Thursday, 3 October 2019

Air Born, by J. L. Pawley.                        Teen Fiction

           Tyler Owen is seventeen years old and he is an ace flight cadet.  Intent on following his Air Force Colonel father’s footsteps into the military at the earliest opportunity,  he is about to make his first solo sky-dive above the California landscape:  to say that he is nervous is an understatement;  he is also elated at the realisation of his dreams – but he is worried, too.  Worried about his back, which is super-painful, not to mention the recent weird swellings that are making his jumpsuit very tight!  Well, never mind – don’t sweat it, worry about the changes after the jump.
            Except that the jump becomes a nightmare:  his parachute is beyond his reach because something explodes from one side of his back, and all he can think of is that his parents will watch him fall to his death – when another explosion occurs on his opposite shoulder:  suddenly his fall is arrested and he realises the lumps he feared are actually wings, they are clumsily working, and he’s not going to die after all.
            The trouble is that his fall and miraculous recovery have been captured by phones galore, and within hours he is a YouTube sensation – not to mention a freak who is imprisoned inside a hospital, waiting to be examined.  Well, that is not going to happen:  Tyler’s life on the run begins whether he likes it or not, but it is hugely preferable to being a guinea pig in a hospital.  One positive thing that he didn’t expect, however, was that he is not the only one who has sprouted wings:  it has happened to six others, all of whom try to make contact, for they all face the same problems of freakdom, and once they are together, find that they are of unhealthy interest not only to the authorities, but to The Angelists, a Hippy Dippy group of misfits led by a by-the-Good-Book preacher man, and a very shady, well-financed group called the Evolutionary Corporation:  the Evos are intent on capturing all of the winged friends, but to what purpose?
            ‘Air Born’ is the start of a great series by Jess Pawley, a young Kiwi author who is a master story-teller;  her characters are top-notch, including Tui, a young Maori/Samoan who used all her savings to fly to California to try to track Tyler down – because she had started to sprout wings, too, and is not happy about it – but the major question is WHY.  Why is this happening to these Seventeen year-olds, and are there more out there?  Book Two coming up!  FIVE STARS.

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