I was drawn to the front cover of this book as it’s truly gorgeous! I’ve read some of E.G. Stone’s reviews of books written by authors I like, and decided to give the first of this fantasy series a read.
“For generations, sylphs have lived isolated on the island of Shinalea, forgotten by the world. But they, too, have forgotten their past. Until it rears its head and changes the very foundations of their world…
Ravenna has grown up isolated and ostracised amongst the sylphs for her small wing size and her unusual colouring. She lives with the Intellecti, a collection of sylphs dedicated to learning, to facts, to history, to thought. But she feels most free when she runs through the trees of her beloved home. Until, that is, she comes across beings that should have been myth. Humans.
Captured, Ravenna is taken from her home and into the vastness of the desert mainland. She is sold into slavery and thrown into a world that proves everything she knew about the humans right: they are nothing more than the cruel, bloodthirsty beings that filled sylph myths with horror. Until, that is, Ravenna makes a single mistake. She falls.
Suddenly, the world is not quite what she knew. Ravenna is thrust into this world of humans and their schemings for power, their political machinations, their hopes, their dreams.
Ravenna must decide whether humans are the nightmares of her people’s legends or just beings like her, finding their place in an unexpected world. And she must decide whether to save her world, or to destroy it.
The One Who Could Not Fly is an exciting fantasy adventure that asks questions of family, of independence, and of what it really means to fly.”
First of all, the prose is terrific. I was quickly sucked into the world of the isolated sylphs, namely the main character Ravenna, named for her unusually dark colouring. She’s the only person in her tribe who can’t fly, and so runs and leaps through the forests of her home. There doesn’t seem to be much in her future except dedicating her life to learning with the Intellecti.
Then she stumbles upon mythical beings: humans. Sold into slavery and named an angel for her wings, Ravenna is passed from place to place, learning about humans. At first, she hates them. Then she learns more about them. Then, she must choose where her loyalties lie.
I loved the prose and premise of this book, the rich world and the characters. Ravenna is frustrated at her shortcomings, then terrified at her situation, but experiences growth through the story. I also loved how Ravenna was considered inferior and ugly by her own people, but somewhat ironically considered beautiful and special by the humans.
It’s a story about loyalty and what one’s abilities really mean. I enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it if you love fantasy and stories about outcasts. And that cliffhanger… my goodness!
Four and a half stars for The One Who Could Not Fly.