The first in an all new fantasy series from USA Today bestseller, David Dalglish.
The last remnants of humanity live on six islands floating high above the Endless Ocean, fighting a brutal civil war in the skies. The Seraphim, elite soldiers trained for aerial combat, battle one another while wielding elements of ice, fire and lightning.
The lives of their parents claimed in combat, twins Kael and Breanna Skyborn enter the Seraphim Academy to follow in their footsteps. There they will learn to harness the elements as weapons and fight at break-neck speeds while soaring high above the waters. But they must learn quickly, for a nearby island has set its hungry eyes upon their home. When the invasion comes, the twins must don their wings and ready their blades to save those they love from annihilation.
I feel like it’s been 3000 years since I read a good old fantasy book with magic and flying, and finally. I have broken that drought, and what a better way to do it than with Skyborn, by David Dalglish.
However, it must be noted that this book is not pure fantasy, despite having the words: “A MAJOR NEW EPIC FANTASY BEGINS” plastered on the front, and “THE FIRST IN AN ALL-NEW FATASY SERIES FROM BESTSELLING AUTHOR DAVID DALGLISH” on the back. Instead, as he’s said in the author’s note (which, by the way, I do recommend you read because he talks about some interesting aspects of the book), he “was tempted to just use magic, but this time around… [he] wanted to keep [himself] a little under control, keep the setting a bit more structured”. And the wonderful product is this mashup of technology/magic crystals/mechanical wings/floating islands. It’s actually really refreshing, having not pure fantasy, but technology mixed in too! Refreshing like an ice-cold lemon cocktail dumped all over your brain. Aaaaahh, how refreshing!
This book is bombastic! (Which is apparently an eligible English word. I dunno. English is weird). It’s like a mashup of Divergent and the Hunger Games. They even have testing for special powers (called the Affinity Test), and oh-what-a-surprise that the main characters turn out to be magically gifted. Who would have thought. In terms of setting, disregarding the slight issue of floating islands, we have a very Hunger Games-esque world. The Center – or the Capitol – that is where all the rich and cool people live, and from where the Islands – the Districts – are controlled. There are five Islands, of which I can remember Weshern, Sothren, Galen, Elern. There’s another one starting with C that is literally only mentioned once in the book. I guess those people aren’t rich or cool enough to be talked about.
In terms of plot, it’s a little Hunger Games-esque as well, but I can’t say much without spoiling the book, but there’s themes of power, manipulation, blah, blah, all the general run-of-the-mill corruption happening in otherly worlds we so often read about in books.
The book starts to really gain traction around page 50, when the main characters of the book, Breanna “Bree” Skyborn and Kael “Kael” Skyborn take the Affinity Test. Of course, Breanna is stronger than Kael. For some reason, I feel like whenever we have a book with brother-sister heroes/heroines the girl is always stronger. Always. Dunno why. I mean, Witch and Wizard by James Patterson, hello? Wisteria, the red-headed sister is obviously stronger and much more explosive than her boring brother who I can’t even remember the name of. In fact, now that I think about it, Bree and Wisteria are kinda really similar. They’re both SO ANNOYINGLY RECKLESS, and they also both work with fire, having a tendency to explode or release huge amounts of fire when angry (which is very often).
Talking about Breanna, ugh she was SO ANNOYING. Every two seconds, she’s like: “YOU KNOW WHAT? THIS IS PROBABLY A BAD IDEA BUT I’M GOING TO COMPLETELY IGNORE WHAT THE TEACHER TOLD ME TO DO AND INSTEAD, I’M GOING TO RISK KILLING MYSELF. STUFF THE CONSEQUENCES. DEAL WITH THEM LATER.” Seriously. Have some self control. How old are you? Sixteen? Oh wait…
In this aspect, it was super hard to connect to Bree. I mean, her loved ones die and I’m just sitting there like: “Yawn. Pass me the action scenes.”
One of my favourite aspects of the book was the action scenes. Oh my God. DAMN THEY ARE SO GOOD. I NEED MORE EYES (Would more eyes makes you read faster? Probably.) The action scenes are so tense, and lightning quick. They rarely last for more than 2-6 pages and yet I’m just sitting there like a cat with catnip flicking pages like “OH MY GOD WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. WHOOOOOO SHALL BE SACRIFICED.” They’re electric, charged and I NEED MORE ACTION SCENES GRR.
Moving to the romance. I was scared it was going to be instalove but glad to report that nup! It isn’t. It’s well developed, the relationships move at a reasonable pace, and it’s realistic – or as realistic as you can get in a fantasy/tech book.
Battles and death and duels seem so common in this book that his attempts at pulling a John Green and killing off characters just backfires. Because if you’re going to make a point that people die a lot, it’s only reasonable that the reader would expect that a main/sub-main character will die soon. I mean, I’ve had 250 pages to prepare myself for this. Yawn. Pass me the action scenes.
I’ve said everything I need to say about this book but before I leave you I have to mention the ending. Oh my God. Read this book, if only for the ending. Even if you don’t like it YOU NEED TO FINISH IT BECAUSE THE ENDING OMG. ONE WORD: BOMBASTIC.
Thank you to Hachette for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 8/10
Skyborn is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.
- Title: Skypost
- Author: David Dalglish
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Orbit Books (November 17th, 2015)
- Language: English
- URL: Goodreads