Series: Rebel Wing Trilogy #1
Published by Alloy Entertainment on 2014-02-14
Length: 341 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Kindle Unlimited
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2023, 2023 Backlist Reader Challenge, COYER 2023
The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.
Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.
Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becominga true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.
I am ashamed to say that this book has been on my NetGalley waiting to be read since 2014 I’d attempted to read it a few times, and it just wasn’t working for me. I learned that the author updated and revised the entire series, and it was available through KU. Needless to say, I’m so glad I never gave up on it. I devoured not just this book, but the entire series. Rebel Wing by Tracy Banghart is the first in a YA dystopian series about a girl who goes undercover as a man and joins the army all to find her boyfriend and be with him. On the surface, this may seem shallow. However, it goes much deeper than that, exploring societal pressures, the ravages of war, and ultimately finding yourself.
Aris is a wonderfully flawed character who is easy to identify with and root for. The book opens on her flying over the fields and shoreline of her home. She’s looking forward to her future. The ceremony that will determine what job she will have in the future is today. She knows she will get agriculture, it is a given based on what her parents do and her own ailments. Her boyfriend and soon to be promised will be medical. Her future awaits until it doesn’t. Nothing is as she thought it would be. Calix is drafted to the military with the war ever increasing and forced to leave Aris behind. Then an opportunity presents itself to Aris: the military needs fliers, disguise yourself as a man and you can be with Calix and fight.
This is so out of the norm for Aris. Yet she thrives in the environment. She is the best flier in her class, and when she is secretly drafted, she’s the best flier for her squad. I loved seeing this world through her eyes. She blossoms with the military and finds a sense of purpose that was missing at home. An illness in her childhood left her with a limp and medically fragile…at least that’s how everyone has treated her. The military ignores that and trains her as hard as the others. She isn’t a china doll, and she proves it with every day she’s there.
While the story is told mostly from Aris’s perspective, we also get a glimpse into the POV of the leader of the country. I liked seeing this. It gave a sense of urgency to what Aris is doing and allows us to see what is going on in the war, like what started it and what is keeping it going.
Overall, I really enjoyed Rebel Wing. Aris is a great character, and the world-building adds to to that. I loved experiencing her flights through her eyes, but also seeing the different characters, the struggle of being a woman disguised as a man, and her own perspective change. I immediately dove into book two when I finished this one. Highly recommend for fans of YA dystopian and sci-fi.