Wings so Soft by Dani Finn


Can love bloom in war’s darkest hour?

Mara and her owl work surveillance to keep Kuppham safe, but the news on the Stream is grim. The humans are coming, and she and her owl will soon be in the line of fire. Her once-vibrant city is a ghost town, with little to distract her as she waits for the skin-covered hordes to overrun the Maer capital.

Until one day, this timid little artificer wanders into the aerie, asking to watch her owl land over and over.

Uffrin makes owls powered by clockwork and magic to guard the great automatons on the northern front. He visits the aerie to study the owls’ flight mechanics, but it’s the owl handler who captures his attention. So gentle, so in control, with quick eyes that seem to stay with his all the time.

Amid the looming clouds of war, hearts intertwine and feathers fly, but duty soon flings these two lovebirds apart. If the war goes as badly as everyone seems to fear, how will they ever find each other again?

Love might be the only thing that saves them.


Wings so Soft by Dani Finn is a romantasy set within their Maerdom world but only slightly connected to the other works in said universe. As such, it isn’t imperative to read all the stories within this world, but it does help as some concepts are left unexplained. That said, it’s not like these bits of worldbuilding are completely unfigureoutable (making my own word up here…) with a little reading. I should also put right up front, there is a heavy dose of consensual sexual relations in this wee little story, so strap in (or on…) for a ride (yep, that’s intended).

Set against an oncoming war between the Maer (an anthropomorphic people covered in fur, this is putting it lightly, they have a complex civilization and technology) and humans, this story is first and foremost a romance between two Maer with a common obsession: owls. Uffrin is an artificer who has created a mechanical owl, while Mara is an owl handler. Our two lovebirds (yeahhhh the puns are a-flowin’) meet when Uffrin wants to watch a real owl in flight to perfect his model before he is sent out on mission. Upon meeting Mara, the nerdy/awkward artificer is immediately enthralled by both handler and owl, and she, Mara that is, likewise becomes interested. As war descends upon the city of Kuppham, Mara’s and Uffrin’s romance sparks like the enemies’ oncoming hoverball explosions threatening their homeland.

It’s true, this story is full-blown romance with lots of sexy scenes, but it is also a fantasy story, and I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. I’m not a huge pure romance arc fan, I like love stories that happen organically in a plot as the characters go through some stuff, not usually ones that are center stage. But WoS does a magnificent job of straddling (ahem) the line of romance and fantasy. The backdrop of war, plus both characters being sent on missions throughout the story, as well as to the front lines, brings a nice element of stakes to this budding romance. It makes the moments of intimacy (both sexual and mental – i.e. their cute little dates between missions) much more poignant than if there was nothing happening in the background. It’s this sense of urgency that makes this story shine. Knowing all this, I think I may have become a romantasy convert…

Like the classic Salt-N-Pepa song says, let’s talk about sex. There is a lot of it in this story and some of it is pretty steamy. This may put off many readers, but I will say that the way Mx. Finn writes these scenes, there is very little vulgarity. In fact, there is very little use of words we would all expect used, and I’m certain you all know which ones I’m speaking of. I’d go as far to say that Mx. Finn creates a vivid picture of sex without actually relying on ramming it in our…cough, cough…faces…cough cough. Instead Mx. Finn uses a lyrical painting composed of elegant wordage to draw us in. It’s sensual, it’s loving, it’s a coming together of two souls without ever becoming overtly graphic even though we readers know and can visualize every moment. It’s excellence in its purest form.

While both Uffrin and Mara are great characters, I’d be remiss to not mention Friend the mechanical owl and Cleo the real owl. An awful lot of the non-sexy scenes of this book revolve around these two critters one of metal & gears, the other feathers and their respective handlers. The two owls both represent facets of Uffrin’s/Mara’s personalities and it was nice to see their juxtapositions play out. And both owls do play a role in the war plot so they weren’t just there for posterity, they do kick some butt in their own ways.

There was also this fun little technology aspect Mx. Finn added to this world that is very reminiscent of our current internet/social media, and that was the circlets. Not only was there a Stream (mostly of owl videos) that each character constantly interacted with, but it also had a messaging system for our lovers to send cutesy words to each other. I also found the introduction of the enemies’ hoverballs to be both inventive and threatening. These tiny little balls of explosive horror allowed for Cleo to play a major role in the narrative.

As far as prose goes, it’s very clean, and as mentioned above, well done as far as conveying emotions, both physical and mental. The pace is steady, no lulls, no filler. As mentioned, if you haven’t read anything by Dani Finn before, you might have a few moments of ‘what is this?’ but they are few and far between and not difficult to figure out.

As my first entry in Dani Finn’s Maerdom world, this was a riveting climax…But I do plan to continue reading more of this world and exploring other bodies…I mean stories. Wings so Soft is a very solid, enjoyable read for fans of romance and cozy fantasy alike.