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Cloudbound (Bone Universe) Hardcover – September 27, 2016
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"Cloudbound is a return to Fran Wilde's hugely inventive world of bone towers and residents who strap on wings and take flight, but hero Nat's dilemmas hinge on threats to his loved ones.... What makes this a must-read are the further explorations of Wilde's City of Towers and the residents who soar the skies between them. Those who have always wondered what was beneath the clouds will finally get their answer." ~ Library Journal
"Action in the skies remains fun, fast, and exactingly rendered, and the ongoing mystery drives a fast and furious plot. Wilde confirms her status as one of the best new writers in SFF with a sequel that delivers on the promise of the original, and then some." ~ James Killen, Tor.com
"Cloudbound by Fran Wilde is a thrilling and complex tale about the most difficult stage of a revolution: what do you do after you win? Highly recommended both for the story it tells as well as how it tells that story. Wilde takes risks that pay off hugely.”―Ken Liu, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Grace of Kings
“A fantastic follow-up to Updraft―I liked it better than its predecessor, particularly for what it says about the politics of fear and prejudice, and how giving people what they want isn't always the best thing."―Aliette de Bodard, award-winning author of House of Shattered Wings
"Wilde's worldbuilding remains one of Cloudbound's delights. The revelation at the novel's conclusion―which I will not spoil, because it's worth coming to in its own good time―of what the bone towers actually are is a perfect example. But throughout Nat’s sojourn in the clouds, the slow revelation of the world below the clear air of tower society comes with a damp and atmospheric logic, a lowering sense of threat and claustrophobia, that adds immeasurably to the novel's tension. ...In terms of pace, style, structure, and sheer flair? Cloudbound represents the opposite of a sophomore slump. It's that rare bird, the follow-up to a highly praised first novel that doesn't just equal its predecessor's accomplishments, but exceeds them. I felt Updraft was a promising debut effort; Cloudbound sees much of that promise realized, with hints of more to come.”―Locus Publications
"The world of the towers grown from bone, where residents strap on wings and soar the air currents, is captivating...Kirit’s journey to find her place is satisfying, but the real draw is a world that readers will be anxious to revisit in future volumes of this exciting new series."―Library Journal, starred review, on Updraft
"A world with a detailed, believable history and society... rich with themes of tradition, progress, ambition, and class struggles that will resonate with readers." ―E.C. Myers, Norton-Award winning author, Silence of the Six, on Updraft
"A book that’s impossible to put down. [Wilde has] planted herself firmly in the “authors to watch” category."―Andrew Liptak on Updraft
About the Author
FRAN WILDE is an author and technology consultant. In 2015, her first novel, Updraft, accomplished the rare feat of winning the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy while also being nominated for the Best Novel Nebula Award. Her short stories have appeared in Asimov's, Nature, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Wilde also blogs about food and genre at Cooking the Books and for the popular social-parenting website GeekMom. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.
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Top Customer Reviews
Thusly, Nat is, after having read it, the obvious and better choice for the story that Wilde tells in Cloudbound. Updraft is upsetting an injust order. Cloudbound asks, and answers the question--once you have toppled that unnatural order, how do you build a new one? How do you make society work? And what do you do about people willing to take advantage of the chaos, confusion and upset social structures to make their own plans for the future manifest? Combine these heady speculations in a distilled YA format, and a widening perspective on just what the world is really like, and you get Cloudbound.
Cloudbound is to Fran Wilde’s Updraft, as The Empire Strikes Back is to Star Wars. Instead of being a retread or an easy and simple way forward, with the new point of view and new lens into her world, she expands it, complicates it, and makes it darkly wondrous.
Cloudbound is an adventurous tale that picks up a bit after the events in Updraft. We shift perspectives from Kirit, to Nat, who finds himself a rising voice in the post-Singer world. One of Cloudbound's greatest improvements over the series debut novel is that the pace picks up and Wilde dives right into many of the secrets from the first book, including what lies below the seemingly never ending clouds and the surface layers of Updrafts main players.
This novel takes a darker turn as the after effects of upsetting the world order start making themselves more visible. In the wake of the collapse of a central institution, various groups maneuver to take control of the city, trying to use Heroes of the events in the first book as pawns set against each other. But if a Machiavellian plot seems a bit dry, worry not, Wilde upsets the balance early and often, forcing the reader onto a back heel with anticipation. Wilde adroitly lays out the book’s themes here organically, never missing a beat in every scene. Her characters breathe, live and suffer in their own ways in Cloudbound, struggling to survive in a fully detailed world that feels real and lived in, one that the reader is lucky to observe. And as the novel descends into the thick of things many questions from the first book are answered in mind blowing fashion, while many new questions are hinted at in a way that makes the reader pine for the third book.
Especially when you learn what’s below the clouds. Oh dear. I won’t give anything away, but I will say that loose tongues ruin the most ardent of political ambitions.
Cloudbound pulls no punches in the fantastic third act, and the world-building seamlessly grounds the story in a meaty realism. Wilde is easily a contender for the top 5 best SFF writers of our era, earning her place alongside NK Jemisin and Nnedi Okafor. I cannot wait for Horizon, the next book in the Cloudbound Series.
She has significantly extended the worldbuilding beyond the already-inventive and compelling landscape outlined in Updraft, the first novel in the series.
Both the physical world of the series and the society have ramified. The layout of the physical world has opened up in ever-more-unexpected paths which in no way detract from the story; they are totally internally consistent and add very believable tension to the story.
Likewise, the society of Updraft has become more subtle and complex in Cloudbound, with conflicting loyalties and complex motivations inexorably driving the plot forward.
I can't wait to see where the next novel in the series goes. At this point, I've been enthralled by the characters' voyage of discovery, and really want to know What Happens Next.
That, IMHO, is a sign of great writing - the ability to create a compelling narrative that leaves the reader wanting more, even as the world is fleshed out.
Kudos to Fran. Well done on every level!
Updraft was really good, with an original and breathtaking world. It's rare that something so new appears in the SF/F world. Cloudbound takes all the strengths of Updraft and expands them, while being strong where the first book had a few weaknesses. You can actually start the series with this book and go back and read Updraft later, but Cloudbound ends without as much resolution as Updraft did, leaving me eager for the next book.
Without spoilers, you'll learn a lot more about the city, both its structure and its occupants, while various factions try to direct the future of the city and fill the power vaccuum left by the Spire. Wilde's use of engineering and flight physics is the constant bass line to the melody of a young person learning how to weild authority and take responsibility, with instrumental flourishes of true and interesting relationships. Also excellent fauna.