This is a remarkable story, with strong female characters, and precise aviation detail. If you haven’t either read or listened to Avians, you should, because this is simply one of the best YA novels out there. The world Timothy Gwyn has created is original and fascinating, one where civilization is restricted to flight for trade and transport, with an apartheid society segregated through genetic modification. Girls are the preferred choice for hang glider transports, enduring privation and brutal training in order to keep their civilization operating.
Enter into this world Raisa, who is fourteen. Born to a line of powerful silk merchants, her rebellion against an arranged marriage is doomed. The Avians are her only alternative.
Mel is the young servant blamed for Raisa’s disappearance. She meets an Avian recruiter and seizes the chance to spite her employer.
When Mel and Raisa are sworn in with two other girls to form Blackbird squad, their simmering conflict undermines the whole team.
The flying is difficult, the discipline is fierce, and the older pilots don’t even bother to learn their names. The Blackbirds are starting to look like the weakest squad in years.
Then a deadly accident reveals the truth: only the best survive.
The audiobook production is by Grace Hood who has done a stellar job of bringing life to Timothy’s characters.
Whether you enjoy reading in print, ebook or audiobook, you’re going to get lost in this fascinating story.