by J.A. Huss
Fledge is the second book in the I Am Just Junco series science fiction series. I suspected when I read Clutch that these books could become some of my favs and they have. Click HERE for my review of the first book. I am completely hooked on this series. I love the world building and the characters. I especially love Junco. These books are told in her voice. And what a voice it is. She’s a smart ass with a dirty mouth and more heart and determination than one body should be able to hold.
Fledge picks up right where Clutch left off…. I’m going to try NOT to be spoilery 😉 and some of these plot points are in the synopsis anyway…
Junco has been conditioned, trained, abused and used since she was a child. Her training was in killing, following orders and surviving. She discovered that she is part Avian, part of an alien race of winged beings. In Fledge, Junco learns what that entails and even more mysteries of her past and purpose are revealed.
Junco leaves earth with Tier, the Avian she made friends with in the first adventure. On the space ship her Avian side is triggered and she goes through morph and wakes up changed. She has wings now and Tier is in prison for not killing her! Junco rolls with the punches and puts on her game face determined to save Tier.
Fledge refers to the survival of the strongest type series of battles that takes place every year for the Avian race. They fight in battles to the death to eliminate the weak from their population. Junco has to learn how to be an Avian, who she can trust and how to survive the plots and threats of those who don’t want her around. She is a survivor. The brutal kill or be killed attitude and viciousness involved in the battles made me flinch and I think it’s supposed to. This novel is a story of survival but also of love and sacrifice and what you would give up for someone you loved.
I loved watching her thought process. I like how she faces challenges and can temporarily wall off emotions. She is feisty and fierce. She is a fierce fighter, fiercely loyal and brave, funny and full of heart. I continued to root for her through the Fledge process and the incredible action sequences. I cringed at the damage that people can do to themselves and against their own race in their fight for perfection. The things she has to do to survive broke my heart, and it breaks hers too… But Junco keeps her eyes on her goal. She is focused on her mission, to survive to save Tier.
The secondary characters are so well drawn and individual. Junco loves and trusts Tier and though he isn’t in much of this book his presence is felt. The military unit, the 039, that Junco was assigned to before Tier’s imprisonment, are an amazing crew of guys. I loved how unique and different they were. I got a kick out of seeing the ways they reacted to Junco and she to them. Lucan, the Avian leader, is a fascinating being and his relationship with Junco is complicated. And then there are the people Junco has to fight with and against… But through it all Junco shines bright in her determination to do what she sees as right.
Some of my fav lines…ummm honestly? I highlighted 147 passages. I frackin’ LOVE this book.
♦ He smiles again. I don’t. My face will crack if I have to keep up this fake shit much longer
♦ “…And if you know so much about me, then you know that death carries very little meaning at the moment. You can try and kill me if you want – I don’t give a shit. I have nothing to lose. You’re no different than the assholes I left back on Earth and if you really want to know what I’m doing on your habitat, you better ask yourself. We both know I’m here because you want me for something.”
♦ I feel alone. My team is confused and hurt, my captain is selling me out, and I’ve told them all to pretty much fuck off. I am just Junco. Again.
♦ “I don’t mean to make comparisons like this, Lucan, and normally I never would because you’re entitled to your own culture, but on Earth we love the defective just as much as the average. More, sometimes.”
♦ Flying is not all that fun when you’re learning. For one thing, you fall an awful lot. And I’m not talking about some pansy-ass baby fall. Even in the grass that hurts.
♦”You’re not OK, Junco.” I look at him, first the one green eye, then the other. “I know. What time is it?”
♦ I let out a huge sigh and shake my head. “It would be a lot easier if they were already dead.” I look up at him, meet his eyes. “Because I’d have that shit locked down already, and be on the other side of death. That’s the best place to be, ya know? On the other side of death.” “So, that’s it? You can just turn it on and off like that? Forget about stuff and move on?” I shrug. “That’s pretty impressive, Junco, really, I envy you. But it also makes you a little bit insane.”
I have a mad, crazy passion for this series and especially for Junco. I’m Team Junco, whatever comes, whoever she’s with… I’m on her side cheering for her to make it through these challenges and be more than satisfied with her journey. If you enjoy fantasy, science fiction, action, intrigue, passion, epic world building and a main protagonist that is foul mouthed, tough, vulnerable and fierce, pick up the Junco series and get addicted like me.
The Queen of Tarts
Tier is on trial for treason, the avian president wants her dead, her new military team is hostile, her body is being taken over by an illicit AI, and her only friend is a ten-year old throwaway boy.
In most places the avian Fledge ritual would be nothing more than mass murder, but here in the capital city of Amelia, it’s called growing up. Junco has two choices: fight to the death to prove her worth, or get sent back to Earth in the hands of her enemies.
In a foreign culture and surrounded by people she can’t trust or count on, Junco must find a way to save herself and Tier without losing her immortal soul in the process.