Updraft - Fran Wilde

It feels like I'd been waiting to read Updraft for a long time, as it came out in the US last year and has finally come out in paperback in the UK in the last few weeks. As you can imagine, it's a bit frustrating to be that far behind what everyone else seems to be reading...

 

Anyway, on to the book itself. I have to admit, it was a bit of a slow-starter for me and for a while I wondered what all the fuss was about, but then it kicked things up a gear or three and I was hooked. All of this despite the fact it's written first person, which as anyone who reads my reviews will know, is personally a hard sell. 

 

The basic premise of Updraft is that the people in the story are living in towers made of a bone-like substance, one which is encouraged to grow and form new living areas as a reward for following the many Laws. Yep, Laws with a capital L, because we're in fantasy land here and random nouns get capitalised. Because of the towers thing, as nobody goes downwards if they can help it and there are only so many bridges between some of the towers, the main mode of transport is flying (but we're talking complicated gliding methods here, using man-made wings). The main rite of passage for teenagers is about flight and proving that you know the Laws and it's that which our main character, Kirit, is working towards. 


Except that, right at the start of the book she breaks a major Law and also nearly gets herself killed, but reveals that she has a particular talent to deal with a major threat to the tower system. From that point on, Kirit is up against the folks who enforce the Laws, who want her to join them even though the only thing she wants is to work with her mother and be a trader between the towers. Because it would be a short book otherwise, you can probably guess that Kirit doesn't get her way but that unwanted move also puts her right into the middle of finding out all the things the people in charge don't want anyone else to know. 

 

Anyway, the book rattles on and secrets are revealed, with the story continuing pretty much immediately in the next book in the series (Cloudbound) which is told from the perspective of another character, not Kirit. That deals with the difficult situation of what you do after you've overthrown the folks in charge and I'm looking forward to reading it.