Cover Image: Black Wings

Black Wings

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Member Reviews

What did I just read? This was insane! I have no words that will adequately summarize this in a way that will do this strange tale justice. 
We read it in the voice of the mother. We follow it with her eyes and the as the strangeness that is Briella makes itself known we want to deny it in our own voices. We should love our children, never doubting that, and embrace their uniqueness. But how do you embrace the disquiet you feel when you encounter this smart, unique child, doing and saying things that leave you a little uneasy, slightly sick and utterly perplexed?  
Seriously,  this is a very strange read. Not what I expected at all. And I love the strange and otherworldly voices of many authors. I just don't know where to place it. I read it in a day. So no problems there! It speaks for itself. You just have to make up your own mind and answer the question yourself. How do you love your child, if they do jot even possess the unique qualities that make us human? Definitely a book that will make you think.  I could never even being to imagine how it would be to have that question even enter my mind about my own children. I feel a disquiet,  an uneasiness when evne think about it. This is well written and the characters grab you, even the Raven. Though it will give you the creeps! If you like strange and the unexplainable then this is definitely for you!
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Wow! I'd never heard of Megan Hart prior to reading this book but I was instantly intrigued when I saw the synopsis and had to put in the request with NetGallery.  I'm so glad I did because this book kept me guessing, just when I thought Megan was going in one direction with the story she throws a curve ball and I'm sitting thinking "I did not expect that".

After I finish this review I'll be having a look to see if Megan has any other books and I'll definitely be checking them out.  It took longer for me to read than anticipated because of a lot of personal issues but thankfully I got through it as I would have been gutted not to have finished.

I cant recommend this book enough and I am not going to do the author any disservice by offering spoilers or giving an account of things that happen in the story.  Everything you need to know is in the synopsis and believe me its way better to go in blind beyond this and enjoy where Meghan's mind takes you
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Briella. is a ten year old girl who is exceptionally smart.  Her classmates don’t like her.  Why?  Briella rescues a raven that is hit be the neighbor’s truck.  She talks to it while it heals.  She names the raven Onyx.  It becomes a friend to Briella as it starts talking among other things.  When Briella gets a scholarship to go to a private school called Parkhaven.  It is a school for exceptionally intelligent children.  Her mother and stepfather are happy for her chance to go there.  When Parkhaven gives Briella the opportunity to with time and resources to work on her ultimate project, her mother isn’t happy about it.  Why?  What is the project?  When Briella’s Mother is forced to stay in bed due to a complicated pregnancy, she learns that Onyx is helping Briella with killing for her project.  

The novel is written with growing suspense and realistic as you read it.  It becomes mesmerizing to read.  It’s thought provoking.  I don’t know what I would do if I had a child smarter than me under the circumstances that Briella’s parents had.  It certainly has me thinking about what I would had done.
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Oh gosh, what can I say about this book? I loved it, but I hated so many of the characters. I don't think I've ever raged so hard at characters you're supposed to like/are the good guy (if you will). First off, this book cover is beautiful, and I absolutely love it. Second, the synopsis sounded intriguing, and I was curious to see, exactly, where the story would take me. Ooh, boy, did it take me on a journey. A journey of (probably irrational) emotions that had me wanting to throw my Kindle out the window a few times.

I found Briella to be a grating, obnoxious little brat. Her "I'm smarter than everyone" attitude, and her complete dismissal of her mother's punishments (and I use that term lightly, since the woman barely tried) irked me so much. As a mom, I'd be thrilled if either of my kids were genius level prodigies like Briella seems to be. But if they even acted like a sociopath with no regard for anyone or anything else, I'd be getting them some serious help. That's where Briella's mom went wrong. Her daughter needed serious help, and she instead brushed it off and ignored it. Even when the evidence that her daughter was basically some "Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son" type child was presented to her, slapping her right in the face, she ignored it. Ugh. I hated Briella's mom just a bit more, actually, because of her naive stupidity.

I also didn't care for Briella's dad, and I especially hated Briella's paternal grandmother. Even though we never meet the woman in the book, the stuff she's said is mentioned, and it brought back memories of my own now ex-mother-in-law. That woman wasn't a nicer person, either. 

I think the only characters I did like were Briella's stepdad and her maternal grandfather. They were the only two decent people in the book, Although I do wish they had spoken up and forced Briella's mother to see just what a nightmare child she really was.

Overall, I thought the plot was solid, keeping me on my toes and making me wonder what sort of nonsense was going to happen next. The characters are well-developed (hello, rage emotions) and well-written. And that ending reminded me of The Good Son. The story also had a We Need to Talk About Kevin vibe too.

I enjoyed it, even though it angered me so much. I'm rating Black Wings 4 stars. Would recommend.
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When I first began Black Wings, I was expecting to read a story that would unsettle me. The book's premise, along with its subject, suggested it would tell a story that was truly chilling. For the most part, I believe Black Wings lived up to its reputation; any gothic novel involving a child sets itself apart as a story which has the potential to make its audience feel distinctly uncomfortable. Throughout the novel, I felt a sharp curiosity, wanting to uncover Briella's mysteries, but I was restricted by the ignorance of her own mother. We see through Marian's eyes, and so when Marian doesn't question her daughter's behaviour, we, as readers, are unable to understand what the mysterious girl is planning. This makes for quite an effective narrative technique, because it means that a sense of mystery can be maintained throughout the story. The downside of this is, of course, is that the narrative can, at times, come across as a little frustrating.

Yet Marian is not a totally despicable character; it is easy to understand why she is unable to give her daughter the attention she deserves - she doesn't understand her, and although she tries her hardest to connect with her, it may just be that no one can understand Briella. The result is a somewhat morally ambiguous character; I disapproved of the way Marian seemed to neglect her daughter, but I also understood her actions; she is a mother placed in an impossible situation, and so it is easy to redeem the way she decides to handle it. This moral ambiguity resulted in a character who was compelling and interesting to read about.

As for the supernatural aspects of this novel - they were of good quality, but I must say that I was expecting more. Onyx made for an interesting character, and he was certainly eerie, but I feel as though I wanted more of a focus on him, and less of a focus on Marian sneaking off for a cigarette in the middle of the day. It's also worth mentioning that, as the book is written from Marian's perspective, many of Briella's actions - as well as her motivations - are concealed. I expected many of these to be resolved towards the end of the novel, but I was left a little disappointed. I liked the ending, but it didn't offer many explanations as to what Briella had actually been doing. This may have been a purposeful decision, as it did help maintain the mystery of the story, but I can't help from wondering whether there are a few loose ends still lost somewhere around the middle of Black Wings.

Despite a few negatives, I cannot deny the fact that I really enjoyed reading this novel. It is exceptionally dramatic, capable of keeping its readers engaged even during the slower parts of the narrative. There is a tension that runs throughout this story, and it is impossible not to admire it. The book is well-written, too; there were a few periods of odd phrasing, but, for the most part, I was pleased with the style of writing. In fact, I was pleased with most of this book; it didn't outstand me, but it certainly engaged me, and I have had a pleasant time reading it. Despite its connections to the gothic genre, I would argue that this is quite a light read; it has relatively short chapters, and is sure to delight anyone interested in a story filled with drama.
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I found the premise of this book to be really unique.  The characters are well written and there was definitely something going on with Briella.  She develops a relationship with a raven named Onyx and starts working on experiments that her mother, Marian does not know about.  She is clearly a genius, but also is very dark.  Marian ultimately has to deal with her daughter's actions after she finds out the reason for the experiments and what she has done.  I liked the subject matter in this book and found it to be very haunting and kept me in suspense throughout.  Thanks for the ARC, Net Galley.
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This was a weirdly interesting and very creeping read. I empathized with Marian through this whole ordeal. She was wanting the best for Briella but knew in her heart that something wasn't right. Briella was darkness and had no soul which was why Onyx called to her. The mystery with Onxy is what kept me going. I was trying to figure out what is the deal with this raven. You knew he was the cause of all these tragedies that kept happening but why...ya know. The ending was fantastic and I'm glad I stuck it out. This was a different read for me but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
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This book isn't quite what I expected - I imagined fantasy and strong paranormal/sci-fi themes but this book is actually more about the strains of parenthood and the relationships between the four main characters - Marian, mother of Briella (morbid child genius); her husband and her ex

I'm not sure everyone will get the same message from this book, but for me everything the little girl does is influenced heavily by the adults in her life and the way they treat her. They all seem to refer to her as 'the kid' despite giving the appearance of caring about her, they let the fact she's a bit weird affect the way they treat her and I found myself feeling sad for her.

The pacing of this book was really good and a lot of the twists and turns were unpredictable - I think the beauty of this book is that it's a puzzle, forcing the reader decide the accountability of the different characters.
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*I was given an ARC by the publisher in return for my honest review via netgalley.

This book was a true page turner! I didn't want to put it down, I kept wanting to know what would happen next. The book was kind of predictable, but not in a too-obvious way. I was surprised by the ending. 

My main issues with the book were that 1- the ending seemed very rushed, and it wasn't exactly explained as to what had happened or what the consequences were. It kind of left it up to the reader to interpret what all went down. 
2- It also was kind of weird that mid-way through the book the biological father just 'disappeared' [never discussed in the story again]. and lastly: 
3- I found the main concept of the story to be pretty vague [particularly with the main events and the project]. 

I think the story would have benefited from being a bit longer with a few more details added in to make the story feel more "real."
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A very different kind of horror/thriller.  The story is original...the conflict between mother and daughter is an old story...but what happens around them is definitely not what you expect.
A young girl with exceptional intelligence is relocated to a school where she can fully realize her potential.  Her interest in science has lead her to work on studying the human mind and how it stores memories.  This study allows her to expand her knowledge while increasing her abilities to communicate outside her everyday life.  This causes her mother to question how she feels about her child and the child's abilities while still trying to protect and understand what she needs to do as a mother.  The story is told from the mother's point of view.
How the storyline advances and eventually ends is compelling.  Did she do what was right for her child?  It will keep you wondering long after the book ends.
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This book was very odd. It reminded me a lot of ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’. I was expecting it to be more about the relationship between Briella and Onyx and the science fiction but instead it was in the background, being menacing. It didn’t work for me.

—-

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review.
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Black Wings was a bit mad for me! Not what I usually read, really unusual. But compelling. I couldn’t stop reading it to be honest. Read the whole thing over the course of a day. Odd, creepy, malevolent. I don’t know how I feel about it. I can’t say I enjoyed it, as it made me feel quite uncomfortable/squeamish at times, but it still kept me reading!
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley.com and the publisher Flame Tree Press. Thanks to both for the opportunity to read and review. 

Ms. Hart's newest book is a spine tingling thriller. Characters are well developed and relatable. The tension is palpable. All together an excellent and entertaining read with daunting antagonist, a 10 year old girl.

Highly recommended.
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I first need to thank the author and publishers for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. 

"Briella Blake has always been wicked smart. When she's invited to attend a special school for gifted students, she finally has the chance to focus on a project that begins to consume her - the ability to recreate and save copies of a person's entire set of memories. Her friendship with a raven that's as smart as she is leads to conflict with her mother Marian, who is no longer able to deny that there's something wrong with her child."


From the blurb, I expected this tale to be told from Briella's POV, however, it is told from her Mothers POV which I actually found worked really well in keeping me (the reader) as much in the dark about what was going on in Briella's mind as Marian. 

I do not want to give too much away so I am really unable to elaborate - but this is a wonderful book - well constructed and touching on subjects about motherhood that is often taboo to even admit thinking, let alone feeling. 

I had my suspicions about Briella - I tried to like her (she is only 10) but I really couldn't. She just had an edge about her and I read every page wondering what she was doing and if she was going to kill someone - I did not see the ending coming! 

A page turning thriller, made all the more unsettling by the presence of the 'enemy' being a 10 year old girl, I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who likes suspenseful thrillers and would also suggest fans of horror give it a go too!
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A child genius brings a heap of deadly problems to a troubled family 

Flame Tree Press made a big splash in the second half of 2018 with a string of horror novels by leading lights in the genre, including Ramsey Campbell, Jonathan Janz, Tim Waggoner and John Everson. “Black Wings” sees a change of direction; this latest offering is more thriller than horror, by an author better known for writing erotic fiction. One online source noted Megan Hart “occasionally dabbled in horror”, but if “Black Wings” is anything to go by, I hope she returns to the darker side of fiction with more frequency. 

Briella Blake is a ten-year-old girl who is incredibly intelligent, but she is also having friendship problems at school, which are partially a biproduct of her condescending attitude towards both her classmates and teachers. Briella lives with her mother, Marian, and stepfather, whilst her biological father periodically reappears on the scene. They are short of cash, but a happy family. Much of the novel centres on the family dynamics and Marian’s internal struggle to understand her daughter’s challenging needs and the root of her problems at school.   

One of the major strengths of “Black Wings” is the relationship between mother and daughter and the level to which Marion is blinded by Briella’s intelligence. Even if she is a genius, she continues to throw wild tantrums and gets increasingly unpredictable with her parents struggling to cope. Would any parent like to be comprehensively out-argued by their ten-year-old? Even though the story is told in the third person from Marion’s point of view, we never truly see it from Briella’s angle, so a hint of unreliable narrator also lurks in the background. The story contains a certain amount of ambiguity, which is handled very well, with the mother obviously under extreme strain. 

Because of Briella’s problems at school she is given a scholarship to Parkhaven, a private school for extremely gifted students which does not follow a normal curriculum. Pupils are allowed to carry out their own personal research into areas which stimulate their own interests. This develops into a key element of the story and I will provide no spoilers. Initially her parents are reluctant to send her to this new school, which Briella’s father said was for “retards”, but she settles well, until other strange behaviour escalates. 

It is a fact that parents can genuinely struggle with difficult children and “Black Wings” has an original, honest and for the most part believable take on these problems.  Marion thought, “Just because she didn't like her kid, that didn't mean she didn't love her.” So even if you find Marion to be an irritating neurotic, most readers will empathise with her troubling family situation. 

As “Black Wings” is more thriller than horror, it has more in common with “The Bad Seed” than “The Omen” and it cleverly shrouds the direction the plot heads into, developing tension and making it very easy to read. It is also one of those books which readers who do not read horror might enjoy, as although it does eventually head into the ‘unexplained’, by that point readers are so invested in the story few will quit before the end. Horror takes many forms and the realisation that there might be something seriously wrong with your kid is right at the top of the list for most folks. 

Briella’s favourite subject is science and in her new school she is encouraged to work on a ‘secret project’ and shows interest in subjects such as the human soul. She asks complex questions 
her mother just cannot answer and in turn Marion struggles with her own lack of faith after abandoning her childhood Christian roots.

The family beats at the heart of “Black Wings” and Megan Hart has created a believable and sympathetic family unit. However, their family is lacking one crucial member; a pet. When a car accidently clips a raven, Briella insists her family restore it to health, calling it “Onyx” the bird seems to be unnaturally intelligent and is quickly trained by the little girl. Onyx mimics speech, appears when called, and pecks at the window when left outside. Brielle develops a strange relationship with the bird, escalating the difficulties in her family as the raven repulses them. This part of the plot is excellent and the bird creepily unsettling as it ties into the wider story arc.

This is horror with a light touch, and although the ending may seem a bit far-fetched, it is a fast moving and entertaining drama which I sped through in a couple of days and is well worth checking out.
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I liked this creepy and engaging book. I don't know if it's a sort of psychological thriller or a horror but I suppose it doesn't matter.
What really matters is that book is really good and it creates a growing level of creepiness always keeping you on the edge.
I loved the style of writing and I liked how the characters were developed.
I look forward to reading other books by this writer.
Recommended!
Many thanks to Flame Tree Press and Netgalley for this ARC
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Briella Blake, isn’t your average 10 year old child. This becomes even more apparent when she is moved to attend Parkhaven, a private school for extremely gifted children. Briella’s mother Marian is struggling to cope with the ever changing behaviour of her daughter, which is made worse by Briella’s unlikely friendship with a raven she has named Onyx. With Marian at breaking point, and Briella’s behaviour putting others in danger; what could possibly be breaking point  for this family?

I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this book by Netgalley and Flame Tree Press. This book pleasantly surprised me. Obviously, I liked the look of it, otherwise I would not have requested it but I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought. I did enjoy the authors writing style and I found that the book was very easy to read and follow. I did feel at times that some parts were unnecessary and I did find myself skim reading through certain parts. Also, the characters refer to Briella as “the kid”, I understand why the author has done this but I couldn’t stop myself from noticing the constant reference and it did become a bit tedious. I would recommend this book to anybody that is thinking of reading it and I would definitely pick up another book by Megan Hart.
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Black Wings (Fiction Without Frontiers) Kindle Edition
by Megan Hart
I received a complimentary eARC via NetGalley.  I am choosing to leave a far and honest review.

Half The Omen or The Bad Seed and half The Yellow Wallpaper, Ms. Hart gives a child that would give Damien and Rhoda Penmark the creeps!

“Just because she didn't like her kid, that didn't mean she didn't love her.”  “But she had always been different.”

Briell Blake is a brilliant child, beyond what her mother Marian ever expected  In fact, she didn't expect to feel the way she felt about her genius child.  Confused, angry and dislike for the precocious child who seems to be missing something deep inside.  And she didn't expect Onyx, the raven that Briell rescued to give her such a foreboding feeling.  When suspicious deaths and injuries begin to fall all around the girl and bird, Marian is unsure of her own feelings and reality.

Marian is an excellent example what is expected of modern parents in the Everyone Gets a Trophy environment of motherhood today.  Stretched too thin and constantly feeling as if she hadn't done enough, she presents as an unreliable narrator.  Her story is laced with foreshadowing to the gut-wrenching sucker punch of a climax as well as confusion of reality and  fantasy.  Her feelings of imagined inadequacy colors her narrative and our impressions of what is really happening with the at times frightening and at times sad child.

Ms. Hart's writing is amazing as we are brought into a world of snacks, bullies and special children. Marian is an amazing character and I enjoyed her evolution. Also, I sort of understand my own mother better, even though I am much too old for the phenomenon of helicopter parents!

The book reads like a modern Shirley Jackson story, with the questioned sanity and social pressures that surround the mother.  There are also, for part of the book, the delicate tension found in Charlotte Perkin Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper.  And of course, with the inclusion of Onyx as a catalyst, I would be laxed if I didn't find a slight  E. A. Poe influence.

A story that has many layers, each scarier than the next, that draws you into Marian's world.

The Book Nerd was impressed with the steady creep factor.
 4/5 stars out of 5

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Wings-Fiction-Without-Frontiers-ebook/dp/B07L9LFW27

#BlackWings #NetGalley
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My mother put up with various things in my childhood, and a wide variety of animals....lizards, rats, a duck, and even a crow.  Fortunately for my mother I, unlike Briella, was not a super genius so my interaction with these animals was limited to feeding and admiring.   The Briella in Black Wings is "super smart" as her mother Marian says.    Marian loves Briella totally, but feels like a failure as a mother because there's times that Briella, frankly, gives her the creeps in some intangible way.    When Briella takes in an injured Raven those creepy feelings grow more and more and come more often.  That Raven...it disgusts her and scares her.  The relationship between Briella and the Raven terrifies her and worries her.   What is the "secret project" her super-smark, genius daughter is working on?  Why is Briella so interested in the human soul?   Why are strange tragedies happening at school and around the neighborhood?
This book takes you on a journey through motherhood hell.    I enjoyed this book and found that I had to be read the last 40% in one sitting.  I kept saying, "one more chapter, then I'll go accomplish something".  Nope.  I had to keep going until the end.  A true page turner!
#BlackWings #netgalley
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Review Copy

BLACK WINGS by Megan Hart was an interesting read and I enjoyed it for several reasons.  To begin with it was a novel concept - no rehash of the same ol' same ol'.  Nice.  The characters were distinct and well developed.  I didn't like all of them, but I appreciated that Hart attempted to make them real.  I think she may have succeeded.  The writing was good, but I felt some ends were left undone, still not enough to detract from the story - just dropped bits here and there.

This is a book I would recommend to anyone who has a child or is themselves different.  You will have empathy after reading this, I hope.
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