAN like forever....

    after read thoughts:

    Honestly, It was hard for me to get into the story. I can't get my head around all that falconry and or falcon battle... And the political in it...just... thin. It didnt make me feel like on the edge of world war...

    The story was way more enjoyable when it came to the action; The twin launched the guest to capture the legendary ghost eagle (whatever it is) and it's brilliantly tied to their past.

    I hope
    Jaime Arkin
    Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
    This was my first Alex London book, and it definitely won’t be my last. I picked this up and read it in less than 24 hours. I was just completely enthralled with the world and characters London has created with this story.

    Twins, Brysen and Kylee live with their mother on the outskirts of Six Villages. Brysen wants only to become a famous falconer and Kylee wants just the opposite, to be free of the debt they acquired upon the death of their father and falconry all together.

    Brysen has spent his
    Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
    3.5 star for this book. Would like to see the sequel and how all conflicts that are introduced here come to a clash . Loved the talk about falconry art.
    "In stories, people said they were dumbstruck by love, but those storytellers knew nothing. Love didn't make you dumb; it made you too smart, too quickly. In the span of a breath, a person in love could imagine everything they should say and its opposite, every tone of voice they could use and why each one was a mistake. They could weigh every word and analyze every gesture.... A person in love was paralyzed by the brilliance of their own longing."

    4.5 Stars. Wow, Black Wings Beating did n
    Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I really loved this book it was LGBT without that being the main point there was so much more to the book than that. I loved the characters especially Kylee,Brysen and Nyall I liked the relationship between the siblings Kylee would do absolutely anything to protect Brysen. I really did like how Brysen was determined to go get the ghost eagle to save the one he loved. (view spoiler) ...more
    Books on Stereo
    Black Wings Beating is an imaginative fantasy that sadly loses its mesmerizing premise as the novel continues.
    Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: lgbtqia
    I mean, okay.
    Jay G
    Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

    Kylee and her twin brother Brysen are falconers, left with the debt their late father owes. Brysen loves it, but Kylee wants to be free of falconry. The boy Brysen loves gets into trouble, owing a great debt to a dangerous man. The twins set off on a daring adventure to catch the Ghost Eagle, the bird who killed their father. Along the way, they are faced with many enemies who want to u
    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
    This was unexpectedly delightful! An adventure fantasy set in a society that reveres birds of prey. HECK. This book was so fun.

    - Set in a world structured around the companionship and connection between bird trainers, or falconers, and their birds of prey companions, giving rise to its unique language, social and cultural traditions, religions, and ideologies.
    - Follows twins Brysen and Kylee; the former, the reckless twin who strives to be a falconer and to prove something to the world, and the
    Ben Howard
    Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

    I went into this a bit hesitant, as reviews from people I follow and others were pretty middle of the road.

    But I was pleasantly surprised. I loved this book! The concept of falconry was unique, at least to me, and interestingly exicuted. I can understand why people may not like the two main characters, seeing them as annoying and selfish, but I found that the reasons why they acted that way made sense with the context of their relationship with their father. I'm looking forward to how these
    I really really loved this! The characters were precious and I adored them! (Not to mention the fantastic world building, gorgeous writing, and exciting plot.)

    Marius Paulsen (Antari-kun)
    Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I loved this start to the series and this plot is so unique! Loved every second of it! Minor pacing issues but otherwise perfect!
    Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2019
    TWs: abuse (physical, emotional); implied sexual relationship with a minor; self-harm; suicidal ideations

    I like to refer to this as "feather fantasy." It's like dragon fantasy but with birds of prey. The world was really unique in that everything, from religion to military strategy, revolved around birds and the sky. Was it all perfectly explained? No. I'm sure there are stuff I will understand better on reread, but for now I'm really pleased with what I read and understood. The politics of this
    Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
    I gave this one a good ol' college try with an awesome cover and some falconry but there wasn't much of a story to build that I realized I wasn't getting in to it and skimmed through until the end and realized I didn't miss much for it's thickness. It really only moved a tick forward in creating a series that could have probably been an awesome and thoughtful retelling standalone but instead gives it up to being another derivative series.
    I have had this book on my audible account for almost a year and never really listened to it. Until today.

    I honestly have no idea what I was expecting to get from Black Wings Beating and I still don't after finishing it. The world started off leaving me in awe but then I slowly got less intrigued and more annoyed throughout the book. Things just weren't making sense or adding up for my brain today. Maybe I'm just so tired or I'm doing way too many things while listening to this book (like chores
    Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
    I met the author of this book at the North Texas Teen Book Festival! He was really sweet and that’s why I decided to buy his book.

    Now for the review:

    I throughly enjoyed this book. It was good to read after a test, because it wasn’t super advanced and I could focus on the story. I loved the writing style and his descriptions.


    I didn’t really enjoy Brysen that much. I thought he was whiny and wasn’t very strong. He took his sister’s accomplishments and tried to make them his own.

    I lov
    Christine Spoors
    May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: read-2019
    This was such a dark interesting YA fantasy set in a society that revolves around birds and the sky. I thought it was such a unique idea and the world-building was great. I chose this book because I knew one of the main characters was gay and I’m looking to listen to books with LGBTQ+ characters with my audible subscription!

    Kylee was amazing, she basically carried the whole story and I would have enjoyed just having her POV just as much. Brysen has had an awful past, so you feel sorry for him bu
    Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
    Trigger Warnings:
    Mentions of Past Parental Abuse, mentions of past self harm, gore

    This was an enjoyable fantasy centred around the traditions of Falconry, and the love between a sister and brother as they seek to protect each other.
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    The Short Version:

    Alex London writes books for adults (One Day The Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War), children (Dog Tags series; An Accidental Adventure series) and teens (Proxy). At one time a journalist reporting from conflict zones and refugee camps, he is now a full time novelist living in Brooklyn, NY, where he can be found wandering the streets talking to his dog, who is the real bra

    Other books in the series

    Skybound (3 books)
    • Red Skies Falling (Skybound, #2)
    • Gold Wings Rising (Skybound, #3)

    Articles featuring this book

    Caroline Tung Richmond is an award-winning YA author and the program director of We Need Diverse Books. Run by authors, librarians, teac...
    99 likes · 15 comments
    “I’d rather live in a world where I get to love the moon than in one where I don’t, even if the moon won’t return the feeling.” 7 likes
    “The ghost eagle couldn't plant thoughts in their minds; it could only distort what was already there. But like Jowyn said, they were all more than their worst thoughts. Maybe there were pieces of truth in everything they'd just yelled at one another, but only the most jagged pieces. No one was only the sum of the broken things inside themselves. Anyway, what were breaks if not openings?” 2 likes
    More quotes…