The Philosopher’s Flight – Tom Miller
Final Thoughts: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Magic, or philosophy, exists in Tom Miller’s world. The field of empirical philosophy is dominated by women, and across the world, it is used for an incredibly wide-range of functions. Women can fly, heal, create, and destroy with the use of sigils. Robert Weeke’s mother had spent her life as an airborne rescue worker through various wars and in her countryside life in Montana. Robert had spent his life as her assistant, and dreams of working for the US Sigilry Corps Rescue & Evacuation Service. The only catch is that the service has never recruited a male member. Robert miraculously accepts entry into the women’s-only Radcliffe College to train as a flyer. He fights to gain access into the exclusive world and prove himself to his peers. His heart and dreams are huge, and with the help of his friends, he works harder than ever to find his triumph.
Tom Miller’s world is intensely developed. He has created a fiercely unique environment, complete with its own system of magic and a dictionary of new “philosophical” terms. The details abounding in this book are so strong and bottomless; Tom Miller was impressively intentional when developing this complex world. It’s the kind of book where I know I could ask arbitrary questions, and he would have the answers for me.
His cast of characters is charming. Robert, as an underdog, is easy to cheer on. His nerdy roommate, independent female friends, and incredibly strong girlfriend Danielle, create a support system that we wish we had in our real lives. This band of sisters is a group of unlikely heroes, and it feels natural to love them for it.
I keep seeing Tom Miller toted ad an ER doctor-turned-author, and based on the amount of technical enthusiasm shared in this book, it is totally evident. The detail in the book is reminiscent of Gregory Maguire’s voicing. The story is fun and pleasant, but equally intricate and dense. Initially, the jargon was so hard for me to catch up with that I felt I’d skipped a chapter.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Based on the descriptions, I felt that this book might veer toward a men’s rights direction. Seriously, in 2018 I’m reading a book about how a poor boy couldn’t get into an all-girls field? My thoughts were along the lines of “Who needs a story like this?” But I was proved happily wrong. Miller’s use of Robert as an underdog protagonist isn’t a device to villain-ize the women gatekeepers. Robert’s story is linked to the real-life fight for female-rights, and if anything, the book comes across as remarkably humanist, rather than political.
The Philosopher’s Flight is a purely enjoyable read. It is involved, intense, and elaborate, and it feels lengthier than it is. While the large amounts of unique verbiage bogged me down in the beginning, it became a tale of hard work, optimism, and victory, and it felt good to read a book with such happy thoughts. Tom Miller’s story is happy and lighthearted, just as it is intense and heavy. It is technical and realistic, just as it is wondrous and fantastical. It is a very different kind of book, and while it isn’t your standard kind of magic, it shows us that the magic really starts where the strength of the human spirit begins.