“Swift” by R.J. Anderson

12 minutes, 49 seconds Read
About this book:

  “To save her people, a wingless girl must learn to fly.
    As a piskey girl born without wings and raised underground, Ivy yearns for flight almost as much as she misses her long-lost mother. But the world outside the Delve is full of danger, and her dreams seem hopeless until she meets a mysterious faery who makes her an enticing offer: If Ivy helps him escape the Delve’s dungeon, he’ll teach her how to fly.
    Freeing Richard could cost Ivy her reputation, perhaps even her life. But when her fellow piskeys start to disappear and her beloved little sister goes missing, Ivy has no choice but to take the risk.
    Deadly threats and shocking revelations await Ivy as she ventures into a strange new world, uncovers long-buried secrets about her family’s past, and finds that no one—not even herself—is entirely what they seem.”

Series: Book #1 in “The Flight and Flame” trilogy. 

Spiritual Content- A human girl prays to God for something to work; 
             *Note: Magic is used for both good and bad (depending on the one using it and their goals); Regarding the magic, it’s said that piskey magic and faery magic are different, that magic is “a matter of instinct rather than learning”, the being in the moonlight makes magical folks’ magic stronger, magic doesn’t last forever, only female piskeys and female faeries have wings, male faeries can change shape (into an animal), & to change into in animal you have to be completely familiar with that animal and it’s life; Ivy and other piskeys cast magic that are also called ‘spells’, ‘glamors’, ‘wards’, ‘charms’, and ‘illusions’ (very frequently, also mentions of evil spells by villainous characters); Piskeys and other magical folks (faeries and spriggans) have magic/powers and some of them can change shape/size, transform into an animal, grow tiny or big, turn themselves invisible, heal others, leaping from one place to another/transporting, put others to sleep, tracking/finding others, protective spells, create fire from their hands, creating spells to harm others, forcing others to tell the truth, erasing others’ memories, keeping others from talking, controlling others, bespelling others, & casting spells on the enemy in wars (Ivy does some of these & *Spoiler* transforms/”changes” into a bird after being taught *End of Spoiler*); Piskeys get close to a special fire that will make their skin glow better than any lamp (which is helpful since they live in an abandoned mine shaft); *Major Spoiler* There is a faery determine to take revenge on piskeys by planning to trap all male piskeys in little statues and sell them to humans as a good luck charm (because of an error, one of the piskeys died); To be freed from the statue, the blood of a family member and the spell caster has to be wiped on the statue; Ivy is trapped in one once and see others being trapped as well (semi-detailed); More detailed in the Negative Content Spoiler *End of Major Spoiler*; When Ivy touches a couple statues, she feels a power or a connection from them (because of how it was made); Mentions of old powers from the earth & not all of those being good ones; Mentions of iron causing faeries pain and to be unable to use their magic; Mentions of healing potions; Mentions of some humans and magical folk that don’t believe magical creatures exists (some humans with piskeys, some piskeys with spriggans, etc.); Mentions of a human girl being able to see faeries due to having some magic in her blood; A few mentions of cursing others (piskeys to faeries and spriggans); A few mentions of a faery godfather; A couple mentions of demons (someone fighting like a demon & another being called a demon); A couple mentions of blessings over a community; A mention of a place looking possibly haunted; A mention of a wicked magical folk; A mention of a curse; A mention of ghosts; A mention of someone coming back to life (after being trapped); A mention of someone’s gaze of admiration “that bordered on worship”.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘blast *someone*’, a ‘shut your mouth’, an unfinished ‘what the—’, and nine forms of ‘stupid’; A bit of eye rolling & sarcasm; A mention of a curse (said, not written); Seeing a death (similar to Mother Gothel in Tangled, up to semi-detailed); Being attacked, Being hit and slapped, Passing out, Pain, Injuries, Ivy makes herself bleed, & Blood/Bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Being trapped & wanting to feel pain (because she can’t feel anything where she is trapped, up to semi-detailed); Slapping someone & Helping someone put their shoulder back in joint (barely-above-not-detailed); Ivy has to prepare & kill a snake (for food, up to semi-detailed); Ivy has a bit of a disrespectful tone and thoughts towards her mother, but when she goes missing, Ivy is the only one of her family to believe that their mother didn’t leave them on purpose (there’s quite a lot of discussions on this, their different ways of handling it, Ivy feeling upset at her brother and father’s reactions to it all, & Ivy being disappointed in/bitter towards her mother at times); Ivy struggles with feeling hatred towards her father and brother for their attitude towards her mother’s disappearance and some of their actions/words (more so her brother, but she does get upset at her father for withdrawing from their family and also wonders if her parents even care about her); Ivy understands a woman’s frustration with her husband for not noticing the work that women do (she says that the men only care about their beds being warm and stomachs full, which Ivy understands because her brother never thanks her and has become selfish); *Major Spoiler* There is a faery determine to take revenge on piskeys by planning to trap all male piskeys in little statues and sell them to humans as good luck charms (because of an error, one of the piskeys died, but more used to die when the spell was used as a hostage negotiation plan back in the old days); She wants to free the female piskeys, saying that they have been controlled by the men and live in fear of going above ground; She tries to convince Ivy that she cares about the women, but Ivy knows she just wants to get revenge on the men she hates; She also comments on the head leader of the communities (a female piskey called a “Joan”) sometimes put their interests before others and fearing that if she lets the other women go above ground, one might become stronger than her; To be freed from a statue, the blood of a family member and the spell caster has to be wiped on the statue or they will live the rest of their lives in the statue; When Ivy refuses to work with her, she is trapped in a statue and see others being trapped as well (semi-detailed); It’s revealed at the end that the Joan and male piskeys kept the women and children safe by omitting certain details about being above ground and the dangers (said not to be a “direct lie”, but an omission) *End of Major Spoiler*; Many mentions of deaths, wars, fighting, battles, killing, violence, & wives and daughters being taken in wars (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of slavery, slaves, slaves being sent into battles, & salves being sold; Many mentions of lies, lying, liars, & deceit (piskeys can’t lie unless they’re joking and faeries are known to be liars; a mention of someone saying that the “most powerful lies are the ones we tell ourselves because the truth is too ugly to bear”); Mentions of murderers, murders, & killings (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of bodies (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of executions, hangings, & someone wanting to kill another; Mentions of being attacked, beatings, injuries, pain, blood/bleeding, passing out, & someone going mad/crazy from the pain (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of kidnappings/hostages & missing piskeys and faeries; Mentions of poison, a poisonous gas/spell, being poisoned, & others that are dying from an illness caused by poison; Mentions of faeries tricking others (cruelly, not for fun) & killing those in their way; Mentions of threats & threatening harm; Mentions of stealing; Mentions of piskey children being told stories of spriggans eating piskeys (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of some piskeys being tricked into a marriage (to spriggans, which Ivy thinks is worse than being eaten by a spriggan); Mentions of ugly creatures (spriggans, up to semi-detailed); Mentions of Ivy’s mother’s disappearance (including some in her family believing she ran away, Ivy believing the spriggans got her, Ivy also wondering if her mother did leave and if so, did she not love them anymore *Spoiler* it’s revealed that her mother is a faery and is ill because of staying underground with other female piskeys and being poisoned *End of Spoiler*); Mentions of Ivy’s parents having a verbal fight; Mentions of hatred, betrayals, & bitterness;  Mentions of pranks & teasing (piskeys love to pull pranks on each other); Mentions of wine, drinking, drunks, & having to be a certain age to drink piskey-wine (Ivy’s little sister wants another sip because she likes it, but it told no due to her age; Ivy’s brother drinks a handful of times; Ivy packs a bottle of beer for her father for work); Mentions of hunters, hunting, & killing/preparing a snake (including blood and a hunter saying that they can’t hunt animals if others in the group can changing/transforming into animals (which Ivy disputes because animals eat each other all the time), up to semi-detailed); Mentions of an injured horse; A few mentions of someone starving to death; A few mentions of crimes & criminals; A couple mentions of nightmares; A couple mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of throwing up; A mention of possibly drowning; A mention of someone biting another; A mention of urine; 
             *Note: When Ivy’s younger sister says she doesn’t like to hear about killing, Ivy replies that they’re talking about a spriggan who did something wrong (and therefore doesn’t matter), but Ivy does wonder more about the topic later; Somebody says that Ivy was born crippled (due to having no wings and being sickly); A woman says a patronizing comment to Ivy about her being wingless; A villain asks Ivy, “Your father and brother may believe their lives are worth more than yours, but surely you know better?”; Multiple lines written by Shakespeare are quoted; A mention of bigotry towards someone’s thoughts. 
Sexual Content- A few embraces & nearness (barely-above-not-detailed); Hand holding (twice); A bit of blushing; Ivy & a guy stare into each other’s eyes for a moment; When a (sickly) guy takes off his shirt, he tells Ivy not to swoon and she replies that she’s never swooned in her life; A couple mentions of others thinking that Ivy and a male piskey are sweethearts (Ivy doesn’t think any piskey-boy would want a mate with no wings); A mention of spriggans who steal piskey women because they don’t have any women of their own; A mention of a married couple kissing; A mention of Ivy and a young man having a “very strong connection” (which causes someone to act mockingly and imply that there’s more going on between them); A mention of there typically being a precedent when a young man and woman become close (implied marriage/being together); 
             *Note: A mention of Ivy thinking that something went wrong with “her making while she was still unborn”because she has no wings (like every other female piskey); A mention of a human girl wondering why her mother even had her because her mother is distant; A mention of a mother dying in labor; A mention of a stillborn baby; A mention of a miscarriage; A mention of it taking “so long” for a woman to have children. 
-Ivy, age 17 (11 in the prologue) (?)
                                P.O.V. of Ivy 
                                          272 pages


Pre Teens- 

New Teens- 

Early High School Teens- 

Older High School Teens- 

My personal Rating- 

{Ratings are based on content/violence as every family has different options on magic content. Those fine with Harry Potter would probably be okay with this story.}

This was interesting. I was expecting it to be a clean read and not a Christian book, and that turned out to be correct. It was definitely clean (hinted feature romance but nothing else in that regard), but it’s all about piskies and magic and such. A touchy topic for sure in the Christian world—and the reason why I debated posting a review on BFCG. However, because it’s published by Enclaved Publishing, which is becoming more and more well-known in the Christian Fiction (especially for sci-fi/fantasy books) world, I’ll be reviewing this series on BFCG even though the only Christian content in this first book was a prayer. 

Back to the plotline and thoughts: I grew up on the Pixie Hollow franchise, so it was really interesting to see the difference and all the “magical folk” in this world. Ivy wasn’t a new favorite character for me, but I did like how she had to learn and realize that everything she’s been taught isn’t 100% true (it also kind of reminded me of a cult-like setting because of certain comments, but with faeries and spells and those kinds of things). I did find her to be too stubborn for her own good. She jumps to conclusions that feel like a bit of a reach, but turn out to be somewhat true? That could be because of the shorter length of this book, though. 

One thing that made me uncomfortable was the comments from two different women being annoyed with their husbands/men in their community for not paying attention to their work and that the men and Joan (female leader of the community) have deceived the female piskeys under the guise of “keeping them safe”. I think that’s what really gave off the cult-like vibe and I can’t say I was a fan of those elements. They do “cast spells” and use “magic”, which both of those phrases/words are used often, which is, like I said earlier, a touchy topic. 

It’s no secret on this site that I struggle with high fantasy/crazy fantasy books. I was able to follow along pretty well and major props to the author for explaining things in a way that didn’t feel like the reader is being dumped information on or withholding information from the reader for the sake of being mysterious. Most of the fantasy books I’ve read fall into either of those descriptions and I really appreciate how this author did the layout of info about the world. 

I will say that the reveal of certain events that happened a bit past halfway felt a little lackluster, but it all made sense, so I’ll give it that. While I was uncomfortable at some parts (mentioned above), I’m curious about what will happen in the rest of the trilogy, so I do plan to continue.



See y’all on Friday with a new review! 

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

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