Today I’m participating in the His Black Wings Blog Tour. I have a review and teaser (excerpt) for you below. You can also find the tour schedule listed at the end of this post. Enjoy!
His Black Wings by Astrid Yrigollen
Published by CreateSpace, 2012
Claren Maidstone has been forced to flee her childhood home after the death of her parents and a vicious assault from a sadistic young man who intends to marry her. Claren changes her identity and finds employment as an assistant to the handsome Fredrick Lowood, a generous yet mysterious benefactor. However, she soon finds out his generosity comes at a price. Fredrick wishes for Claren to befriend his disfigured son who resides in seclusion at their estate, Westwind.
Fredrick Lowood knows what the history books do not teach, that the Grand Council built this new world of peace and beauty on hidden blood and greed. He has plotted for years to bring down the family that enslaved his own people. Suddenly, he has the last living heir in his grasp.
Etrigan Lowood rejects the world that forces him to hide. He is powerful, plagued with a terrible dark beauty: WINGS. It is these wings that carry him out only at night to watch the unwanted intruder in his home. A creature of refined instinct yet little social grace, he is strangely captivated by Claren but knows nothing of how her family’s dark past is intertwined with his own . Through their blossoming friendship, Etrigan realizes he still retains his human heart and yearns for Claren’s love.
Kurten Wandsworth is the only son of the Mayor of St.Marhen. Kurten lives his life fueled by cruelty and lust. Whatever he wants he takes and he wants Claren to be his wife even it if kills her. Scarred by Claren he hunts her down mercilessly until he can set a trap which she will never be able to escape from.
Why I Read This:
Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney films, so I really wanted to see this author’s version of the story.
His Black Wings was pitched to me as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And to an extent, it is. There are characters here that very much fit into the mould of Gaston, Belle, the Beast, etc (though the names are not the same). The plot is also very similar in some ways. For example, Kurton, the overbearing male who wants to win Claren’s hand at marriage at any cost. At the same time, His Black Wings is distinctly it’s own story. If you know nothing about Beauty and the Beast, you will not be scratching your head wondering what the references are.
I thought this book started out very strongly. When I started, also, I felt very much as if it had a Japanese, manga, or anime feel to it. So it was no surprise to see the cover art and find that the author specifically chose that artist for this reason! I love anime and I’ve read many manga. This was definitely a plus for me.
As for the characters, my favourite was Etrigan, who is Astrid Yrigollen’s answer to “the Beast”. He isn’t just some monster who is angry about his great misfortune and disfigurement. He genuinely doesn’t know how to act around people because he has spent his entire life hiding from them. Claren on the other hand I felt was a bit too passive. There are whole scenes where her two potential suitors are going after each other and she just sits there letting them rail into each other, not speaking up and being speechless when she does get a chance. But overall, I did like her because she was kind-hearted and a character worth rooting for.
Overall I enjoyed the book, though I did feel there were a few chapters that felt out of place, particularly the chapters at the end where we get an extra glimpse of the “history” behind everything that’s taken place so far. I usually don’t mind this in fiction but I felt it went on too long, almost as if it was a short story by itself. Also, the ending was a little too expected for me. I wished the author had maybe gone in a different direction so I could have a pleasant surprise.
I do recommend this book to fans of Beauty and the Beast, especially if you like anime or manga. It just has that vibe to it but although I liked it I’m not sure I can say this book is for everyone. I will be looking out to see what this author does next. I did like her writing style and think she will do some great things.
Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from the tour company in exchange for my honest opinion.
Buy the book on Amazon
I didn’t know what to say, so I sat there stupidly. He grinned at me from behind white teeth. His ice blue eyes held a coldness and judgment I had not seen before. My heart fluttered and felt like a huge fish was rolling over in my breast.
“Well?” He said as he traced the outline of my knee through my heavy skirt with his slender, white finger.
“What is your wish, Claren?”
My heart, upon hearing him use my real name beat harder. I felt the adrenaline push itself through my veins. He seemed to be aware of it, and licked his lips quickly.
“I don t know what is it you ask Sir.” I stammered, my own voice sounding as a child’s would when confronted with some wrong doing.
He had used my real name. Was it safe to assume he knew who I really was?
He stopped smiling and cocked his head to one side, contemplating me.
“But you do Claren, you know very well what I want, what you want.”
How did it ever come to this? I thought franticly. What was I going to do, now that he knew who I was? He seemed to read my thoughts in my eyes because he answered my question without it ever being posed.
"What will I do indeed? What can I do is the question, Claren. Here we are on a train, bound for the quaint countryside. No alarm has been raised, no Porter is valiantly trying to fight for your honor or to even help and cover your embarrassment, your lies. Thus, it shall remain so. At least, until we arrive at our destination."
“Then what?” I questioned quietly.
I am resolved to die, but not without a fight. He knows this. That is why he will not attempt to take me here, on a train full of people.
My question hangs in the air between us, like a solid thing. He still has not answered as the whistle of our train shrieks into the wind, we race into the tunnel, blackness engulfing our private car.
Astrid started her writing career when she begun work for the international video game giant, Sega of America. Working her way up the ranks, she began writing companion guides for games. With a love for writing fiction since childhood, she took her short stories out of storage and had her first story ever written published. It was only after that she found out that first stories are never published!She has resumed writing full time and has succeeded in putting out the titles, TheDoughnut Tree, Mysterious Pootkins , and The Mosswoods to name a few. Her short stories have appeared in the literary Threshold Press␣ and Shock and Awe Magazine.She finds writing for young adults both refreshing and challenging. She always wishes to provide examples of positive role models, conflict resolving methods and communication for young adults with their parents or guardians.
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