You know how there are those books that build slowly, crawl under your skin, and leave you breathless at the end? The books that leave you breathless and drunk, so that when you close them, you feel disoriented, hungover, and bereft all at once? This is that book. I know, it’s a bold claim to make, but I strongly feel that this is a contender for Best Book of 2016.
The Winged Histories is comprised of four books, each narrated by a different woman: Tavis, a warrior, who is related to the prince and his family; Tialon, a priest’s daughter who chronicles the history with growing dread over the wars that have arisen; Seren, a singer and poet from a nomadic group whose love of Tavis is threatened by the war; and Siski, Tavis’s sister, a socialite who has chosen love over war but to hide instead of to fight. Their stories mix and merge and twine in a variety of ways that chronicle the heartbreak over war, family, and love.
To say too much about this book would be to give it away, and I have no intention of doing so. Rather, I would urge you to read this book. The writing is absolutely incredible and the women’s voices are all striking in their originality and sharp focus. As I read, this book reminded me several times of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (one of my favorites of hers), for its polyphony of voices and union over a single event. I highly recommend this book—and you don’t have to read the first one to really enjoy The Winged Histories! I am eager to see what else Sofia Samatar will produce in the years to come.
Cross-posted on my blog.