Series: Flight #1
Author: Lindsay Leggett
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian; Romance
Synopsis: The first rule of survival in the Underground: When you’re outside, keep your eyes on the skies. Ace Harpy Hunter Piper Madden is used to danger, but the death of her brother slams the brakes on her high-torque lifestyle and leaves her broken and confused.
On the run from the dictating Elder Corporation, she’s eventually found in the quiet undergound city of Ichton and asked to work for the Corp on contract to quell a new and frightening Harpy threat.
Enter the discovery of horrifying Corporation secrets, Harpy attacks, and a new friendship with the strange Asher, and Piper’s days become anything but boring.
Then, a chance encounter leaves Piper privy to a dangerous secret, ad as she and Asher team up in an effort to unravel the truth, the secrets they uncover beneath the ancient walls of the dead city will spark their world into a grand-scale war. (Goodreads)
This was the first book I read that focused on harpies, and I really liked seeing this take on a creature that is pretty uncommon in the YA fantasy book section. The characters were fleshed out nicely, and they were relatable in different ways. The world-building was pretty good, but it felt like there was more I needed to know. The biggest issue I had with this book was the pacing that felt slow and awkward.
First, the fantasy elements. Like my review of Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, I liked how Flight examines the dynamics between Harpies, Hunters, and Humans. Harpies are seen as bloodthirsty monsters, but the motivations and morality of the Hunters and Humans are also called into question. The line between good and evil is blurred, and things fall into a grey area rather than just clear distinctions of monster and saviour.
This was driven by a really well done cast of characters. Piper, our lead, is an incredibly kickass woman. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, and is ready to speak out if she finds fault in something. I like her because this kickass persona is balanced out by her vulnerability and pain that she is trying to deal with. She also won my heart with this:
… You just have this idea in your head about love, that it’s supposed to be this big whirlwind fantasy, but it isn’t. There’s work involved, and time, and tears, and frustration. – Piper Madden (Flight)
Piper, I adore you. So much. Anyway, moving on to Asher. He is able to joke around, provides a little levity, but also brings more of that aching loneliness and pain to the table. The other characters follow this pattern in that their actions are explained by their underlying fears, wants, or insecurities. Leggett does this very well, and I was very attached to her characters.
As for the world-building and pacing, this is where I felt it maybe fell short a bit. The world-building was good since Leggett’s descriptions are so easily pictured in my head. But at the end, I still had some questions that I hope the next book will address. With regards to the pacing, I found it awkward because this book felt like a “setting up” book. The climax just squeezes on in at the end, and it just feels too abrupt.
Overall: I give this book four out of five stars because of the great characterisation and writing of the dynamics between the three sides (or two, if you could lump Humans and Hunters together). If you like character-driven books, I definitely recommend this. The pacing is a little off, but still forgivable.