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Avians by Timothy Gwyn


by Timothy Gwyn

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This Kindle book was received through the Early Reviewer program. It is a YA science fiction story set on a planet only partially inhabitable by humans, on the slopes of tall mountains. The colony is maintained by shipments from large ships that transverse the planet visiting all of the settlements, dropping supplies and having local products flown up to them on low-tech gliders. And it is the story of these gliders that we follow at one small settlement. The world-building is fantastic. The writing is serviceable and does not get in the way of the story, and the characterization is actually quite good. I'd recommend this author to your attention.

ETA This is published by Five Rivers Publishing, a Canadian company that produces ebooks and prints books on demand. I have to say that the editing on this book was superb--I didn't notice ANY errors and that is unusual. Also, two excellent reviews on the book page by reading_fox and thedenathome. ( )
  ronincats | Aug 21, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Two thing were the heart of the story. The trade business that connects everything and characters and loved this two things of the book. I have little elaborated the world here, just to make it easy to understand the book for reader. I hope I’m not giving away much.

World-building– Basically, People were living on green, very hot, and more oxygenated Celadon planet, looked like migrated from earth (why new planet and what happened to Earth! I don’t know! Time period was not mentioned in the book). There were two kind of people: One, Naturals – normal city humans, like us, and Avians- gliders who soloed first 35% of the book. Second, Coverts – kind of super humans- they live longer almost forever, plagued, and very secretive. They have reasons for being secretive which was explained in last few chapters. They live on airships that travels with Goods and receive and deliver it on various mountain range across the planet. Apparently there were 3 sister ships- Sitka, Sequoia, and Douglas. These people come in picture after Anians were done with their solo i.e. after 35% of the book, they made the book even more interesting. There is this third too –Spacer, who live outside the ring but nothing much mentioned about them in the book.

Honestly, it was hard to understand for me this whole thing. It was not like explained all in one chapter. As I progressed the book, I could join the pieces. I liked this dystopian world and it was amazing! Phewww, this world gave me quite a brain work.

Characters– Story was narrated by Mel, Raisa and Corby’s point of view- main 3 characters of the book. There are many diverse characters with different abilities in the book but it focuses on these 3 more.

Corby Corvid– Chief of Avians – who was strict, keeping everyone on their toe, but always doubting her position and her ways of leading Avians. She is my favorite character of the book. Mel– former servant later Blackbird- was acidic in nature but turns out a good squad leader. Raisa– hungry for freedom but not for food, I loved her defiant nature. These 3 were very interesting to read in the book and was all the charm of the book and their development was brilliant.

What I liked? Needless to say, world-building and characters. I loved this female oriented glider concept of the book. Motto of Avians was amazing- ‘Small, Smart and Strong’, I loved Avians. The best was the training part of Blackbirds and how blackbird chose their names that was fun to read. Whole detailed instructions of flying gliders and trade business was so nicely written, I could understand the flying terminologies, though I don’t know anything about it, and I could imagine flying glider myself.

Corby was very fierce, strong and strict with them all. I loved the way she motivated everyone and treated them equally and her constant efforts to save more life. The way she dealt with troublemakers or the rule-breakers and the punishments she gave to them was brilliant. She always knew how to turn the weakness of any squad into strength that benefited everyone. I admired her for this ability. I even liked the family drama in the book. I enjoyed that part and learning about the Wing dynasty. I was so amazed how all characters faced the difficulties and how cleverly they solved the problems.

Second half, The adventure of Corby to Little Etna was mesmerizing! Why she didn’t come to action before! The volcano eruption part was so brilliant that I was tempted to give it full star. And major second half was ‘Sitka life’- I disliked Sitka people (converts). Agghh! They were so mean. Okay! I understood why they were so persuasive to convert one of the character but, that’s not a right way and I just hated how they tested her all the time. :/ I agree with Corby’s thought about them. However, they made book dramatic and interesting specially the story of former squad member. It also helped in understanding world-building little more.

End– I am so happy with the end. In this last part, I was buried under happy tears.

Why 4? Only one thing I didn’t understand how and why people came to live on Celadon / in which time period these all happened / how they were plagued and had to be separated / why only converts use metal why can’t they share it with naturals (mean people! :/ )? A little clarity of these things would have make the book easier to follow. In short I need more answers. Book is already big, 400 something, 100/150 pages more explaining things would be fine with me.

Overall, this was steady paced science fiction book and kind of all descriptive reading with the story. Great, definitely not boring. I enjoyed reading it. ( )
  Yesha88 | Jul 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
At first I found it difficult to get into. I found the characters intolerable and the plot slow. I'm glad I persisted I was totally booked by the end and am eager for a sequel. I like the idea behind the avians themselves and it was cleverly written. I like the viewpoints from several different characters. I'd not read anything like this before very fantasy with almost 3 different worlds/ people's within. If you like fantasy, new worlds and heroines, this would be right up your street. ( )
  loopyem | Jul 26, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Timothy Gwyn, in my opinion, did a great job of building a world and populating it with unique and engaging characters. He did a good job of growing some of the characters and maintaining a good grip on the plot and integrating different storylines into the overall book. I would have liked more about the other two members of the Blackbirds and more about the planet and how it came to be the way it was. Also, more about the Converts. But as a first novel, this definitely was much better than some of the other first attempts I've read in the last few years. By the end, I was thoroughly consumed with the story and burned through the last half of the book with delight and excitement. ( )
  steven.wade | Jul 7, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review

Before I start this review properly I'd like to give a possible trigger warning re: eating disorders and food in general. There is a lot of focus especially in the early part of this book about the main character Raisa not wanting to eat and having problems with food. At first this is because she thinks if she doesn't eat she won't 'fill out' and no one will want to marry her, since she is trying to escape an impending arranged marriage. However even after she runs away this continues because the Avians have a very strictly enforced diet since they also want to remain very small and thin so they can carry more weight in their gliders. I mean they still eat three meals a day and I'm sure this is a kind of diet some types of real life athletes use to stay small for various reasons but for me I was looking at what they were eating vs. the amount of exercise they are doing every day and there is just no way they are getting enough calories. Also at one point Raisa isn't able to work out for several days and she literally says she doesn't feel like she 'deserves' to eat because she hasn't been exercising. This all gets better as the novel progresses but it made me uncomfortable several times and I feel that people who have / have had eating disorders might have some problems with it. I wish more focus had been spent on Raisa recovering from her eating disorder or that it wasn't so prominent in the first place.

However I did very much enjoy the book overall. The world was incredibly fascinating although I do wish we had gotten more answers. The story takes place on a world colonized by people from Earth but they don't really have any advanced technology because metal is so scarce on the planet and apparently Earth doesn't have enough to spare so there are only a few things like radios that use metal components on-planet. However there are larger ships that never actually land and give the people trade goods from off-world and they have tons of metal but they have to keep it a secret I guess because people will mob them if they knew about it. I don't know if there is a sequel in the works but there is plenty of room for one. The whole thing had a vaguely sinister dystopian feel to me but that was never really explored, instead choosing to focus on a more coming-of-age type story where Raisa learns to trust and work with other people. I personally don't think she SHOULD have learned to trust some of them because they obviously didn't and still don't trust her, but it was an interesting journey nonetheless and a good message under most circumstances.

I think what really made this story shine, despite me having some problems with the plot and execution, were the characters. They all felt real and believable and they all had their own distinct personalities. This book reminded me in a way of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence just because there is a large group of girls as the main cast in a kind of school / training setting. Also because I am always just genuinely impressed when a male author writes such a varied and believable cast of female characters. Definitely a very interesting book with an original concept. ( )
  devannm | Jun 27, 2017 |
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