Wings of Creation

Joseph has succeeded in rescuing his sister, Chelo, from a pitched battle on the colony planet Fremont.  Now he and Chelo and the love of his life, Alicia, and all of their extended family, are finally returning home.  Halfway there, a probe intercepts them, sending them new coordinates and a message from Joseph’s enigmatic supporter and teacher, Marcus. 

War is brewing.

Joseph is wanted for escaping to save Chelo.  To stay safe, Joseph must bring his family and friends to the renowned planet of Lopali, where men and women can fly, and peace and freedom abound.  Or do they?  Alicia has always wanted to fly, but the modifications that give humans wings kill as often as they work.

Joseph must learn to actually change humans, to free the fliers of a tyranny that has enslaved them, since their species was born.  If he can do this, the fliers have agreed to help him stop the war.  But it’s not as easy as it seems.

Lush landscapes and eerily beautiful quasi-human fliers don’t quite compensate for a thin plot and jolting narrative shifts in the breathless sequel to 2008’s The Silver Ship and the Sea. Biologically engineered Chelo Lee was cast out of the colony planet Fremont by her family and saved by her brother, Joseph, a pilot and Wind Reader who can create new human beings. She and Joseph now join their extended family on Lopali, which is considering entering a war against Islas, which opposes interference with divine prerogatives. Romantic entanglements hamper Joseph’s efforts to help the local sterile fliers to reproduce and outwit rebel fliers’ plots, all couched in adolescent cheekiness that dilutes Cooper’s antiwar theme. Young adults may find this us-against-the-worlds excursion exciting, but more mature readers will growl with Joseph’s dog, Sasha, who’s rightly suspicious of oversimplifications.

—Publishers Weekly

Heading home on a spaceship, genetically augmented Joseph, his sister Chelo, and his beloved Alicia, along with their extended “family,” receive warning from Joseph’s mentor, Marcus, that war is looming, and Joseph is wanted by the port authority and the planetary police. Instead of home, they go to the supposedly peaceful planet of Lopali, whose people fly with genetically engineered wings but now have difficulty walking. Joseph is welcomed as the Maker and, with Marcus’ help, must learn to work internal changes in the fliers to enable them to reproduce and be freed from those who have enslaved them. Joseph and company become fraught with danger. They are forced into hiding and to face a battle with fliers who want to maintain the status quo. The sequel to The Silver Ship and the Sea (2007) and Reading the Wind (2008) is intense and increasingly complex. Cooper continues to limn interpersonal relationships in considerable depth, including this time those of some individual fliers. Happily, the ending suggests yet another episode to come.

—Sally Estes