Whisper of Wings: Book One of the Kashran Cycle

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Editorial Reviews

Frederick A. Cooper
Thinking back, I realize I wasn't quite sure what this book was about at the beginning. And that made it all the better as I read it. The short, enigmatic descriptions promised love, war, terror, tragedy, triumph and power. "Based on a non-human race?" I read, thinking that was most unusual for a modern fantasy novel. The illustrations were intriguing, and the excerpt simply thrilling. Everyone else who had read this book had loved it... and given rave reviews. So I ordered it. I was pleased when it came very quickly in the mail, that same week. The book itself is a thick, heavy, well-made trade paperback, and soon I was engrossed in the engaging, thrilling story. I have to admit, I resented _anything_ that made me get my head out of that book, whether it was work or having to sleep! I haven't gotten that engaged in a story in a long, long time.

The story itself is unlike any other kind of fantasy I've read before. And in my over 30 years of reading, I've read a _lot_ of Fantasy. Whisper is thrilling, compelling, and written in so brilliant and penetrating a fashion it leaves your heart-pounding at times. The artwork is a perfect compliment. I've never seen a novel in recent times that had so may beautiful illustrations to match the text.

I can't say too much, obviously, about the content. The characters, though, have real feelings, motivations and lives. They have a depth you very rarely find in modern science fiction or fantasy. The story picks you up and never lets you go, not until the last page.

When you finish this book, you find yourself wishing that there were more in this series. And since it's "Book One of the Kashran Cycle", I guess that there will be! I _eagerly_ await them!

This book rates a _full_ five stars, far more than many others on Amazon I've read that held that rating. If Amazon had _six_ stars, it would rate _every_ one of them. Frankly, I'm _astonished_ that Amazon hasn't reviewed this book and put it up on their front page. It is so well-written, so epic of scope and immensely engaging, it could well spark a whole new genre of fantasy, one which I will wholeheartedly subscribe to.

This book is not feminist fantasy - fantasy that appeals mainly to female readers, and at times turns male readers away. Yet neither is it the other way. Female as well as male readers will cherish this book. You cannot put a "label" like "Feminist" on it. It is too honest and pure an offering to try and slot it in some mental category or pigeonhole like that, grouping it in any way with other books other than it's category: Fantasy. It really _is_ completely unique, and that's something I haven't run across in a book in nearly twenty years.

I recommend this book without hesitation.

Joe Seddon
This book is one of the best books I've read in a long time. In fact, it may be among the best in my collection. From the moment the characters revealed their unique personalities, I fell in love with them, and I was driven to find out how the story of their lives would unfold; I wound up reading the entire book in two sittings. On the surface, the story seems rather simple, like your classic fairy-tale. But that face eventually vanishes; no fewer than five times during this book, I found myself thinking, "I knew EXACTLY how the story was going to end...until I read this last page..." And with every shift in the plot, the story becomes more engaging, more real than it was before.

Spread through the book are illustrations by artist Terrie Smith. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case it could be true. Though they aren't numerous, the simple yet beautifully composed drawings add marvelously to the story, fixing in the reader's mind images of the people, and the landscape of this world. The cover illustration, pictured above, is one of my favorites, and I've always been impressed by how alive Terrie can make her drawings seem, simply by the expressiveness in the characters' eyes; no mean feat in flat black and white.

For any fan of fantasy, this book is as close to a "must-read" as I could ever claim. The proud but declining society of the Kashran, quiet yet expressive Shadarii and her ambitious sister Zhukora, and all of the lives they touch, weave together into a story of love and war, of hope for a brighter future, and fear of the damage the transition could bring. I can't praise this book enough, nor explain how highly I recommend it without revealing too much of the story.

Staff Atara
It isn't often that a book so enraptures me I forget to do things like, well, sleep. A Whisper of Wings is such a book.

In this novel, Kidd paints a portrait of a rich, three-dimensional world. This realm is populated with fantastic creatures called "Kashra," anthropomorphic foxes with butterfly wings and antennae. These beings coexist with a lush tapestry of spirits, called "Ka," and worship the deities Mother Rain and Father Wind.

Kashran society in the alpine tribes has stagnated under the rule of the upper castes. From the first chapters in this book, the stage is set for an uprising of epic proportion. Out of this chaos two saviors arise, opposed to each other like night and day... And this world only has room for one life philosophy.

One of the main characters in the book, Shadarii, is a mute, overweight outcast in her tribe. There were times when I felt her pain so acutely, I wanted to put the book down or skip ahead just so that I could make her stop hurting. But Kidd's writing drew me onward, through the pain and misery that Shadarii faced. Shadarii's sister, Zhukora, is equally well drawn. Her fierceness and conviction almost had me cheering her on in her quest to free her people from oppression. The other characters, while paling in comparison to Shadarii and Zhukora, are just as real and tangible as the sisters. The Kashrans' theology is compelling, and their culture is logical and believable.

The book I got was soft-bound as a rugged trade paperback, and I expect to get a lot of mileage out of it. But the real bonus is the wonderful artwork by Terrie Smith. Full color covers and twenty black and white full page images accompany Kidd's wonderful story.

With so many things going for it, this book is almost perfect. But when I began to reach the end of the book, I couldn't help but start drawing comparisons between Kidd's book and a fairly well-known story from Western religion. (I won't tell you which one, because I don't want to spoil the story for you!) It got so distracting at one point, I set down the book to jot down the analogies I found.

An old saw goes: "There are only seven plots in the world, and all stories are a variations on those plots." Did Kidd base his book on the story I think he did? If so, I wouldn't hold it against him. A Whisper of Wings is simply superb, no matter how you read it - a unique story about flying foxes, or an allegory about good and evil. The book is subtitled "Book One of the Kashran Cycle," so we can hopefully look forward to more in this world!

In a few months I'll have the chance to meet this author at a convention I am attending. Perhaps I'll be able to ask him both about my suspicions of the plot's origin, and about a second book. And, of course, I'll have to get him to sign my copy of A Whisper of Wings!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781887038041
  • Publisher: Vision Entertainment
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Pages: 356
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2008

    outstanding! different, but HIGHLY reccomended

    when i first heard about this book i was a little bit turned off. a book about butterfly/fox people? pah, just a silly kids book i thought. not so! this is an amazing story of life,death an the fate of a dying society. the main characters, shadarii and zuchora, who are sisters, are very believable and understandable characters. They may be sisters but are vastly different. Their society is collapsing but due to corrupt nobles and rigid rules, nothing will be done about it. The two sisters both find two completely seperate ways of fixing their society and are opposed to eachother. There is love, passion, and unfortunately death in this story. This book kept me reading til about 5 in the morning it was so good! I highly suugest reading this and overlooking that it is not about humans but 'kashra' the race of fox/ butterfly people, if you're not into that kind of thing. five stars definately

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2000

    The Most Incredible Book I've Ever Read!

    I forget what it was that brought me to theVision Books web site so many months ago, butit was there that I first laid eyes on thestriking artwork on this book's cover, andbecame destined to someday own a copy. I tendto avoid fantasy books however -- reading(and enjoying) the Tolkien books only becauseof their status as Classics -- so I put theidea of buying a copy aside.Two weeks ago, while surfing the 'net, I onceagain found myself admiring the vivid colorsof Whisper's cover, and the sense ofgentleness and inner beauty that radiatedfrom the picture's subject. I had a few booksand videos I wanted to order online, andcuriosity brought me to numerous and lengthyreviews out on the Internet that were writtenby others who had read the book. With so muchhigh praise backing it up, I could no longerresist -- and what a treasure I had found!We have been told that you can't judge a bookby its cover. What I found beyond the coverwas so much more beautiful and powerful! Theauthor takes his time introducing you to eachof the characters, and the history and ideasbehind their faltering society. The conflictsand relationships between the charactersfirmly hold the reader's interest throughthis lengthy period of introduction in such away that you hardly notice that you've comehalf-way through the book and you stillaren't sure what it's about. By the time themain story starts to take shape, you have athorough understanding of each character andof their ambitions and motivations. You mayalso find that you have as much sympathy forthe Antagonist as for the Protagonist.Within this incredible story are embedded agreat number of themes, analogies, and eventhe occasional worn-out cliché. The readermay welcome some of these as a familiar frameof reference from which they can get theirbearings, but it is for naught -- no matterhow familiar the story may seem, the authormanages to keep you guessing all the way tothe Epilogue.This story has been described by some as astory of Good vs. Evil, but at what point doactions become evil if they are done out oflove? Just what good is love if it can leadto evil, and how good can Good be if it isdone out of that same love as well? If youwere to describe this as a story of Lovehowever, then whom or what is it the love of,and what form does that love take? Is thisbook really about all of that or of the birthand spread of Communism vs. the teachings ofChrist? Though all this over-simplificationdoes the book a great disservice, thepossibilities are endless. For the studentwho is working on a book report, theanalogies that can be drawn from this storyare numerous and powerful enough to send ateacher of literature into pure ecstasy!I wept when the story was over, but I don'tknow why. I could not tell if I wept out ofhappiness or sadness, or if I had simply beenoverwhelmed by the power of it all. Perhapsit was because I had no where left to goexcept to return to the real world. Two weekslater, I found myself reading it all over again.The final chapters possessed all theexcitement of those of Tom Clancy's Debt ofHonor, but with so much more to offer andamazing things to learn. I wanted it to enddifferently, and for that I felt shame. Iwonder if the author had an alternateEpilogue stashed away somewhere in case hegave in to his selfish love for his maincharacters, to the detriment of his selflesslove for their fellow beings.A Whisper of Wings is quite simply the mostincredible book I have ever read. I thank theauthor, Paul Kidd, for all of his hard workin bringing this book to us. I thank Visionfor believing in him and I thank Terrie Smithfor the stunning artwork that first attractedmy attention to this book. I am anxiouslylooking forward to the next installment ofthe Kashran Cycle, though it seems that Mr.Kidd has put himself into a bit of apredicament - A Whisper of Wings is going tobe a very difficult act to follow!

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