Black Wings Beating

432p. Farrar. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374306823.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—Years ago, Kylee and Brysen's abusive father died on a mission to trap a ghost eagle, the most dangerous bird known to the residents of the Six Villages. Since then, the twins have honed their skills in falconry, the trade among the Uztari people, and have earned almost enough money selling the birds they trap to realize their dreams. For Kylee, this will mean leaving the Six Villages and falconry behind forever; for Brysen, becoming a successful falconer and proving his worthiness to his fickle boyfriend, Dymian. When Brysen discovers Dymian owes major gambling debts, he is faced with an impossible task: trap a ghost eagle, or Dymian will be killed. Brysen sees this as his opportunity to step out from Kylee's shadow and prove himself as an accomplished falconer on his own, but Kylee is unwilling to let her brother set out on a doomed mission alone. Adding to the tension are the Karmati, a nomadic people who believe falconry is heresy and are marching on the Six Villages to enact a religious war, and the Owl Mothers, a matriarchal society living in the mountains that want Kylee to join them and leave Brysen forever. London's world-building is exceptional, and the story has twists and turns to keep readers engaged.
VERDICT A well-crafted fantasy featuring diverse characters, this book is a strong selection for all libraries serving teens.

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