This book was a delight, a very original theme with varied characters and an interesting plot. Our heroine, Taya, is an Icarus, a messenger who flies using special wings impregnated with Ondium to counteract her weight. The world of Ondinium is a semi-mediaeval many-layered one with different castes who live in different parts of the land with sometimes only an Icarus moving between them. When Taya rescues an Exalted, a member of the upper caste, from a damaged cablecar she finds herself mixing with other Exalteds, including the handsome and charming Alister Forlore, as well as his outcast clockmaker brother Cristof. However the accident to the cablecar appears not to have been an accident at all and when other sabotage takes place, and people start to die, Taya finds herself investigating with Cristof and some other people. Could there be a plot to damage the Great Engine, the mechanical computer that is at the heart of Ondinium? Can she trust those with whom she works? Can she keep her Icarus wings despite having to go against the rules and training?
From the start of this book I was hooked, eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next and to learn more about the interesting world. The terminology, much of it borrowed from Latin (Icarus, lictors etc), is never confusing, although I never quite got a handle on the various Engines and machines and how they worked. The cast of characters widens as the story progresses but it's easy to keep up with who is who and there are some nice touches of characterisation for some of these bit parts. My only reservation about the book is that I didn't always understand Alister's behaviour towards Taya on such a slight acquaintance but it was still an excellent read and I'll look out for other books by this author.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008