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Unwrapped Sky

(Caeli-Amur #1)

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  544 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Caeli-Amur: an ancient city perched on white cliffs overlooking the sea; a city ruled by three Houses, fighting internecine wars; a city which harbours ancient technology and hidden mysteries. But things are changing in Caeli-Amur. Ancient minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun. The slightly built New-Men bring their technology from their homeland. Wastel ...more
Hardcover, 430 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Tor Books (first published April 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.25  · 
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Mark Lawrence
So, this book has quite a low average rating on Goodreads (3.25) and I can understand why to a degree.

It's not written like most fantasy books and many fantasy readers may find it moves them out of their comfort zone. It's more intellectual than most books with a minotaur on the cover. For some reason the style puts me in mind of classic 20th century Russian literature. You want a clear and advancing plot with definite goals? You're not getting it. You want likeable characters? Nope, not really.
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing

One could be forgiven completely for not knowing what to expect from Unwrapped Sky )going in. The cover suggests that Minotaur are present, which is true but gives no clues as to the greater substance. The back cover hints at dissent within a city, perhaps violence in said city’s future. But what this book is really about is power, pure and simple. Who has it, who wants it, and what people are willing to do with it when they control it.

Things are changing in Caeli-Amur. The three major houses st
Althea Ann
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's always an unexpected pleasure to discover a new author this good.

Davidson starts this tale with a shocking scene, and keeps the energy going all the way through to the end. As I said in my review of the author's short story, 'Nighttime in Caeli-Amur,' Davidson excels at creating characters who roundly deserve to be condemned for their actions - but still capture the reader's empathy, if not sympathy.

Their home, Caeli-Amur, feels like a real place. It's vivid, teeming with dreams, ambition,
Daniel Polansky
A nemesis is someone whose funeral you would attend in a black suit with red hands, mourning quietly and without histrionics, tossing your handful of dirt upon the coffin, offering honest condolences to the bereaved. In that spirit, and with his blessing, I will hereby offer an honest review of Rjurik Davidson's Unwrapped Sky (my second, in fact, though the first was tendered without having actually read the book.) Doing so goes against my own instincts and the code of our shared guild, one of t ...more
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unwrapped Sky follows three different characters all living in a city called Caeli-Amur. Kata is a Philosopher-Assasin and in debt to one of the Houses that makes up the 'governing body' of the corrupt city. Boris Autec is a sub-officiate for one of the houses, raised up from a simple tramsman, and while trying to do the right thing may do an awful lot of bad things. Finally, Maxamillian is part of a rebel group attempting to initiate a revolution among the people against the houses. This story ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of grimdark high/epic fantasy
**NOTE: All quotations are taken from an uncorrected digital galley and are therefore provisional. Quotes will be corrected when the book is released.**

Long ago, so the legends say, a war between the gods ripped the world asunder, poisoning the lands of the northern wastes, sending the ancient city of Caeli-Enas into the depths of the seas, twisting the art of thaumaturgy so that it warps the body and mind of its practitioners, fracturing the veil between this world and the horrors that wait on
Rjurik Davidson
Nov 17, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
This review is mainly to point people towards some online pieces relating to Unwrapped Sky that people might find interesting.

First, if you want to read an excerpt:

Then the non-fiction, most importantly, finding Unwrapped Sky:

A co-interview with Ben Peek:

Other interviews:

Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Unwrapped Sky tells the tale of the city of Caeli-Amur and it inhabitants. The Houses who rule Caeli-Amur have guarded their power jealously. But in the bowels of the city a group of seditionists are plotting to take control and overthrow the Houses. As events unfold and spiral out of control, and violence and terror erupt, only one thing is for certain... the city of Caeli-Amur will change forever.

Review -

Where do I begin... perhaps with an opening statement?

I LOVE this book!

Seriously... it w
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm a harsh rater and this is a 3.5 but I rounded it up to 4 because it deserves more than the average rating here. I've seen many comparisons to Mielville and I can understand that, this a solidly built up fantastical world that is beautiful but also very grimy. And while many don't love China's lush and love of language and words, I do. I dreamed China's Bas-Long, and it was fully alive in my imagination as I read. With Unwrapped Sky, there were only a few of these internal images and they wer ...more
Unwrapped Sky is one of those books that just worked for me on almost every level. Some readers might shy away from it, as this book does have quite a lot of layers and things to unpeel as you go, but for the most part, speculative fiction fans should add this to their to-be-read pile. Unwrapped Sky is stunningly written, and the world is so lush, vibrant and full of nuances and detail that it absolutely enchanted me. The characters are easy to like, and their stories are interesting. And minota ...more
Writing 5/5
Imagination 5/5
Plot 5/5
Setting 5/5
Characters 5/5

My Overall Enjoyment 5/5

This is an ARC from Netgalley. This book comes out April 15.

Stunningly beautiful and original, a mix of steampunk and ancient mythology with a blend of action and suspense, this is a readers book. The descriptions of the city Caeli-Amur and its technology were astounding; it was so easy to imagine the trains, steamers, machines, moving about this world. The opening scene at the Festival of the Bull, which introduc
A good friend recommended Rjurik Davidson's Unwrapped Sky to me. When I asked him what it was about, he told me he couldn't and just instead summarized what he read. After having finished it, I can see what he meant. I am still racking my mind on how I could summarize Unwrapped Sky and go into my review. Here's the old college try!

Caeli-Amur is a city that is ruled by three Houses: Technis, Arbor, and Marin. These Houses have secrets about how to better wield and recover from the effects of Thau
Feb 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Well, that was disappointing.

I wish I remembered who or where I received a recommendation for this book. Because I'd like to severely downgrade them as a source of information.

First off: this book may be better than I think: I did not finish it. I only read the first ten chapters (of 51). So perhaps its faults were corrected and it went on to become awesome. It's possible!

But those ten chapters had me groaning with exasperation. This is one of the most graceless books I've read in awhile.

The aut
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book started off very strong, and then it just went down hill up to the very end.
The overall premise and the world are quite interesting, and I think that that is what drew me into the book, but it somehow failed to deliver on its promise of awesomeness. The writing was lyrical, but at the same time very dry, and the lengthily descriptions started to really bug me after a while.
The character building was practically non existent, no one had a distinct voice, and I can't honestly remember e
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
originally posted at:

Another author that is taking a step to the stage this year with a cracking debut is Rjurik Davidson and his Unwrapped Sky. Rjurik Davidson was the winner of the Ditmar Award as Best New Talent and has also won the Aurealis Award for his short fiction. He works as an columnist and film and literary critic. I learned late last year about Unwrapped Sky and it made it directly onto my to read list. I had read several genre bending and br
Caleb Hill
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
“One doesn’t attract support before fighting, one fights to attract support. It’s a way of showing that things cannot continue as usual, of showing that resistance is possible.”

The newest addition to the Science-Fantasy subgenre, Weird, is Rjurik Davidson. His novel, Unwrapped Sky, is one of those rare stories that manages to blur the lines between technology and magic, characterization and plot, and what is truly black or white. There’s beautiful imagination tucked in every page, and soon world
Katie Burton
Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I've read some of Davidson's short stories and quite enjoyed them. I think he's an intelligent writer with a social conscience and I was looking forward to Unwrapped Sky when I heard it was coming out. Added to that is there seems to some amazing talent coming out of the antipodes, with Mark T. Barnes and Rjurik Davidson at the forefront of what may be a reverse literary colonisation of the rest of the fantasy world. :) If these two are any indication, Australia is the place to watch for emergin ...more
Jon Chaisson
Sep 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
Lord knows I wanted to finish this book. I got about halfway and didn't finish, as I just couldn't find a reason to do so.

I felt it was trying too hard to be high literature while still being genre. The prose is wonderful, but EXTREMELY verbose. I found myself skipping pages of text because it took that long for the character to enter a palace, or walk down the street, or do any other mundane thing. That was my big issue--the action was short and crisp (when there was action), but the inbetween
Seregil of Rhiminee
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Unwrapped Sky is Rjurik Davidson's debut novel. It's an impressive, satisfyingly complex and beautifully written new weirdish fantasy novel that invites comparison with China Miéville's Bas-Lag novels and Anthony Huso's new weird duology (The Last Page and Black Bottle).

Unwrapped Sky is a stunningly original, ambitious and unique combination of fantasy, dark fantasy and steampunk elements. This debut novel casts a long shadow and many new fantasy novels fall
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. In no way was I compensated for my review.

Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson is my first read in the New Weird genre, and I don’t think it will be my last. New Weird is a literary genre that started in the 1990’s. If you’re like me and had no idea what that means, here’s a definition of New Weird by two of its writers Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, that appears in their work The New Weird:

"A type of urban,
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of High Fantasy, Magic, Steampunk and Unique Worlds
Shelves: arc
Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating: 4 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Me

Unwrapped Sky is an ambitions fantasy novel with a breathtakingly vast world tangled in a web of deceit, betrayal, and revolution. Set in a unique semi-steampunk fantasy universe, the ancient city of Caeli-Amur is under attack by the threats of war and change. Ruled by three separate Houses, the citizens who battle harsh working conditions, life on the streets, technology gone awry and re
Andreea Pausan
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
In a world where Houses rule, each dedicated to a specific field, individuals are forced to either belong or die. The punishment is death. However, traces of the gods and their mysterious machines lie everywhere. There is unrest and a young thaumaturge braves the deep sea to arrive at the hidden city and unlock the power of the ancients. The main characters are loners, each battling internal demons, each doing their best to survive in an unforgiving world.
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia, fiction, sf
It was difficult to decide between four and five stars for this one (half stars, please Goodreads!). I went with five stars because at the end of the year, I use my five star ratings to look back on the wonderful reading experiences, the ones that engage brain and heart and change you a little - and there's no question Unwrapped Sky is on that list.

This book is crazy ambitious for a first novel. It's to our benefit Davidson is good enough to pull it off.

The book is worth reading for the imaginat
Isa Lavinia

ARC provided by Tor Books through Netgalley

Caeli-Amur, an ancient city, a relic of a golden age long since past where pieces of broken technology are trinkets that adorn cramped houses.

It's a place where minotaurs exist alongside philosopher-assassins, a place abandoned by the gods and left broken. Its sister city, Caeli-Enas sunk deep within the ocean and can be seen glimmering beneath the waves, its streets of white marble inhabited by monstrous serpents. A place ruled by three Houses
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is a difficult book to get a feel for. It's set in a sort of classic Greek/Roman type of city, but there are also trams, vacuum based document carriers, and other technological advances. New Weird probably describes it best.

Probably the best part of the book is the city, Caeli-Amur. Davidson invests the city with a life and character all its own. It's got grimy slums where street kids will try to sell yo
S.B. Wright
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s hard to categorise Davidson’s Unwrapped Sky in more than a general sense (as Fantasy) and this is a good thing.

It’s vivid and evocative descriptions belie the origins of a world that began in the realm of short stories (several of Davidson’s earlier published short works are set in this world) where your words must do much heavier lifting. Consequently Unwrapped Sky feels very richly realised to me, dirty, gritty, tangible. In places this might slow the ride a little but when Davidson is d
Anna Spark
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In places, this book is sublime.

First the negatives: I found the weird fiction elements slightly overdone, giving rise to the sensation Davidson had rather thrown the kitchen sink at the novel intellectually. There seemed to be a lot of tropes in there, fighting for space, when maybe fewer explored in greater detail would have been more persuasive as a weird but convincing cityscape. But then, I read and write an awful lot of weird cityscapes.... I also felt the prose slightly forced in places,
Feb 22, 2014 added it
Shelves: review-copy, dnf
Here's another review book I couldn't finish. It suffered from many of the same symptoms as "The Waking Engine" by David Eddison did, but Rjurik Davidson did give his characters a bit more room to come to life.
While Eddison simply seemed to have added characters in order to show off his fancy world building, Davidson shifts perspective to keep things moving. However, every single chapter starts with a few pages of boring exposition, there is little dialogue and not nearly enough world building s
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Best book of 2014 so far this year. And it's been a pretty damn good year.
If there is justice in the world, this will sell millions of copies and win every award.
Cinzia DuBois
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is technically 3.5 stars rather than 4 in my opinion however I gave it 4 stars as it seemed to do a degree of injustice to the book to rate it at a mere 3 star.
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