I don’t know if you knew this, but I have an intense love for the Skybound Series. Like in my top ten favorite YA fantasy series! And definitely top five favorite queer YA fantasy. So we knew I’d give Gold Wings Rising, the last book in the series 5 stars right? Keep reading this book review to see if you’re right!
The war on the ground has ended, but the war with the sky has just begun. After the Siege of the Six Villages, the ghost eagles have trapped Uztaris on both sides of the conflict. The villagers and Kartami alike hide in caves, huddled in terror as they await nightly attacks. Kylee aims to plunge her arrows into each and every ghost eagle; in her mind, killing the birds is the only way to unshackle the city’s chains. But Brysen has other plans.
While the humans fly familiar circles around each other, the ghost eagles create schemes far greater and more terrible than either Kylee or Brysen could have imagined. In the final installment of the Skybound Saga, the tug-of-war between love and power begins to fray, threatening bonds of siblinghood and humanity alike.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Gold Wings Rising is glorious. From the first chapter, you are immersed in detailed, atmospheric, powerful prose not to mention the emotions that will wash over you. It’s hard to review the last book in a series without dwelling on the character growth and evolution, but this book hit me in the feels immediately. Gold Wings Rising is a stunning book about family, sacrifice, and war. But it’s also a story about cycles of violence, rage, retribution, and memories. About what would happen to a world bathed in blood if we turned away from the battle.
Are the the choices we make? Or are the choices ones we have been trained and tamed to make? Gold Wings Rising is also a story that celebrates found family and has some of my favorite characters, and ships, of all time. Jowyn and Brysen are precious characters who I will protect with my entire wingspan. Yes I am 5 foot 2inches, so my wingspan is very small, but they can have it ALL! Talk about scenes that make me tear up just thinking about their love, how far they have both come, and the power of their trust. And don’t even get me started on how much I adore Kylee the powerful, clever, aroace queen of my heart. Seriously, I love them so much.
But, even more so, Gold Wings Rising is a story about the past. Asking whether we can transcend our past. To not let it define us. London weaves an intricate story about the importance of knowing our past, but not reliving it. Of choosing to not forget the struggles and the mistakes. Those who never made it onto the page. And honoring these memories, both good and bad, for what they are. Realizing our present needs to change as we examine our past.
Falling into the traps of the past, the memories of betrayal, and the temptation for revenge. The difficulty and fear of breaking cycles of violence and mutual destruction. Because even though they’re paths paved in blood, they also become familiar to us. The possibility of change, of fighting for a different future, an enemy to the status quo, to our images and perceptions of ourselves.
Change becomes something out of control. A force on its own that could either bloom into possibility or end in deadly fireworks. To deny the sounds of war drums and rage thrumming in our veins, becomes the most important choice. Gold Wings Rising is also a story about fate and manipulation. Walking through life wondering if we’ve accepted being moved by fates of force we cannot witness. Being trapped in relationships of pain, betrayal, and simmering power.
Gold Wings Rising is the perfect ending to a spectacular series. One that began about siblings, accepting that people make choices we cannot control, and accepting our destiny. And now has turned into a story about power, promise, and the danger in freedom and choice. A series overflowing with care, endearing and emotional characters, which has unfurled into something majestic. About the choices to fight the violence and rage and pain. The struggle to relinquish power because once you have a taste you always want more.