Saturday 15 December 2012

Blog Tour -- Review + Excerpt & Guest Post: His Black Wings

Title: His Black Wings
Author: Astrid Yrigollen
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: Nov 2012
Date Read: December 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.
(from Goodreads)

This is going to be hard for me to review. There were moments where I was enjoying it and moments where I just wanted to "Please. Stop. I don't want to, anymore." I had issues with the editing. They're not even big issues. Just tiny little details but those tiny little details just piled on top of each other and made for awkward reading.

I wasn't so keen on the writing style either. There were lots of info dumps. It was very contrite, very proper and I'm not even sure if it's like that because of the time period because I don't know what time period it is. Arrows all point to Victorian-esque society but it's definitely set in the future. It had steam punk aspects but most of the time, I forgot that it's supposed to be steam punk-y. It felt like she just hastily shoved passages in random places to show the reader, "Look, fancy inventions." The world-building needed some serious work. And I wish authors stop mentioning events, stop referring to them if they have no intention of explaining what the hell happened. "After the Great War..." "The War caused..." War? What War? Ugh, pisses me off.

The characters were ok. Everyone was infatuated with Claren but to me, she was as interesting as watching paint dry. I wish Yrillogen took advantage of Etrigan’s loneliness and his want of friends to develop his character. I enjoyed Dekker and Horace’s friendship. They bickered and quarrelled like an old couple, but you could tell they really cared for each other. I think I liked them the best even though there were times Dekker crept me out and Horace was just too embarrassing. I would have liked to have seen more interactions between all four of them, to see the camaraderie, friendship and romance develop.

The plot unfolded quite nicely at the end. I guess it made up for the problems I had with the rest of the book. 

 Fredrick’s thoughts were interrupted by a loud crashing sound as he saw the double doors to his library burst open with tremendous force. They slammed against the inside walls to his library and bounced back.
            “Etrigan. How good to see you so soon after my arrival.” Fredrick said to his son, genuinely pleased.
            Perhaps this would work after all. Especially now that I have put my original design on hiatus.
            A tall form clad in black strode into the room sending books and paper flying everywhere. Etrigan was a younger version of his handsome father. Jet black hair that desperately needed a haircut, it curled around the nape of his neck and ears. While his eyes were blue, they were the darkest blue, darker than his father’s. Eyes that displayed anger and inner torment one moment, and great passion the next. His strong Greek nose fit perfectly with the rest of his features, not underwhelming and not overpowering. Lips red and pouty were always set in either a frown or a scowl but never in a smile. When he stood without slouching he was taller than most men at six foot five. His form was muscular, yet lithe, graceful, and strong. In a word, Etrigan was beautiful in a masculine way. He would have been the envy of every man in the outside world and the desire of every woman who set eyes upon him, save for one thing.
            His black wings.

         They were massive, soft, and leather like, similar to the patagium of a bat, but thicker. They started off narrow, then projected outwards from between his shoulder blades. He had slim bones that ran through them in true bat like fashion. At each wing tip he had a menacing glossy black spike. A natural bone that was part of his wingtips, he could use these tips to rip flesh or gently move things in his way, so great was his control. At their full expansion his wing span was easily twelve feet.
            Fredrick looked up at his son who now stood menacingly over him and recalled when he was a small child, he had broken one of the bones in his wings. It took him a month to heal. He had been trying to carry off a boar that was larger than himself. Always the little savage, he insisted on eating the boar before his wing was set with a splint.
            Now his son’s wings were being held in but wanting to span out in anger.
            “Why have you brought her here!?” He demanded harshly of his father. Fredrick sighed.

Guest Post + About the Author

10 Things Readers Would Be Surprised To Know About

1. I started playing video games at 5 years old back in the 80's.
2. I went on to make my own video games for PCs.
3. Yes, I'm older then I look.
  1. I believe chocolate cake should be its own food group.
  2. I am a vegetarian almost vegan.
  3. I speak 3 languages and want to learn a 4th.
  4. I believe in God and have studied theology for the last 9 years.
  5. I love baking.
  6. I am really super(pathological) shy but sometimes have to act like I am not.
  7. I used to work in a funeral home.
Astrid Yrigollen is a native of the Bay area of California and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Astrid started writing stories for her friends in sixth grade. After working part time at a funeral home during high school, she channeled her love of story writing in to creating video games for PC's which were featured in Shareware magazines.

In the early 1990's she secured a position with International Video game giant, Sega of America but never lost her love for writing in traditional format. After leaving the video game industry, she worked briefly as a vet assistant, aiding in surgery until she found out she passes out at the site of blood!  Maintaining a great love of animals, but preferring work where there was no blood involved, Astrid became a boutique fashion designer for people 'who like to dress like their dolls', successfully placing her designs in boutiques in Europe, the U.S, and Australia.

She founded and now co-chairs with her husband for the California Coast Ball Jointed Doll Convention, an annual event for Japanese Super Dollfie Collectors. Astrid enjoys collecting dolls, Anime, video games, baking and sewing and is currently studying college level Japanese, her third language.
Follow Astrid at:

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