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The House of Shattered Wings

by Aliette de Bodard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dominion of the Fallen (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6214930,867 (3.43)65
In the late twentieth century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians' War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The grands magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and the great houses still vie for dominion over France's once-grand capital.Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.Within the house, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful fallen angel, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires' salvation -- or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.… (more)
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» See also 65 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
I think I need to admit to myself that Bodard's writing is in the same category for me as Charles Dickens: objectively very good, and theoretically I should like it, and everyone else does, and I can't pinpoint any reason at all why I don't, but the fact remains that whenever I try to read their books I find myself just wading through them against an invisible but powerful current. Somehow it's hard work, and while I'd like to know what happens to these people, it turns out I just don't want to that much. ( )
  zeborah | May 29, 2022 |
I discovered the author’s novellas last year and completely fell in love with her worlds and writing style. So, I really wanted to read her full length trilogy as well, but the pandemic hit and my reading mood hit a low. But I’m so glad I decided to pick it up this year because this first book was so interesting.

I read a lot of books but I also tend to stick to very similar types of genres and don’t experiment much. So, an urban fantasy series set in a magical war torn Paris was itself a very fascinating prospect for me. And the author truly manages to bring the devastated feel of the city to life. I will agree that the world building is not comprehensive, we only get the information that we absolutely need for the purpose of the narrative, and don’t get to know much about the history of the war or details about how the Fallen came to inhabit this land. Nevertheless, it was still a very immersive world that I wanted to know more of. The writing style might take a bit of getting used to if you’re unfamiliar with her other works, but it took me just about 2 chapters to get fully engaged in it. The pacing is more on the steady side, with lots of mystery solving and twists happening along with intrigue, but this is not in any way an action packed novel.

This is thoroughly a very character driven story. Madeline is an alchemist who’s choices are defined by her past trauma but she is still good at heart and trying to do the right things sometimes. Isabelle is newly Fallen and the combination of her naïveté and ruthlessness was interesting to read, but she surprisingly turned out to be quite loyal. Philippe has a mysterious past and powers which everyone is trying to leverage, but it’s his longing for his homeland and his people that made me very emotional. And then there are the heads of the various houses... Selene, Claire, Asmodeus etc.. Their rivalry and fight to get one up on each other is really played like a delicate dance and it was quite enjoyable to read, even if the consequences tended to be quite devastating. I obviously am biased towards Asmodeus because I’ve met him already in a spin-off novella, and can’t wait to read more of the series from his perspective. There are also many side characters who had very important parts to play and I felt that the author did justice to all of them.

In conclusion, this was a very marked change from the kind of fantasies I usually read but it was cool. If you like urban fantasy settings outside of the US/UK with great characters, fallen angels and magicians, and lots of dark political intrigue, this might just be the series for you. I’m already so excited to binge read the whole trilogy. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
A friend recommended the author and I want to read more fantasy/sci-fi by those with different backgrounds than mine. I was disappointed by the lack of any resonance with the Paris I know and love. I was unable to detect any particular flavor of unknown origin in this wannabe high fantasy. What were the Annamite elements I was curious about? What was dragony about the dragons? All the characters exhibited the same tedious sniping in every exchange. There was no grand world-building and only the blandest hints of different orders of being promised by a book packed with fallen angels, immortal beings and magical humans. A hodgepodge of elements that never snapped into focus for me. The narration by Peter Kenny was excellent, but that could not save the experience. Some may find her work delightful, but I'm cutting my losses and moving on. ( )
  yeschaton | Jun 20, 2021 |
It took me a couple of attempts to get a start on this audiobook as it seemed to throw so much lore and histories into the first few 'pages' (possibly just me and my moods rather than an actual issue) and a pretty gruesome attempted 'harvesting' as the backdrop but once I buckled down into it it became a beautiful, haunting story. It was dark beginning to end without mercy, but I loved every heart breaking second and every moment of suspense.

There were a few moments where I got a little lost in some of the lore, but it didn't stop me from being able to understand the story in any way.

Overall, a very strong story with excellent characters and a ruthless, haunting vibe throughout. ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
It took me a couple of attempts to get a start on this audiobook as it seemed to throw so much lore and histories into the first few 'pages' (possibly just me and my moods rather than an actual issue) and a pretty gruesome attempted 'harvesting' as the backdrop but once I buckled down into it it became a beautiful, haunting story. It was dark beginning to end without mercy, but I loved every heart breaking second and every moment of suspense.

There were a few moments where I got a little lost in some of the lore, but it didn't stop me from being able to understand the story in any way.

Overall, a very strong story with excellent characters and a ruthless, haunting vibe throughout. ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bodard, Aliette deprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Auerbach, AdamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoteling, SpringDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
NekroCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To my son, the snakelet, for showing me magic and wonder
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It is almost pleasant, at first, to be Falling.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In the late twentieth century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians' War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The grands magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and the great houses still vie for dominion over France's once-grand capital.Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.Within the house, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful fallen angel, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires' salvation -- or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

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Book description
Haiku summary
Fallen and mortals
fight magical curse in the
ruins of Paris.
(passion4reading)

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