Audiobook Review: Updraft by Fran Wilde

September 29, 2015 4.5 stars, Audio Book, Book Review 9 ★★★★½

Audiobook Review: Updraft by Fran WildeUpdraft by Fran Wilde
Series: Bone Universe #1
Published by Audible Audio, Tor Books on September 8, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Length: 12 hours, 6 minutes
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

In a city of living bone rising high above the clouds, where danger hides in the wind and the ground is lost to legend, a young woman must expose a dangerous secret to save everyone she loves

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother's side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city's secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever—if it isn't destroyed outright.

UPDRAFT was a definite winner for me. From the characters to the mysterious world set high in the air amidst bone towers it wasn’t surprising that I was hooked from the start. The story stars a young female protagonist named Kirit who is a law/rule breaker. These law breaks she commits seem to be done in ways she thinks would be harmless but ultimately end up costing her and her family almost everything. The progression of her character was well executed and each choice she makes has a major impact on the direction both her life and the story takes.

Character Driven

The was a very character driven novel. The world is fascinating but instead of laying on a huge amount of worldbuilding information the major focus is on Kirit and everything she does/is going through. We do ultimately see how her life and actions fit into the bigger picture of what has been going on in the past generation of people within the Spire, the Towers and all of it’s people. This is a story of secrets upon secrets and Kirit is determined to uncover as many as she can. She wants to know everything but she also wants to do what she thinks is the right thing for everyone. It was a winning point for her personality that she was willing to make sacrifices at times and not just be selfish. I thought at the beginning that she was going to be a very selfish character but that was so far from the truth. She might make what some would consider missteps along the way but I think all of them work perfectly and I can’t imagine making different decisions myself.

Family, Flying and who comes First

There is a big focus on family in this book. The ones most important to you of course are your family but I was surprised to find people were not called by “mother” or “father” or “aunt” etc. – they were all called by their actual names. I really liked the way this was done as it made the family connection way less personal and made you really pay attention to how the characters acted versus relying on readers presumptions or implied affections that normally come with those terms. People really keep themselves a part from each other. Each tower looks after their own and isn’t supposed to come to the defense of others. Also folks are really quick to turn their backs on people they deem unlucky. Its sad but all of that is explained in its own way as you move through the book. It made for a unique culture.

I know this is a weird way to combo it but this is a book of flying. Did you ever dream of flying? I think everyone does. I’ve never thought about hang gliding (the image pictured on the cover) but this really makes me want to try it. Honestly, I don’t think the cover even accurately depicts the way I think the wings look based on the visuals that were painted in my mind from descriptions I picture them as actual maneuverable wings not a big clunky frame like a hang glider would have. The amazing descriptions given of the flying here really gave it a unique feel.

Great Supporting characters

While the focus and perspective is from that of Kirit the secondary characters were still well developed. I could have used a little more connection with her cousin Nat but the time spent with Wick and

On the World Building

While I loved the world I found myself constantly asking questions that I wish were answered. If the spires they inhabit are bone and is alive then just what is the creature that its growing from beneath the clouds? Are we ever going to learn what is beneath the clouds? How is it or what caused them to live on these spires. Much of this is probably ancient history for the characters in this world and thus no one likely knows I bet – so then that makes me wonder – am I ever going to learn these things? Because hey I really want to know. Thus things like that I’m still left wondering and hoping I’ll get to know more in the future books. Which of course I most definitely will be reading because I found the world fascinating. I ultimately didn’t mind that there were a number of unanswered world building/history type questions because if all of them were answered it might have tipped the scales the other way into the dreaded info dumping style and we all know how much that can hurt a book. I mention all of this because the world building style does leave a lot in question and this can either totally work for it with a reader or against it. For me I was given that perfect amount to get my brain whirring and leave me wanting more more more – in the best kind of way.

Thoughts on the Narration

Khristine Hvam does a wonderful job on the voice acting of Kirit. I loved the way her personality shone through in her voice. The atmosphere she was able to weave made me feel like I was right there next to Kirit soaring through the air or in the gyre with her. I must note that a few of the male voices (her cousin and Wick) didn’t really sound distinctly different from each other to me but they still worked well. (Probably because each of the characters come heavily into play during mostly separate parts of the book.) There is singing in this book! So of course the narrator sings these parts. Be prepared – Kirit is known for how bad her signing is…so the narrator in turn gives us a very true to form performance. It didn’t bother me but I can’t help but note it because I found it funny that Khristine had to purposefully sing bad (not that I know what her real singing voice sounds like.) Overall, I highly recommend the audio edition whether you’re an audio reader or not, and you know I will absolutely be reading the next book. More please now!


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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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9 Responses to “Audiobook Review: Updraft by Fran Wilde”

  1. Catherine

    This sounds fascinating! I’m definitely adding it. Amazing review Tabitha. 🙂 Haha, don’t you love it when the narrators actually sing the songs in the audio book?