I was amazed by Fran Wilde’s novel Updraft when I read it a few months ago. The sequel, Cloudbound, explores the aftermath of what happened in that book and how Kirit’s society moved forward. Because so much of what happens in Cloudbound hinges on the events of the first book, this review will necessarily contain spoilers.
Like Brian McClellan’s Promise of Blood, Cloudbound depicts a society that has just undergone a revolutionary change. While the good guys have triumphed over great odds, they aren’t being allowed to rest on their laurels. Nat is now one of the city’s leaders, and he has to decide which faction to align himself with and how to deal with the Singers who survived. He and the other main characters are faced with weighty questions: Which of the old laws should be done away with and which kept? Should the members of the different Singer factions be treated differently? Should the practice of Conclave continue—and if not, how should the city be appeased when it roars? For the most part, Wilde presents these dilemmas in an interesting, thought-provoking way, though there are some passages where Nat’s thoughts and feelings are summarized in narration immediately after being shown.
I also enjoyed how Cloudbound expanded the setting introduced in the first book. An unsettling discovery forces Nat and his friends to climb down into the clouds. They encounter ancient ruins, terrible monsters, and a nefarious plot along the way. At the end of Updraft, I had a theory about the nature of the city, and I was pleased to be proven right. I also absolutely loved the concept of reverse altitude sickness.
Cloudbound ends with more of a cliffhanger than Updraft did. The third and final book in the trilogy, Horizon, is already out, and I’m looking forward to reading it.