The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

the-philosophers-flight-9781476778150_hr

From the publisher:

A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art. “Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell.” (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer)

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers—and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness, Tom Miller writes with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and humor. The Philosopher’s Flight is both a fantastical reimagining of American history and a beautifully composed coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.


My review:

This book ended up being way more than I expected for a debut novel! The story was fascinating and very well-written. And Tom Miller did such a fantastic job of entwining his story with true history that I found myself getting caught up in the narrative and asking, “Wait, did that really happen?”

Miller managed to spin a tale that both entertains and calls out those who would be prejudiced against their fellow man (or woman) for whatever reason, rather than taking them on their own merits. He turns both sexism and religious intolerance on their heads to expose their useless underbellies, all while creating an alternate history that is seamlessly written.

I laughed, I cheered, I teared up, I wanted to scream at the characters…all signs of a well-crafted story. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller when it is released by Simon & Schuster on February 13, 2018.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Advertisements

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

High-As-The-Heavens-web-size

From the author’s website:

“In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.”

Kate Breslin has crafted a lovely story that is rich with both historical detail and an intricate and engrossing plot. She is absolutely marvelous at building tension, throwing in plenty of unexpected plot twists to keep the reader on her toes.

But that’s just the half of it. She has also created a cast of multi-layered characters – the best kind of characters: the ones you both love and want to smack at the same time. Her main character, Evelyn Marche, was even inspired by real historical women from the First World War.

It is a tale of strength and fragility and how both are necessary to survive in the tough times. It is a story of guilt that cripples the soul and the freedom found only in redemption. It is a novel of how love can conquer all, even self-induced heartbreak. And it is a beautiful read. It is heart-pumping, heart-squeezing, and heart-warming.

Do yourself a favor and pick up your own copy of High as the Heavens, then snuggle in for a fascinating read.

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂