Skyland: Islands in the wind
a bookreview by 'The Geek Writer'
In the year of 2251, earth has been ripped apart and water is one of the most preciouse possessions you can have. David Carlyle decided to take us to a steampunk world where people are devided by Seijin (humans with certain powers) and Jinsei (ordinary people). A rebellion is uprising. An intelligent girl and a slender boy try to survive
Is this book worth reading?
I will break down this book in four different aspects: worldbuilding, character, plot and my end decision.
This article will contain spoilers about the book. If you want a spoilerfree review, then watch this video!
Airships, Islands in the sky and robots who keep an eye out. David Carlyle brought us into a steampunk world. This in a slow and steady pace and gives new readers who wants to try a steampunk-novel a chance. Thereby the book is clearly accessible for everyone, but lacks in oppurtunities.
That it is accessible for a lot of readers is great, but sometimes I dared to forget that I was in a steampunk world. It was only here and there that the writer mentioned a metal arm or biometric scanners. The biggest asset in its worldbuilding were the airships like the Bigbang or the Arlequin. Besides an bombardment with these ships on a islands we haven't had the chance to explore a ship decently and learn how it worked (I still didn't figured it out of they work on electricity or with coals).
Also the robots (aka Brigs) didn't get a lot of action. The only thing they did was arresting Valerie in the beginning and even that went very passive.
I had many questions about the Seijin and the Jinsei. How did it become that some have powers and others don't? Why are the jinsei bald?
Don't get me wrong, not everything must be answered, but those questions pushed me out of my hypnostic state when I try to read a book (you know, when you got totally sucked inside of it).
If I could change one thing in this book, then it would be the characters. Valerie and Laurence (the two protagonists) are clearly written down in physical shape, but are written with not much depth.
For example (big spoiler):
When José, the father of Laurence died, I barely cared. I can't stop thinking why I don't care because this is the main motivation of Laurence. It's because of his fathers dead that he starts working closely with the rebellion.
I reread a few pages and then it occured to me that Laurence always called his father by his name and never said 'dad'. Why? I don't know.
The same happens to Valerie when Leonie dies. She's sad, but you barely notice it. She barely collapse of grief! She cries a bit and then decides to run away to the rebels. I didn't feel her pain and that is something very important.
The point is: the characters are mostly written in a one-dimensional way and I believe that the writer to do more with the character.
Overall, there was a lack of depth in the characters.
The worldbuilding was not bad, the characters could be more developed, but what about the plot?
Obviously, everything is connected with each other. Skyland is a world with a lot of possibilities, but the lack of depth in characters could you find back in the plot.
A clever girl with magic abilities has been send to a government facility to fix the biggest problem that they have: recreating water. She got friends with a jinsei Leoni and finds ultimatly that the Sphere wants to use it as a tool of power. She decides to leave and joins the rebels.
In the mean time we learn Laurence who was with his father in the black forest, searching for water. Instead, he finds a laptop with some important files. It doesn't take long before the Sphere arrives, captures Laurence and his father and get access to the laptop. He manages to escape thanks to the rebel Bimbo and joins the rebels. His father died during the rescue attempt.
The story ends at a rebel base, where Laurence and Valerie meet each other but has difficulties to accept each other (an interesting relationship that hopefully continues during the series).
If you read the summary, then you might think that it sounds good, but everything with a lot of coincidence.
There is not a lot of action in the book (which is not obligated), which makes everything a bit passive. The stakes were not high enough or I simply didn't care enough about the characters.
There could have been a lot more on stake.
Skyland: Islands in the wind is a decent book. Despite the lack of depth in different ways, the author brought us to an interesting world that has a lot of potential in future projects. The dialogue was masterly written and gave me some new insights as a writer.
The book itself is a 'guilty pleasure'. It's relaxing to read it, but it didn't lift my expectations of fantasy and science fiction.
Keep reading, keep writing