01/03/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: TOR/Forge. 382 page hardback. Price: $27.99 (US), $35.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-2095-7).
check out websites: www.tor-forge.com , www.brenda-cooper.comand www.thefiveworlds.com
I hate saying this after two decent books in this series but 'Wings Of Creation' is a definite mis-fire. The strengths of 'The Silver Ship And The Sea' and 'Reading The Wind' was helped by dividing this small group of super-humans up so they had separate adventures and threats which, as they were in the centre of, could work well in first person. Here, on a planet where its inhabitants have adjusted their weight ratio so they can fly under their own power, they are all together and switching from character to character, the first person narrative has suddenly become interchangeable where you can't tell them apart. If you didn't pay attention to the chapter headers you would think you were the same character throughout. The same descriptive detail and worse, lack of emotional content so that when something disastrous happens, the impact is lost. If they are unaffected then so are you. Things aren't helped that the characters themselves aren't in the centre of the action. Call me old-fashioned, but I used to think that was a requisite for any story.
Looking for somewhere to avoid persecution, Chloe, Joseph and their group arrive on the apparently peaceful planet of Lopali where people fly but has a tyranny brewing underneath. The latter point doesn't really come out in the story because as it's in first person, they don't come in contact with it. Much of the time, the story resorts to dialogue and them mastering an artificial equivalent of flying with artificial wings. It's only towards the end of the story that they are forced to flee.
When you don't really see the opposition, let alone their views on the subject so the menace is laid out, any author is asking for trouble. I'm afraid with this one, Brenda Cooper should have upped her game and didn't. I hope she can pick up the game with the next book.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA