Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Year Release: 2019
Source: Library audiobook
|Listened to the audiobook
Revna and Linné are the unlikeliest duo to be paired up as pilot and navigator in the first all-women flight squad in the Union of the North, an alternate fantasy world not unlike mid-twentieth-century Russia.
I love how unflinchingly Bartlett depicted this fantasy land which felt so Soviet. From the factory workers, to the intense focus on secrecy, to the tip-toeing around the government, it felt uncomfortably close to what the our-world Soviet Union could have actually been like. The characters are a bit rough around the edges, and the way that the shadow government plays almost a character in itself is brilliant.
Magic and technology blends perfectly. There are more modern technologies like radios and airplanes, but there is also enough of a backdrop of two different kinds of magic to reaffirm that this is definitely a secondary-world fantasy novel. The way the two work together feels really familiar and had been integrated seamlessly. It made me so excited to read.
Finally, the shining star here were all the girls. From the privileged, to the impoverished, to those more attracted to “girly” things, to those who wanted to play like the boys, I really like how this book focused on how there’s not one right way to be a girl. They all have their worth and value to the squadron. Each of them had been well-rounded I found Linné ‘s journey particularly compelling. I do want to note that Revna uses prosthetics and this is a big part of her arc, but I am not in the right community to comment on the disability rep.
This book takes you on highs and dips into heart-wrenching lows. The depictions of the relationships between young woman are triumphant and the magic-tech makes my heart soar.