HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS – Aliette de Bodard
HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS is Aliette de Bodard’s fourth novel and is the start of a series called Dominion of the Fallen. The cover copy describes it a murder mystery, which means I’m sympathetic to it from the start. However, although there are murders and a mystery running through the spine of the novel, the answering of these questions is of secondary importance to the novel’s high politicking between the houses that run Paris. It’s the arguments and the back and forth between the Houses which vie for control of Paris, which make HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS a pleasure to read. Personally, I found the novel slightly too long, but that’s forgivable because what it trades away in pace it pays back in mood and intelligence.
To me it seems to be one of the defining fictional devices of our time — charting the conflicts of gangs. We’ve seen this before in Game of Thrones. And, of course, it also forms one of the foundations of the Harry Potter series. This focus gives us two things: firstly, a deliberate reduction of the world into the smaller, identifiable groups, and, secondly, other perspectives to narrate in a potentially continuing narrative.
But once we’ve found our flavor of gangland fiction then we’re hooked and waiting for the next volume. With HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS I’ve found an experience that I want a repeated hit of when the next volume is released.