Review: Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus

July 12, 2014 2.5 stars, Book Review, Science Fiction 28 ★★½

Review: Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan KlausFlight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus
Published by Tor Books on June 17, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Fantasy, Science fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

Kari, a young woman, returns to her jungle planet of Dora after ten years in Earth’s schools and is determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding the harpies, a feral species half-bird, half-mortal. The residences of Dora believe the harpies are dangerous game animals and hunt them for their trophy wings, but Kari thinks they are intelligent and not just wild animals. A rare golden harpy, a teenage blond male with yellow wings rescued Kari as a child from the jaws of a water monster. Upon returning home, she learns the harpies are facing extinction with the over-hunting and she sets out to save them, all the time wondering if the golden male is still alive.

Flight of the Golden Harpy is a fantasy, but also a mystery, thriller, and a love story that leaves a reader questioning our humanity


Flight of the Golden Harpy is a graphic, gripping tale about a colonized Planet named Dora.

Dora is half the size of Earth, but similar to Earth; it’s mostly a freshwater ocean with one large continent and hundreds of islands to the west.  Except for the cold mountains, the tropical temperature doesn’t vary much, warm during during the day and cool at night.  There are two seasons, the wet and dry.  The multi-color jungle trees are enormous.  Tiber is Dora’s main export.  Like the harpies, half the animals have wings to navigate through the thick foliage.  But Dora’s most notorious creatures are the large, warm-blooded reptiles.”- page 19-20

So think of the planet as Jurassic Era Earth with angels flying around. The angels are called harpies, and they are considered to be extremely dangerous. They kidnap and rape women regularly, at least according to rumors.  Flight of the Golden Harpy has an interesting world, and it was definitely my favorite part of the book. I could read descriptions about it for days.

Enter Kari, our main character. She is saved by a golden harpy when she is a child, the most reclusive of the harpies. Her father panics and sends her to an Earth school for 10 years. Our story begins when she arrives on the planet after her school and realizes that “her” golden harpy is still alive and in love with her. Kari must sort through lies and uncover the truth about herself and her people and figure out why she is so drawn to the harpies and their plight.

Shail is a golden harpy, and the golden harpies rule over the more timid browns. His story is interwoven with Kari’s and the graphic tale begins to unfold. The course of the planet is changing and only he can save, or doom, all of the colonists through his choices.

I did not really care for this book, exempting the coolness of the planet. I felt that the conversations were stilted and tended to be over-explainy. “Yes, you are wise and I was incorrect in not believing in you.” is the kind of mumbo-jumbo going on. I also felt like Kari was an interesting character, in the beginning, and she just ended up mindlessly subjugated unless she wanted to put herself in mortal danger for no real gain. She ended up mostly useless and annoying at the end. Everyone was worried about protecting her, and it ended up costing more lives. If she actively contributed, that would have been fine, but she pretty much just cried and ranted a lot. Boring. There is graphic violence and rape in this book, so if that bugs you do not pick it up. There is also a lot of mortal danger, getting out of mortal danger, then jumping right back into the mortal danger. It was the same theme, slightly different over and over again. The end was unsatisfying, in a sort of, “and they all lived happily ever after” way. I did not get the impression of any sequels. If your shelves are full, skip this even though it has really good cover art. The “noble” harpies are kind of like fingers on a chalkboard at the end. Spaceships and faraway planets being colonized was the best part of Flight of the Golden Harpy.


When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.

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28 Responses to “Review: Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus”

  1. Dragana

    I read this some time ago and still didn’t write a review, but your review summed up my feeling accurately. The best of the book are descriptions of planet and animal life. And conversations were so strange – you used the perfect word “stilted”.
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  2. Sarah P.

    “There is also a lot of mortal danger, getting out of mortal danger, then jumping right back into the mortal danger.” – For some reason this made me crack up. It’s such a waste that even though the world was so splendid, in the end, you still didn’t care for the book. I’m worried about the “rape”, does it contribute to the story or is it just there to disturb? Anyway, I don’t think this book is for me but thank you for honest review, Maggie! 🙂
    Sarah P. recently posted…When I met Stephanie Perkins…and Jarrod!My Profile

  3. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Kari honestly sounds like a mess. I hate those kind of doormat ones, and those who are so helpless even though they have the power and the capability to do something – anything at all but choose not to and just cry. Come on, girl, you’re a grown-ass woman. Wear your big girl pants and stand your ground!

    The plot of getting into mortal danger over and over and over again sounds insanely tiring. I’ve encountered this before and I remember just being so exhausted each and every time.
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Potato Podcast #1: It Doesn’t Matter What You ReadMy Profile

  4. Tabitha (Pabkins)

    Even given the very lackluster character I still plan to find time to read this one. The world alone sounds worth it to me to struggle through the annoying character. But definitely not anytime soon unfortunately.

    I’m so sad this started out so great for you then did a bit of a belly flop.
    Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan KlausMy Profile

  5. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    I’m sorry to hear the book was disappointing, because the blurb sounded so intriguing. Oh, well, at least that’s one I can take off my TBR list! Thanks for reviewing so honestly — I like to know when a book has flaws as well as when it’s fantabulous.
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  6. Kel (Booked til Tuesday)

    Drat. I was kind of excited to see a book about harpies, but it sounds like they just didn’t want to invoke paranormal connotations with the “angel” description. Is any part of them bird-like except the wings? And Kari sounds completely useless. It’s a shame. All that world building gone to waste. Ah well, thanks for the great review! 🙂
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  7. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    You know, that cover totally sucked me in, so THANKS for the save. I’m pretty sure I’ve had this on my TBR since Tabitha first mentioned it in a book haul post weeks (months?) ago. But yeah, whiny, useless heroines who allow others to die for her, without contributing herself . . . not my bag.
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  8. Claire @ Bitches With Books

    I’m reading this now and was initially loving it. I’m about 35% in and I’ve summed up my feelings in 3 points.

    1. Great world building and interesting setting. Dora sounds amazing.
    2. Great fantasy elements!

    I’m going to finish it because I want to know what happens and goes on with the beetles but I am under no allusions that it’ll get better.
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