“I want a different world. One where kings care about their people, and where rules are made to help people rise, not to keep them pressed down. I want a world where gargols don’t hunt us and we can fly free in any skies. I want… something better.” —Skyborn: Sparrow Rising by Jessica Khoury
Summary of Skyborn: Sparrow Rising:
From the back-cover blurb of Skyborn: Sparrow Rising: “In a world where everyone is born with wings, stone monsters prowl the skies, hunting those who dare to fly too high.
Ellie Meadows dreams of growing up to join the Goldwings — the famed knights who defend all the people of the Clandoms. It was a Goldwing, after all, who saved her life on that terrible day her parents were killed. There’s just one problem: Ellie is a Sparrow, and the Goldwings are almost invariably picked from the higher clans like Eagles and Ospreys. This rigid hierarchy means that Ellie is destined to become a farmer.
Determined to honor her parents’ memories and prove herself worthy of the Goldwings, Ellie sets out on her own for the capital. But her journey will be dangerous. Foul creatures called gargols lurk behind every cloud, ready to slay anyone unlucky enough to be caught outside in a storm — just as Ellie’s family was.
Soon her path intertwines with a colorful band of fellow outcasts, each with their own aspirations… and their own secrets. Ellie’s new friends offer not just roadside companionship. They’ll challenge her ideas of right, wrong, and what truly makes a hero.”
Review of Skyborn: Sparrow Rising:
I discovered this fast-paced, captivating adventure while checking in books at the library. One look at the vibrant cover, and I knew I had to read it. A world full of people with wings? A daring young girl determined to save the world? A crow boy who also happens to be a master thief? What more could I want in a book?
The story opens with Ellie’s plan to win a race in her village, which will give her the chance to become a Goldwing knight. But when she hears cry for help, she abandons the race to help a Crow boy in need.
Nox didn’t expect to be saved by a Sparrow girl. And he certainly didn’t expect her to follow him out of the village. But now she’s determined to go with him to the capital and enter in the Trials of the Goldwings. He knows he owes her for saving his life, but he’s not sure he can survive her can-do attitude. Even so, as the two travel together with the rest of Nox’s crew, they challenge each other’s perspectives.
Through every hair-raising encounter with gargoyls, every sneaky steal of a precious gemstone, and every close call with guards, Ellie, Nox, and their friends grow closer together. Their friendship blossoms as they learn to trust, and they bring out the best in one another.
What I loved about the story:
Along with the beautiful theme of friendship, Khoury’s dynamic characters also show the importance of honor, perseverance, and empathy. They look past their differences to appreciate each other’s strengths. In doing so, they prove that where you come from doesn’t define who you are.
The simple world-building wholly draws you into the narrative. Every forest teems with life and color. Every cloudy sky made me nervous for our heroes. The writing style itself immersed me even more fully into the action. Khoury perfectly balances humor with heartfelt moments of joy and sorrow. When the action doesn’t have you on the edge of your seat, the snappy dialogue keeps you turning pages in delight.
Overall, Skyborn: Sparrow Rising is a perfect book for lovers of fantasy looking for a new world to glide into. Quirky and relatable character dive into a series of misadventures full of courage and kindness. It was one of the best books I read all summer.
What was your favorite read of the season?
Karley Conklin is a librarian by day, a writer by night, and a bookworm 24/7. Her goal is to use the power of stories to remind others of hope and joy in a world that all too often forgets both.