Published by Hogarth on January 23rd 2018
Genres: adult, fantasy
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A sprawling, genre-defying epic set in a dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons, this debut about what it’s like to be young in a very old world is pure storytelling pleasure
In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they've ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.
The Sky Is Yours is incredibly cinematic, bawdy, rollicking, hilarious, and utterly unforgettable, a debut that readers who loved Cloud Atlas, Super Sad True Love Story, and Blade Runner will adore.
I’ll confess, I’m not really a big fan of reading stories with dragons in them. I’m okay if dragons are part of the story, but not if the story revolves around dragons. But I requested The Sky Is Yours because it sounded truly unique, and it definitely was–I’m just not sure it was the kind of unique that I enjoy.
The story revolves around a pair of dragons, one green, one yellow, that one day emerge from the ocean. The reason why is a complete mystery, but for many years the dragons torment Empire Island, burning down buildings in a seemingly random order. The story is presented in multiple POVs: Duncan Ripple, a spoiled trust fund brat; Swanny, a baroness that is betrothed to Duncan, with a very odd health problem; Sharkey, drug lord of Torch Town, the prison city surrounded by walls with no escape; and Abby, a mysterious girl that lives on Hoover Island before Duncan crash landed there and saved her–now she’s trying to figure out why she can talk to certain animals in her mind and no one else can.
There are a lot of things to like about The Sky Is Yours, but the way the book is structured is not my favorite thing. The plot is very basic and the book is mostly character-driven, which is fine if you enjoy the characters and the way they are written doesn’t bore you. I felt the author’s writing style was extremely long-winded and went into detail in places where it just wasn’t necessary. That and the insertion of certain words that felt like they were plucked out of a thesaurus at random, and it was just too much for me. I debated quitting this book multiple times, but the weirdness of the world-building is what kept me going and why I’m giving this three stars and not anything less.
This book is being compared to Blade Runner, and as that is one of my favorite films, I can say with certainty that I do not get the comparison and feel it is inaccurate. This book is more fantasy than science fiction, and the exploration of a futuristic New York City never happened. Empire Island was portrayed as a burned-out husk, not the futuristic city I was promised, like in Blade Runner. This is not criticizing the book, for the record, but the publishers. I wish they had not made that comparison because now people are probably going to go into this book expecting Blade Runner and getting something very different. Not bad, just different.
I fully admit that this is the type of book that will win awards, and it probably will, and I’m not saying it shouldn’t either. It’s just not a Kara book. I guess I like my plots more linear and focused, and this just felt too meandering for me. The plot wasn’t as fully fleshed out as it could have been, even though the characters were. The other thing I have to mention, before I go, is that I never really got the answers from the mystery of the dragons that I wanted. The book just kind of ended, and there was a distinct lack of motivation from the events that happened at the end (can’t say cuz spoilers). After all that build-up with the dragons, there wasn’t a whole lot of resolution, almost like the author couldn’t figure out how to end her book.
Thanks for the weirdness and I appreciate the attempt, but I needed more.