Read: April 18-29, 2016
Format: ARC Print Book (Goodreads First Reads)
My Book Rating: 3 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.
When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads First Reads program.
This is my first Amanda Sun book, and I really wanted to love it. There are so many wonderful things about it.
- Floating continents in the sky.
- Monster Hunters
And yet….. Something fell flat. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book, I did enjoy the story, I just couldn’t get completely engrossed in it.
The story starts slowly, with Kali, the heir to Ashra—the floating world—alone in her favorite isolated place on her continent. We’re introduced to her BFF. We learn she is betrothed to a nobleman she feels nothing for. We learn that her people worship the Phoenix, who brought Ashra and the other islands to the sky. She sneaks off to the library and overhears talk from the elders that sounds bad. Blah blah blah.
Then she falls to the earth, and even that felt rushed. We know she’s going to survive, there couldn’t be a whole book told in first person if she didn’t survive. So then I thought, yeah! Here come the monsters! And we do see a couple monsters right away, but it was sort of anticlimactic. Then we meet Griffin, the monster hunter on earth, and… again, I waited for something big to happen, and though they did meet monsters, everything seemed so easy. (Yes, I know, Griffin has been hunting monsters all his life, but still! They’re killer monsters!) There was one particular monster scene (it’s in the water, I won’t say more) that was really awesome. Kali had a chance to really prove her worth there, and it was exciting and dangerous and I was eagerly flipping pages to see what happens. Then more stuff happens, then we get to the big finish.
I think what most prevent this book from being a WOW book for me was twofold.
- This book is in present tense. In most cases, I despise present tense. It feels so awkward to read in the present tense, I’m sure some authors use it to give a sense of urgency to the reader, but for me it feels forced. It took me a really long time to look past that in this book.
- Most fantasy / dystopian / etc. YA books of today are not stand alone novels. In most cases they’re trilogies, giving time for a lot of world building and plot development. I really did like the world building in Heir to the Sky. In fact, I could easily picture what was happening, it was just enough detail for me. However, I think the plot could have been fleshed out more. There could have been more death defying challenges. The entire last section of the book, with the rebellion stuff, could have taken an entire book to really pull the reader into it and make us care about Ashra. Even when all was said and done, I think there’s room for another book with the aftermath, but maybe not.
This is still a good book, it’s just not a great book for me. I think younger teens would really enjoy it. Parents don’t need to worry about sex or language, there’s a kiss or two, but that’s it. And the violence is basically all monsters, and nothing graphic. So, I will hang onto this book for my daughter to read in a couple of years when she’s about 12 or 13.
“I don’t have a chance to survive, but I refuse to die.”
“He looks the way I used to think of myself—invisible—before my fall and pathetic attempt at survival.”
“I am the wick and the wax. My life isn’t my own.”
“I was ready to let myself burn for you. But now I burn for myself.”
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