Air Born is the first in a five-book series written by New Zealand author Jess Pawley. The series began as self-published books through Amazon and online via Wattpad. It has since been picked up by a New Zealand publisher and undergone redevelopment for relaunch to the market (full history here).
The story begins with Tyler, about to undertake his first solo sky dive while training for the Civil Air Patrol. His 'chute malfunctions and it all goes wrong, but Tyler survives the fall due to the wings that suddenly burst out from his shoulder blades. While his life is saved, it suddenly becomes increasingly hectic - somebody caught the fall on camera, and the footage gets televised on the news. Suddenly, lots of interesting people come out of the woodwork - both good and bad...
The book starts out action-packed, and it doesn't really slow down. What makes the story 'realistic' (in a suspension-of-disbelief kind of way) is that Tyler spends a long time figuring out exactly how to use his new wings. The movement and control of his new appendages doesn't come naturally, and he has to build strength in his new wings and the muscles required to use them effectively, while learning how to fly.
Well suited to those interested in the fantasy genre, this is a refreshing change from the vampires, werewolves, fairies and angels that have taken over the fantasy literature sphere in recent years (or decades).
Air Born has an average rating of 4.3 on Goodreads. While this is based on only 10 ratings at the time of writing the review (which is understandable, given that it was only relaunched in New Zealand on the 2nd October) the original version, First Flight, has an average rating of 4.38. The author has as loyal fan base, which will be sure to grow once this book, and the follow-up issues, gain traction in the young adult reading community.