Source- Review copy/ Allen & Unwin Australia
Synopsis: In a world divided into fliers and non-fliers, how far would you go to be able to fly? How much would you sacrifice – perhaps your own child? A beautifully written and compellingly original novel of sacrifice, betrayal and love.
The dream of being able to fly is now physical reality but only the rich and powerful can afford the surgery, drugs, and gene manipulation to become fliers. Peri, a poor girl from the regions, will sacrifice anything to get her wings and join this elite but the price is higher than she could have imagined. So why then does she throw it all away? Feel the exhilaration and terror of flight – over vertiginous skyscrapers, into wild storms and across hypnotic wilderness – in this beautiful and daringly imaginative novel that explores the limits of self-transformation.
Review: This story took me a little while to really get into. It almost reads like two stories from two separate genres. There’s the crime fiction story told from the perspective of Zeke, a private investigator hired by a family whose baby has been kidnapped by their nanny. Then there is the speculative scifi/ fantasy story written from the perspective of Peri, the nanny with wings. In the beginning I wasn’t entirely sure the meshing of the genres really worked, but it eventually all came together and I quite enjoyed the intriguing storylines.
It is set in a futuristic world where people can get wings and learn to fly. There are a second generation of children who are born with wings, or are the offspring of ‘fliers.’ Peri, a young girl from a turbulent childhood and poor town is hired to be the nanny of baby Hugo and in return she is granted wings. But, when another nanny with wings from a family of ‘fliers’ ends up dead Peri flees with Hugo to save them from a similar fate. Zeke becomes interwoven into the lies, deceit and conspiracies that lie beneath the privileged society of fliers as he tries to unravel the truth. It brings up issues of ethics and human rights with themes around surrogacy, child abuse and the problems that arise with advancements in technology.
When We Have Wings is an interesting story that is encompassed by a well-written crime story and interesting and thought-provoking scifi elements. It’s a nice change from the typical girl meets boy YA fantasy genre. There’s depth in the plot and well-rounded characters set against a futuristic background. I recommend this story to scifi, crime fiction and fantasy fans who want to read something unusual.
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