Catherine Smith's Reviews > Wings Unseen

Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell
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's review
Nov 01, 2017

really liked it

I really enjoyed this book. I've been in a rut of reading books that have such great potential and then fail in some pretty major ways, but this book was refreshing in the fact that it didn't do that to me. It was a solid story, made even better by the fact that it was a debut and as of right now, a stand alone.

One of my absolute favourite things about this book is the fact that it doesn't end on the last page in the middle of a sentence in order to force you to come back for the second installment, which conveniently, is already written and suspiciously reads exactly like it was all once one story that someone decided to just split up. Because, you know, you make more money with squeals and series these days. With that though, I think this story proves that if you don't force it on people, they will actually want the story to continue. I wouldn't mind at all, if one day I see this world get revisited.

Wings Unseen brings with it a unique world and a unique plight. The characters are unique and actually have some commendable development put into them, a king who didn't want to be a king, yet rules with compassion and understanding, a prince that is actively doing what he can to prepare himself to be just as good of a king as his father one day, a gentle lady who discovers in herself a desire to be more than what she once thought she would be, and my favoutire: A prickly, mistrusting, violent, and difficult woman, who also happens to be born on the enemy side of the mountains from everyone else in the list above.

I don't want to go into the characters of every cast member in this book, but I feel the need when it comes to Vesperi. If you never make it past the first two chapters of this book then you wouldn't understand why I would call this woman my favourite character. Or maybe you would just rule my opinion out as idiotic and just blatantly wrong. But if you make it past the first two chapters then you can see how she develops, and that's probably the best part of the story, and I think, one of the main ideas behind the book. I read one review that just summed Vesperi up as a murderer and kind of left it at that. What they left out is the world that built her to be what she is.

Medua is its own land now, broken away from the rest of Lansera a few generations back. They are similar to Lansera in the idea that they too have a ruler, (though only really in name), priests, and a God. However in this realm the priests actually control everything, and they do it through manipulation, gruesome murder, and fear. There is also a little magic thrown in, but that only adds to the intimidation. Under their leader: the Guj, everyone in Medua is taught to either live in, or rule by, fear. Women only exist as play things to be "taken" at any mans will, and then expected to slip off without complaint to the kitchen, convent, or exile when the man is through with them. If they don't then they are beaten, further raped, and sometimes killed. Some, like Vesperi are born into a "noble" house. This is the only level of society where the reader will see women titled "wife" or "daughter". And yet, those titles mean very little. The wife is nothing more than the means to a legitimate male heir. She is still subject to being beaten, and raped at will. She is just also expected to be grateful that its one man doing the raping and beating, as appose to any random man from the town coming in to do the same.

Vesperi is the product of this environment. She is violent in thought, (and sometimes action) because that is how she has survived without becoming like the broken women that live in the town, or like her broken mother that lives and slaves in the manor kitchen. Shes learned that its not rape if she seduces them first, and if she learns to read them just right they are less likely to swing a fist in her direction. There is actually a place in the book where Vesperi has to consider which male guard she is faced with because some are more likely to beat her more freely than others. The only person in her small world that she wants approval or even just acceptance from is her father. When she finally has to face the fact that he would exile her without a second thought, she runs. This is what throws her into the journey she finds herself on for the rest of the book. This woman, who was broken in her own way, learns to care about other people. Genuinely care. She not only learns to care about people she knows personally, but she cares about people in general. She learns what its like to be safe in the company of other people, especially a man, for the first time in her life. Her character development is huge considering where she starts and where she is by books end.

If I were to fault this book, it would be on one thing. It feels too much like the foundation to a story. It is so good at getting in the minds of the main characters, and even though some of them aren't as interesting as others, I feel that a good effort is made in this regard. However, there is so much examination of the characters and the dynamics of the group that there isn't much story outside that. For a story that brags of a mysterious enemy that this trio and their friends must defeat, its only really in the last few chapters that this side of the story starts to get interesting. In the end, I felt like the whole book could just have been the set up for the real adventure coming.

Overall though, it is a lovely read. The writing is clean and not convoluted. The characters are dimensional and, for the most part, complex, and the world they live in is explained in some depth. I was happy with what I got out of it, and I would come back if a sequel was every presented.
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