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Germany, 1945. The Third Reich is on its knees as Allied forces bomb Berlin to break the last resistance. Yet on an airfield near Berlin, the battle is far from over for a young mechanic, Felix, who’s attached to a squadron of fighter pilots. He’s especially attached to fighter ace Baldur Vogt, a man he admires and secretly loves. But there’s no room for love at the end of the world, never mind in Nazi Germany.
When Baldur narrowly cheats death, Felix pulls him from his plane, and the pilot makes his riskiest move yet. He takes a few days’ leave to recover, and he takes Felix with him. Away from the pressures of the airfield, their bond deepens, and Baldur shows Felix the kind of brotherhood he’d only ever dreamed of before.
But there’s no escaping the war, and when they return, Baldur joins the fray again in the skies over Berlin. As the Allies close in on the airfield where Felix waits for his lover, Baldur must face the truth that he is no longer the only one in mortal danger.
This is the second time I’m reading Skybound and I feel exactly the same as I did the first time. I’ve literally just read the second paragraph and I’m amazed at how swiftly I’m drawn into this story; this world: Skybound.
When I read this in February 2013, I put down my kindle (just as I have right now) and posted a status update on GoodReads. It read:
“Oh, thank God for Voinov. I’ve been trying to engage in another book with little success. First page into this little bundle of joy and I’m already blissed out like a kid eating ice-cream.”
And you know what? Hundreds of books later, the feeling is exactly the same. I’m entranced and enthralled.
I sat here earlier tonight trying to find something to read. Something that wouldn’t frustrate or bore me. Something that I’d actually want to write about and now I don’t know how to best express the way I feel while reading this. It’s words like this that floor me:
“Nobody else exists to me when he lands. Everything stops existing when he takes off, as if he takes it all with him when he goes up there, to places I’ll never see again.”
Jesus Christ, I swoon. The romance, the imagery, the tension. Felix’s reverence for Baldur… who am I kidding? There’s reverence throughout this whole story; between the characters, for their country, for their mechanical birds. The way Felix notices things about Baldur…
“I’m struck dumb. I want to hide from his gaze, penetrating and reckless as an eagle’s. Eyebrows shaped like wings, so expressive in a small lift. I wish I were a painter. Or that I owned a camera. Not that I could simply photograph him.“
And this next bit is like a whole scene in three little sentences:
“With a glance, he has obliterated the others. I feel as if we are the only men alive this night, as if he is all pilots and I’m all black men. He shortens his stride, and we leave the hangar together; he not allowing me to trail in his wake”
Ugh, it kills me. There’s just so much packed into so few words. So if you’d like to read some beautiful writing about a trope you’re not sick to death of: read this.
Skybound is a perfect example of why I’ve created my own little altar to Voinov.
Katinka: 5 stars
Susan: 5 stars
Sheri: 5 stars
Sara: 5 stars
Ilhem: 5 stars
Ami: 4 stars
Shelley: 5 stars
Jenni: 4 stars
Rachel: 3 stars