Review: Skyfarer by Joseph Brassey

Perhaps I am biased, since I’m working on an airships and floaty-hovery fantasy story of my own, but I do wish there were more worlds like this in fantasy literature. I’ve seen them a lot in video games, but in books they are few and far between. I quite enjoyed this one. If you’re looking for deeply intellectual literature, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you’re after a fun, feelgood adventure romp, this is the book for you.

Plot

Aimee De Laurent comes from a wealthy, privileged upbringing, but dreams of adventure in the skies. When she’s offered a position as an apprentice portal mage on the skyship Elysium, she all but salivates at the opportunity. However, she quickly finds out that there’s more to adventure than glory and excitement, and more to the Elysium than meets the eye, too.

When her first attempted portal-casting goes terribly wrong, she and the crew find themselves teleported to the middle of a battle for the mythical Plot MacGuffin  Axiom Diamond. When they rescue the last surviving prince of a dying nation, the Elysium crew is summarily conscripted towards finding the diamond before the Bad Guys.

Striving to steal the diamond from its protectors is one Lord Azrael, ruthless knight for the League of Baddy McBadGuys Eternal Order. However even as he is determined to procure the diamond by any means necessary — even genocide — he is haunted by flashes of a life he cannot remember, and begins to question his role in the Order and everything he has been raised to believe in.

Thoughts

I personally  really enjoyed this book, but it definitely requires the removal of ones’ thinking cap. It is undeniably cliche and cheesy. The villains are, as far as we know, Evil for the sake of being Evil. If they have any reason or rhyme behind their calamitous intent, we don’t get to find it out in this book. The Axiom Diamond, too, is supposedly an artifact of great power, but even though (spoilers!) in the end we get to see it in action, I was still left scratching my head as to why the villains were so intent on getting it in the first place.

That said, this was the most fun I’ve had reading a book in awhile. Aimee just barely avoids being a Mary Sue, but I loved getting in her head, and could almost feel her enthusiasm. The opening chapters felt like coming home, nostalgic of a lot of the space opera I used to read when I was a teenager.

The villain character, Azrael, who shares half of the POV sections, was also surprisingly compelling and well-realized. I normally really can’t stand villain POVs in books, but I think I actually liked Azrael’s sections more than Aimee’s.

This book reads a lot like space opera, but it is not space opera. The characters and their ship never, as far as I can tell, leave the planet. The world had an odd combination of high tech and Generic Medieval Fantasy, but for some reason, I really thought it worked well.

Despite being completely over-the-top, this story managed to warm my evil little heart.

Overall Rating

3.5/5

So, so cheesy, yet so, so fun.

Reddit Fantasy Bingo Squares

  • Hopeful spec-fic
  • Mountain setting
  • One Word Title
  • <2500 Goodreads ratings
  • Not space opera but so so close

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