Mythological Mondays is a feature I created to spotlight books brimming with--you guessed it--mythology! I adore this sub-genre and can't wait to share my love with all of my fellow bookworms! This feature isn't just focused on novel reviews; it may also include interviews, looks at original mythological tales, etc. Please feel free to do this with me! If you guys ever do a mythological feature and want to join this and snag my lovely mermaid, I would LOVE to see the feature. Leave a comment for us all to see! It doesn’t have to be Greek mythology, or even mythology per say. It can be mermaids, unicorns, or heck, even fairy tales (because I’m too lazy to do a separate fairy tale feature…). It doesn’t even have to be every Monday. I’m sure there will be Mondays when I skip, too...like, uh, for the past month? I so could have worked mermaids in, but meh. *shrugs* ^_^
No matter how welcome mythology is in YA, after a while, a lot of themes tend to run together. The children of the gods? Been there, done that. A new version of Persephone & Hades? There were at least three this year alone. What about one that focuses on a creature rather than a person, one who isn’t inherently good? That’s…something new. It’s what makes AIRBORNE by Constance Sharper really stand out. Move over vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches. In Sharper’s world, the only mythological being that actually exists is the harpy. Traditionally, harpies were winged-women who stole food from Phineas. They used to be considered beautiful creatures, but in modern times are depicted as ugly. In AIRBORNE, harpies can be men or women. When their wings are hidden, they look like humans, having evolved in order to survive over the centuries. They do, however, maintain their vicious personalities. We never find out quite why harpies exist in this world when all other paranormal creatures are just myths, which leaves a loose string to be tied up in a future book.
The novel centers around Avery, a normal teenager who faces the same concerns as everyone else her age, from the first day of a new school year to the fact that her roommate is dating an unsuitable guy. Over summer vacation, Avery was bitten by a crab when collecting shells on the beach and now sports a hideous black and blue mark on her hand. She’s visited by a stranger named Mason and learns that not only is magic real, but so are harpies. The mysterious bruise on her hand is something much more sinister: When picking up what she thought was a shell, Avery really came in contact with a magical amulet belonging to Jericho, King of the Harpies. It shattered and the contents were absorbed into her body. They now call out to any harpy looking for the dangerous magic, especially the Band of Thieves. Mason sets out to help her figure out the key to returning the magic to the amulet for reasons of his own, but there’s only one problem: He’s been banished from harpy society and Avery is in danger whenever she’s with him. But she’s in even more danger on her own, with harpies out to kill her and claiming the magic coursing through her veins for their own.
AIRBORNE starts off at a slow pace, but picks up quickly and has a compelling story that’s easy to get lost in. It’s nice to see a novel that isn’t full of all the paranormal clichés or same-old mythological concepts. There are a few grammatical inconsistencies, but nothing too glaring. There are also some loose threads that will most likely be explored next month when book 2, GROUNDED, releases (Sept. 15th). In fact, AIRBORNE concludes on just the right note, not with a devastating cliffhanger, but with something that whets the appetite for more. I’m looking forward to further development of the characters and world in which they live. For a mere $1.99 on Kindle and Nook, AIRBORNE is a steal you don’t want to miss!
You don’t realize AIRBORNE is self-published just by looking at its cover. I saw the cover before I ever knew what the book it was about and was intrigued to learn more. I really love the font used for the title and enjoy the way the white lettering contrasts with the dark background. The cover model’s pose makes her look lost and vulnerable. The forest plays a critical part early on in the novel and brings back vivid images of that scene. For the first time, I’m noticing a book at the model’s feet. Having now read AIRBORNE, I wonder if it’s supposed to represent one of two books featured in the novel. It’s a nice touch, though it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the cover. I also like the way the sky streams in through the branches of the trees above; I’m always a sucker for that effect. :)