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Speculative Fiction Reviews, Interviews, Art and Whatever Else!

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Quick Review, Symphony Style: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard

Paris has survived the Great Houses War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, 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, a alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

 

Reviewed from ARC - (My real/full review of The House of Shattered Wings is to be housed elsewhere, but I thought I'd stick this up as a sort of 'non review' review for at least my benefit!)

 

 

As I was reading The House of Shattered Wings, slivers of a particular classical music score kept running through my head! On the surface it seems like quite a strange coupling, one would think my mind would be be blasting away Verdi's Requiem or something similar, but surprisingly it was the Allegretto movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major. It probably helps that the score is still seared into my brain through countless hours of rehearsing some years ago, but, I think there are a few reasons it kept looping, rather something with more gusto and intensity. 

 

The House of Shattered Wings never feels like it's trying to bombard you with frantic action, it uses it's moments well, with well pointed crescendos that don't overshadow the characters development, just as the 7th does.

 

Any glimpse of joy that peeks out, never becomes fully bloomed; like Beethoven's chord progressions beneath the melody, heavy horns and minor strings, always pairing links to happiness back with melancholy, a dragging remembrance. Much like Phillipe's memories of home.. 

 

The book is more about the character's internal conflicts that are triggered by outside events, there is very little dialogue and few fandangled fight scenes in this book; so much head space is explored! De Bodard writes thought streams, that will seem eerily familiar to many people; that continual flood of staccato notes lashed under/over with the languid legato refrains that overawe every other development. They creep up like anxiety, despair and intrigues,  somewhat akin to Madeleine's thought processes... 

 

So, looking at it, Symph 7 actually begins to make more sense, the flow and.. Gods! Ramble ramble! I could go on about this sort of thing for hours, as my brain seems to connect the literary and musical without any real rationality and it quite probably doesn't make any sense to anybody but me! However, I suppose if one were to listen to it, they'd get my thoughts symphony style! Pah to words! 

 

I should point out though, that I love the Allegretto, so I doubt my brain would've paired it with something I was reading,  that I wasn't equally enamoured with.. ..