High above the sea, floats the pristine city of the Heliana. Home to winged-lion shapeshifters―the Leonodai―and protected from the world of humans by an elite group of warriors, the Heliana has only known peace.
After years of brutal training, seventeen-year-old Rowan is ready to prove her loyalty to the city and her people to become one of the Leonodai warriors. But before Rowan can take the oath, a deadly disease strikes the city’s children. Soon the warriors―including two of Rowan’s closest friends―are sent on a dangerous mission to find a fabled panacea deep within enemy lands.
Left behind, Rowan learns a devastating truth that could compromise the mission and the fate of the Heliana itself. She must make a decision: stay with the city and become a warrior like she always dreamed, or risk her future in an attempt to save everyone she loves. Whatever Rowan decides, she has to do it fast, because time is running out, and peace can only last so long...
this was fun! i always love a good standalone, so i am surprised that i think this could have been even better as a series.
i was enjoying myself so much that i just wanted more in general, but the story also has a lot of room for expansion. so another book could do wonders in terms of world-building, character development, and pacing.
the only 'problems' i had were due to a misleading synopsis, causing my pre-reading expectations to not align with the actual story. 'men' in the synopsis refers to the human race, not males (i thought this was a feminist story - its not). also, theres a love triangle, which i found to be very unnecessary and underwhelming.
but overall, this is a fun, quick adventure story with a unique world and magic system any fans of the YA fantasy genre will for sure enjoy.
thanks so much to macmillan-tor/forge for the ARC!!
4/18/21: New copy is live!! Thank you everyone for your patience. We really took the time to get the description right and I'm so happy with where it landed. A few other notes: 1. follow spricewrites@ on IG and Twitter for my pre-order campaign coming early June 2. CWs for THE ENDLESS SKIES are available on my site https://spricewrites.com/the-endless-.... Please share with others as needed! There are no explicit romance scenes in the book. 3. Again, I won't be on GR much because it's not for authors but thank you for the love and support for the book of my heart!
2/15/21: Note from author: Jumping on here to quickly say that new market copy (aka the book's description) is on the way. I had some confusion with my last book because copy didn't match the final work after all the revisions, so I want to be up front this time that a new version is imminent. I'll hop back on here when the updated version is live. Otherwise, I will not be on GR much as it's for readers, not authors.
THE ENDLESS SKIES is my oldest story, and thus my oldest characters. I have loved their adventure for over 8 years. I cannot wait for you to read it yourself. Follow @spricewrites on Twitter and IG for updates, giveaways, and pre-order gifts!
The Endless Skies is a standalone YA fantasy with an interesting premise. The main characters, all Leonodai, a race of shifters who can transform into winged lions, are desperate to find the cure for a deadly disease that’s claiming the lives of their people, especially the children. The only place where they know of a cure is with their enemies, the humans.
The world-building was also interesting, and the magic system was unique, which I appreciated. I love the idea of the floating city and the shapeshifters who inhabit it. The imagery was also strong and painted a vivid picture. However, it felt a bit like an info dump at the beginning with a lot of explanation and detail given at once. You learn so much about the setting, the history of the world, the magic system, the politics, relationships with others, and more. This made the beginning of the story feel much slower-paced than the rest of the book. However, once the story picked up, it was more interesting and had better pacing.
The story is told from three different points of view. Rowan is a warrior. Shirene is Rowan’s sister, and she sits on the council and acts as the King’s Voice, and Callen is Rowan’s best friend, who also has a crush on her. This provides a variety of perspectives on the story. However, some of the characters felt a bit one-dimensional to me. Rowan is a fierce and brave warrior, and I enjoyed her story. I wish the book remained focused on her because her journey was the most compelling. Callen and Shirene were interesting enough, but their perspectives took away from the real story, which was Rowan’s. I also didn’t love the love triangle and felt it was an unnecessary addition to the story. It didn’t enhance the character development or plot in any way, and it felt forced.
The story has a ton of action and some thought-provoking messages, which I did enjoy. It examines how far people are willing to go to help others. It also has interesting messages about duty, self-sacrifice, and staying true to one’s morals and beliefs. There’s also an unexpected plot twist that surprised me. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it was definitely surprising.
Overall, this was an ok read for me. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. I did like the sense of adventure, the quest-like action, and the messages and think that readers who like YA fantasy with unique worlds and a love triangle might enjoy this read. Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and Tor Teen for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Book – The Endless Skies Author – Shannon Price Series – Standalone Cliffhanger? - No Publication Date – August 17, 2021 Genre – YA Fantasy Rating – 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars
Complimentary copy generously provided by Tor Teen through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts - Story
This was amazing!! And even better yet, I don't have wait months for the next book in the series. This was all wrapped up in one perfect package.
The world building and character development was spot on --- even so much so that I felt myself being transported into Rowan's life and appreciating everything she saw and experienced.
Yes, there is a bit of romance to wrap up all a YA Fantasy should contain (even though it is a triangle)...and shape shifters, 4 different kinds in which Rowan is able to transform into a flying lioness...and they are fighting against humans who live on the earth below them.
So much action and anticipation on what is going to happen next!
Reason for Reading – NetGalley Review Story – 5 out of 5 Stars Steam – 4 out of 5 Stars Angst – 4 out of 5 Stars Writing – 5 out of 5 Stars Content Flow – 4 out of 5 Stars Would Read More from Author? Yes Recommend To – Lovers of YA Fantasy with a bit of romance
The Endless Skies was a good read which was set in a beautifully spell-binding world. This world has shapeshifters living on a floating island, Heliana, after their ancestors used all their magic in keeping the island afloat in the war against humans. The story is told from three different point of view, the King of Heliana's sentinel, Shirene, her younger sister, Rowan who is a warrior elect, and Callen, her childhood best friend who is a year older than her and is a warrior.
The idea of shapeshifters turning into winged lions was my most favorite part. I liked this as it is something different from pirates and sirens that I read about so frequently.
Among the characters, I enjoyed Rowan's perspectives the most but at times even she felt boring to me (especially when she was talking about her love life). Shirene's role is still not very clear to me. I get that she was the King's voice in the desperate times but why did the other sentinel, the King, and the Queen at the end, favor her? What qualities of her intrigued them? We didn't even know about her training or achievements much to form a strong opinion. In the case of Rowan, we get to see her journey of becoming a true warrior in the face of adversity. We get to know about her desire to fight for her people and that's why understanding her was quite easier than the other characters. This brings me to the point that ruined this book for me.
The love triangle. Yup. And let me tell you something (unpopular secret opinion) I do enjoy a good love triangle most of the time. But the one in The Endless Skies was random and unnecessary (one of them literally proposes at the beginning, when we don't even know of any strong moments between the characters yet to understand the depth of their relationship. We are just told that they are best buds *sigh*). Also, neither did the love triangle add anything significant to the plot nor did it make the characters stand out in any way. Instead, in my opinion, it was kind of a waste of time, wherein all of that could have been used to focus on developing the magic system (which is still unclear btw). This is coming from someone who does love a good romance in fantasy books.
The plot was quite immersive though, I found myself enjoying the story. The action-packed sequences, adventures in enemy land, and ancestral stories were captivating. The focus should have been more on this and on forming good character arcs and relationships. I like a lot of ideas in this book but the execution could have been better.
Final thoughts: You can pick this up for a read if you need a unique magical world to get lost into with an action-packed plot!
This is the perfect example of a book that could have been so much better if the author didn't rush trough the last 100 pages. Everything important in the book is compressed in a few chapters and you don't really have time to comprehend that you are already finishing it.
-Rowan. What an annoying, almost useless character. Did I mention she is the main character who is supposed to save the kingdom? -Callen. Better shut up or I'll just insult him. -Ox. If only he had more space. -And lastly: Shirene. Literally the only character I cared about, the one with potential, but so wasted.
This book is badly organized. The style is good and the world building is interesting.
--> Read this if you are looking for a fast read, with no attachment to the characters and a plot that just combust at half the book.
This book was... disappointing. When I first read the synopsis, I was intrigued by the world and premise, but the actual narrative is handled rather poorly. The author uses a lot of tired YA tropes that I've seen a million times, and doesn't really do anything to put her own spin on them. This was yet another unfortunate case of a YA fantasy novel having a fantastic setup with poor execution. I can perhaps blame the fact that I read way too much YA for this, and have seen pretty much everything at this point. That being said, this book really didn't do much for me, and could've used a lot more fleshing out before being published.
The Endless Skies follows the story of three characters, each citizens of a magical city known as Heliana. Unlike regular humans, the denizens of this city are winged-lion shapeshifters known as Leonodai. Rowan is only one day away from being sworn in as a warrior - something she has trained for her entire life - when a deadly illness strikes Heliana's children. Though there is a cure to this illness, it resides in the human lands where Leonodai are far from welcome. Because of this, small groups of warriors are sent on a mission to retrieve the cure, including Rowan's childhood best friend Callen. Meanwhile, Rowan's sister Shirene has been tasked with a very important duty as the "King's Voice," allowing her intimate access to Heliana's royal family. The sisters soon learn, however, that not everything is as it seems, and it will take a great act of courage and rebellion to set things right and save the city's children.
As I said before, the premise of this book is really cool. I loved the idea of a floating city full of winged-lion shapeshifters, and I also loved the initial setup of a mysterious illness and a potential war with humans. I was immediately turned off by the simplistic writing style, however, as well as how insanely generic the narrative was. The story follows Rowan, Callen, and Shirene, alternating between three points of view. This already felt a little sloppy, and I think the narrative would have been a lot stronger if the author had stuck to one character. Almost immediately, the reader is introduced to a very stereotypical love triangle, with Rowan being forced to choose between her childhood friend Callen and her new crush Ox. While I don't abjectly hate love triangles on principle, they need to be done interestingly for me to get invested. This was a very generic love triangle, and I didn't really care enough about any of these characters to be invested in who Rowan would end up with.
In addition to the eyeroll-worthy romance, I also thought Shirene's potential was wasted in this book. Shirene is introduced as a fully established character from the beginning; she has a dedicated partner named Seth and an incredibly important position within her society. The novel even begins from her point of view, immediately making the reader think that this story will focus on her in some way. Instead, the real protagonist is Rowan, who we meet a chapter later and follow through most of the story. While the love triangle is bland and predictable, the plot of this book would have been a lot cleaner if the author had chosen to focus only on Rowan's story.
Shirene's role in the narrative doesn't really go anywhere as the story progresses. She learns that the Sentinels have been lied to about the source of their information and the conflict with the humans, but chooses to follow her duties anyways without dissent. She has no real character arc, and is unceremoniously killed at the end for no reason. The saddest thing about her death is I didn't even care as the reader, as I'd never been given a reason to emotionally connect to her. Because of this, I think the story would have been stronger if it had focused solely on Rowan and her discovery of the deception, as Rowan actively chooses to ignore her orders and do something about the information she has learned. Even the relationship between the sisters is under-developed, with just one scene where they interact. The author tries to establish background between the two, but it's so rushed and under-developed that it falls flat.
Speaking of under-developed, a lot of this plot fell flat to me. Everything feels rushed, as if the author was ticking off necessary plot points to get to the end. While the stakes of this mission are high, the reader is never given the time or reason to care about characters before they are killed, and the author does a lot of "telling" instead of "showing." Instead of showing us how much the characters care about one another, we are simply told that they do and expected to feel this unestablished bond. Not one of the losses in this book stuck with me, as none of the characters were established enough for me to care about them.
Similarly, plot points are introduced and resolved quickly, and there are many scenes that could have been cut to make room for more time spent on other plot points. For example, Rowan is betrayed by a Leonodai woman attempting to protect her half-Leonodai daughter from the humans, but we never see what happens to her or get any kind of resolution outside of a quick mention at the very end. This is time that could have been devoted to fleshing out the love triangle or following Shirene's story, but instead adds unnecessary conflict to a plot that already had a clear and established conflict to begin with. In addition, every character makes a huge deal about the prince, knowing that his death will result in the total collapse of their society. He dies near the very end, however, and the Leonodai magic remains. This is never explained, and the book ends far too abruptly for loose ends like this to be tied up.
If I were to rewrite this book, I would focus solely on Rowan's story and relegate Shirene to the sidelines. Shirene would exist as a narrative foil to Rowan; disciplined and unwilling to bend rules to do what is right. Rowan would perhaps be jealous of her sister's apparent perfection, and be outraged to learn that the Sentinels (including Shirene) have been lying to everyone about a multitude of things. I would have cut out the love triangle entirely and had Rowan grappling with her new-found feelings for her childhood friend, and had her slowly realize how important he was to her as she broke the rules to follow him on his mission.
Here, I would have made sure readers had a chance to get to know each of the characters on the mission through quiet scenes spent with them before immediately killing anyone off, adding more weight to their eventual deaths. The rest of the narrative could remain unchanged, but I would spend a lot more time establishing this world and these characters soo that the reader would be invested in the very high stakes of the mission. I would likely also have cut the other shape-shifting societies out of the narrative entirely, as they really don't serve a purpose outside of adding unnecessary world-building to a standalone novel. If this had been a planned series, it would make absolute sense to introduce the horse people, bear people, and merfolk, but as it stands they are given almost nothing to do within the confines of this Leonodai-focused narrative.
As always, I really hate tearing apart a piece of art that someone has poured their blood, sweat, and tears into, but there were honestly just too many problems with this book for me to be invested. While the premise is really interesting, the writing and characters are just painfully bland, and it feels as if the narrative has no real structure. The plot meanders along, resolving quickly and without really earning the "happy ending." Characters are introduced and killed off with little warning, never giving the reader enough time to care about any of them. The hardest part about reading this book is that I really wanted to like it, but I've read so much fantasy at this point that I've seen every single aspect of this book done better elsewhere.
Unfortunately, I don't think I'd recommend this book to anyone, as there is SO MUCH good fantasy out there that this book would honestly just be a waste of reading time and shelf space. I wish the author the best of luck in the future, and hope she continues to hone her skills and improve with every work she writes. I might not have enjoyed this book, but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy her next work! Until then, I will be very happy to leave this particular work of fantasy far behind me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
THE ENDLESS SKIES is such a fun, action-packed adventure that kindled my nostalgia for one of my favorite childhood movies, Balto. This is everything I want out of a quest book, complete with a fierce heroine, lovable LIs (plus a fantastic love triangle), and WINGED! LION! SHIFTERS!
Oh and THAT ENDING. Still not over it. Will never be over it.
I enjoyed The Endless Skies quite a bit. There’s action, adventure, a splash of romance and so much more. I thought the world building was awesome. It was unique and intriguing. This was my first book by this author and I definitely recommend it. I’d read more of this author’s work.
The Endless Skies follows warrior-elect Rowan who has trained to become a warrior her entire life. When Rowan is finally able to become the warrior she has always dreamed to be, tragedy strikes her kingdom: children are mysteriously falling ill, and warriors must search for the cure.
The Endless Skies is fun and engaging. However, it also feels very lackluster and forgettable. I feel as if this story would be more memorable if the world building was more intricate and important to the story. While the kingdom's history is explored, it never feels extremely urgent for the plot. Additionally, while the book does not stray away from death, a lot of character deaths have no repercussions and are seemingly more for shock value.
I also did not care for the multiple perspectives of this book or the love triangle. The chosen perspectives feel extremely odd- we follow Rowan, her sister, and one of Rowan's love interests. It feels like a cheap plot device to have Rowan's sister be the eyes of the kingdom while the others are on a quest for the cure outside of the kingdom's walls. It also makes it extremely obvious who "wins" the love triangle by adding a third perspective, even though there was no real reason for there to be a love triangle. I wished the book focused more on the emotional repercussions of the children falling ill instead of choosing between two boring men.
Lastly, the synopsis of this book feels extremely misleading. While yes, the synopsis is what the book is about, it really does not tackle the scope of the book as it mostly focuses on elements *not* included in the summary. Overall, I would not really recommend this book. This is extremely disheartening for me to say as I was really intrigued when I read the synopsis for The Endless Skies, but the story falls completely flat. It is definitely readable and I did enjoy parts of it, however it feels overly simplistic and I wanted the author to explore deeper in to the story's world and plot.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eArc to review.
A big thanks to Macmillan- Tor/ Forge, NetGalley, and of course Shannon Price for having sent me an eARC of this book. I am voluntarily leaving a review, all opinions are my own.
I enjoyed this book even more than I thought I would. There's something satisfying with a standalone fantasy where things actually get wrapped up at the end and you aren't left with a cliffhanger.
I wanted more detail though, a little more here and there would've helped flesh it out more in a few parts, I feel like there's still more we could have learned.
Rowan was a great MC, though at times I had a hard time connecting with her, but I know a lot of that was just who she was- she's determined, stubborn, and a warrior at heart. She's spent a big chunk of her life training to be a warrior to protect the city.
The worldbuilding was great and I did like seeing this world get fleshed out, though because of the nature of the world, it definitely leaves some room to do more in this world, even if it's not these same characters.
Overall, this was a great YA fantasy that managed to wrap things up quite nicely.
So confusing! Trying to keep straight the different "peoples" and alliances, not to mention the whole floating city thing was just too much. A little more worldbuilding and explanation would have helped. DNF at 25%.
If you are looking for a unique fantasy novel, then check out The Endless Skies by Shannon Price. The Endless Skies invites readers into a world where shapeshifting warriors who live on a city that floats in the sky and a community of shapeshifting magical beings protect themselves from the humans who seek to destroy all they know.
You might assume Endless Skies is all about Rowan from the book’s synopsis, but Endless Skies is actually written from three characters’ perspectives. Rowan is a narrator and she is joined by her sister and her best friend. Rowan is a warrior-elect. She has completed years of rigorous training and is about to be sworn in by the king to become an official warrior. Shirene is Rowan’s older sister. She is a sentinel and has just been named as the King’s Hand - a prestigious position of respect and authority. Rowan’s friend Callen is a warrior. He has long hidden his true feelings about Rowan from her, but now he fears it might be too late. On the eve of Rowan’s warrior oath-taking ceremony, the warriors learn of a deadly disease that is targeting the children of Heliana. Teams of warriors are called and sent down to the human world to look for a cure before the prince falls ill, which could be the literal downfall of Heliana. Left behind by her friend and sister, Rowan learns there is far more at stake than what the citizens are being told about the disease and the long-held feud between the Leonodai and humans.
There is a very unique world in The Endless Skies and yet with so much action and so much going on in the book, I feel like I only saw snippets. There are four magical shapeshifting communities, the Leonodai being our main focus in this book. There was also a fifth, but they were wiped out by humans. Rowan is an Leonodai and can change from female human form to a winged lioness. Cool magic enables her weapons and armour to change with her. Her community values loyalty over all and Rowan, Shirene and Callen have committed themselves to serving their city and their king. Their city, Heliana floats above the ocean, protected from the human’s reach and they in turn protect the other shapeshifting communities. While the Leonodai fight with blades, arrows and axes, the humans fight with guns, bullets and late, planes and battleships, which gives a unique mix of modern (or at least the 20th century, the human world has a very WW1 timeline feeling to it) and ancient warfare and a great mix between reality and magic, that we don’t often see in fantasy novels.
Along with the quest into the human world for the cure to the illness, there is a love triangle element to the book. Rowan is currently dating a warrior called Ox. They are just beginning the courtship and it’s a bit of a secret. When Callen learns of their relationship, he decides it is time to be honest with Rowan about his feelings for her. This greatly confuses Rowan, as she once had feelings for Callen but thought he didn’t like her as more than a friend. Then, Callen, Ox and their warrior team are sent to look for the cure, and Rowan is left behind. When she does some sleuthing, she discovers their is more to the story than the sentinels have been sharing. This brings in themes of loyalty above all, truth, and the power of those who old the traditional and knowledge of a community. Rowan must decide if she will remain loyal in the ways she has been taught or if the knowledge she now holds should be shared to help save those she loves.
My one big negative in this book was the treatment of animals. There is a Roman Gladiator style battle against animals and there are plenty of details about how the animals are fought, injured and killed. While I know this is set up to show just how bad the “bad guys” are (who are human and so this is very human like, as history sadly shows us) and to demonstrate how brave, strong and yet nice the good characters are, it was a bit too much for me. I didn’t need all those details and found that I needed to skip those parts as the harm to the animals was described in detail.
The Endless Skies is a unique fantasy novel and once that could easily be read as a standalone novel.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
This book… WOAH! Going in I truly had no idea what to expect and I was taken completely by surprise!
The Endless Skies is a stunningly unique tale full of adventure, magic, and wonder! I was drawn in right from page one. We follow Rowan, a warrior-elect, trained for battle with the ability to shift into a winged lion. (Like what?! How cool right!) She hails from the amazing floating city of Heliana. Ya guys, floating. *cue magic heart eyes.
Heliana, holds a tumultuous past with the humans located on the mainland and when Rowan discovers a disease that is laying waste to the local children, she must decide between two fates: stay and protect the city and monarchs she swore to defend, or abandon her station, be labeled a deserter and leave her city to search the human lands for the only known cure.
The humans are said to be deadly, untrustworthy and she will be starting this journey on her own. With a warrior motto like Loyalty above all… what will she decide?
Shannon Price knocked the world building and character descriptions out of the park! The magic system was creative and unlike anything I have come across in other YA books. It felt palpable and with every high and every low I was right there alongside these characters. To me, that is true talent. I also really loved that this story is told in multiple POV’s.
I was completely enthralled up until about the 70% mark where we begin to encounter some decisions plot-wise that I didn’t entirely agree with. I still think overall, Shannon Price did an amazing job.
I would have loved for the surrounding cities and characters to have been a bit more fleshed out. I mean, we are talking about mermaids and people that can turn into bears! Tell me more please! I also tend to always be looking for romantic relationships (in YA) to have solid foundations and I felt these were a little lacking - be warned for all my love triangle despisers, this does have one.
If you are in the mood for descriptive battles, unexpected betrayals, endless adventure, found love, broken hearts, so much turmoil but also, HOPE, then I would definitely recommend this book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review and a huge shout out to the design team at Tor for literally nailing this cover design! It is absolutely stunning.
This book was a lot of fun to read, and I felt like I was defiantly taken on a journey with all of the characters. I really enjoyed stand alones, and I was very impressed by the author and how she still was able to write well rounded main characters in such a short amount of time, especially with how expansive the plot was already. I would have still loved to see this as a series. The world was so interesting and I would have loved to see more of the side characters progress as well as some of the romances between the main characters. But overall for a stand alone this was an incredible story!
Rowan was a great main character, and I feel as though the author did a great job at letting the reader see her consider every choice from all angles so we were really able to understand her. Often main protagonists can be a little bit annoying at times, however Rowan was one of my favourite characters in this series!
I felt like the plot was very unique, and in fantasy these days I do find that to be rare. A society of shapeshifters? That was just so cool in itself. So if you are sick of fantasies that all follow a very similar idea I totally recommend trying this book out so that you can get something different!
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All of my thoughts and opinions are my own.
This book was a blast to read! The plot is original, and the characters are endearing. I adore the characters' shapeshifting abilities, the vivid action-packed scenes, and the stunning storyline twist in the final third of the novel. The first few chapters are for character intros and story settings. The world-building was excellent, with a wonderful description of a floating city, the Heliana, their traditions, and festivals, as well as the other kingdoms of Vyrinterra and their people. The story was narrated from multiple perspectives and was very intriguing to read until the end. Rowan, the main character, is a warrior elect who will go to any length to save her kingdom from a deadly disease.
This is a book you could totally get lost in and forget you're reading.
I really enjoyed this one. The Heliana people sounded like mythological creatures, being able to shape-shift in a winged-lion form, and you know how I love everything with magic in it. I really appreciated this unique turn of warriors going on human land to find a cure, and losing their magic on the way. Having it all your life and then losing it for a greater cause, they really are loyal. And it's beautiful.
Many thanks to TorTeen for the complimentary e-copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Wow I was not expecting this to slap so hard!!! Just read it in one sitting!
I understand some of the criticisms I see in lower rated reviews - I think if you go into this looking for an almost mythology-based story you'll be thrilled, it had the same tone as some Greek mythology retellings.
It didn't really read very YA to me except for the love triangle - and even that I felt was mature and well-done.
Can't wait to see what else this author comes out with!
A huge thanks to Tor Teen and Edelweiss for the e-galley
This book with the amazing cover ( doesn't it remind you of Sky in the Deep?) is about a city dealing with a plague that is killing Leonodai-lion shape-shifters. The three POV's focus on a warrior-elect named Rowan, her best friend, Callen, and Rowan's sister, Shirene. The best part is, their floating city is also in danger, and if they don't find the cure soon, their entire civilization will be lost.
It pains me to say that I almost didn't finish the book before it began to pick up speed. I was most invested in Shirene and her life, but she turned out to be a throwaway POV to me. We focus mainly on Callen and Rowan. But my first gripe was what sort of world was I in? I know there are other animal shifters, but there are also humans and guns. Now, I'm all for cross-over fantast like this (I'm writing one myself!), but there was no explanation on how the magic works, its limits, and what their true place is in the world next to humans. I also would have loved to see the characters in their lion forms a whole lot more since that was the main plot point that got me requesting this book. Alas...
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out WHY the love triangle was such a huge aspect of the storyline. I'm a trash human and I love triangles, but it didn't seem organic. There was too much focus on it despite the time crunch they were on to save their people. Callen came off sort of toxic when Rowan initially turns him down. Ox, the other love interest, was sort of...there. He didn't add much to the mix other than loving Rowan, but he didn't really fight for her, so how much could he have loved her? I did like that Rowan had laser focus at the beginning and didn't know who she wanted and she even made a point of thinking, now's not the time, b*&ch, but she forgot all that later on.
I wanted more Shirene. She could have been a complex character in the whole thing, but her part in the story fizzled. I know I'm asking a lot from an author who has word count limits and deadlines, but I'm stubborn. SHIIIIIIIREEEEEEENE!!!!
I'm sure a lot of people will love this story, but it wasn't my favorite. :/
I liked the writing, and the world-building could have used more explanation, but overall, the plot moved at a decent pace, save for the beginning.
Thank you NetGalley and Tor Teen for providing a free digital ARC for an honest review.
The second I saw this cover, I knew I wanted to read this book. The synopsis intrigued me and I was excited to delve into this story and learn about this world. Rowan seemed like a character I could love and relate to. I think this is a decent book, but may not have been for me. I can see other readers liking this one though.
I usually like multiple perspectives in books but I didn't really see the point of them in this one. I felt like the other perspectives took away from Rowan's story and led me to not be able to connect to any of the characters. I felt like we could have gone deeper into who the characters were, but we barely scratched the surface. I am a reader who likes more character based stories so not being able to connect to the characters really hindered the story for me.
I also felt like this book could have been longer. Since this was so short, there was a lot of world building in the beginning that was hard to follow. I was confused on the different beings and how they fit and we weren't able to see more about them later in the story due to the plot that was being followed. I would have liked to stay in some of the scenes longer, I felt like as soon as something started, it ended quickly afterwards. I had a hard time picturing the scenes in my head, I think I needed more details to help set the scene.
I wanted to like this story more and I feel like it had so much potential. I do think if we were able to go deeper into the characters and the plot I would have been captivated. I didn't hate the book, but I wasn't really into it, which is unfortunate.
The last death also really irritated me. I understand some characters have to die and I accept that. This death felt so unnecessary as it didn't really have a purpose. The book ended a few pages later and the death really changed nothing in the story so I really didn't understand the purpose of it.
I really enjoyed this book! It was a super refreshing read, and I almost wish it had been a bit longer.
I loved the magic system in this. It wasn't like anything I'd read before, which was super fun. I also really liked how it was explored throughout the book. There were never any info dumps, but our knowledge of the magic grew the entire time.
Now, I already know people are going to complain about the love triangle. I get it, I don't like them either. The one in this didn't bother me though. I think that was because it was never obvious who Rowan would end up with, so the triangle didn't feel completely unnecessary.
I also really liked the little pieces of worldbuilding we were given. Tiny things, like the way our warriors wore their hair, and how their armor was forged. No matter how small, these details drew me in to the book, and had me captivated.
My one problem with this would have to be the amount of perspectives. I enjoyed all of them, but I feel like one of them could've been cut. Especially at the beginning when Rowan and Shirene were in the same city. To me, the amount of perspectives distracted from the story.
This book was a super fun read, with a world I'd love to live in. In almost hoping thay Price returns to the world, because there's so much left unexplored. I'd definitely recommend this!
Thanks to Netgalley and Shannon Price for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for this arc in exchange for an honest review.
The entire premise of the story is very interesting and is very promising. Everything about a group of people called Leonodai who can transform into creatures who can fly.
If you enjoy books with love triangles and a fast-paced mission with a lot of strategy and action, this book could be for you. Personally, I thought it felt really rushed and I didn’t feel very connected to the characters. Part of this could have been because the story was told from three perspectives.
I really enjoyed Rowan and Callen’s perspectives. They were really interesting to me and providing a good balance of romance/emotions and action scenes. However, the other perspective of the sentinel didn’t really click with me. I felt like her perspective did not contribute to the overall story and I just didn’t really care about her as a character.
Also love triangle’s aren’t usually my favorite romantic element unless they are done in a unique way and sadly that wasn’t the case in my opinion.
I always feel really bad saying anything negative about a book I know someone worked really hard on. Overall I loved the concept and I think the writing style was very enjoyable, there just were some elements that didn’t quite work for me.
What a unique, fun adventure! Endless Skies is about people who can transform into flying lions, but when their children get sick with a human disease, a select group of warriors must brave the land of humans to find a cure.
The world building of the fantasy land was lush and vivid. I loved reading about an uncommon fantasy creature instead of the usual ones we see. The ease that the world and everything was executed made this a fast and fun read.
I do wish the human world had been described a little more. I think my biggest problem with that aspect was the modernization of it. I thought this was going to be a high fantasy novel, but the human world is more like ours, so it felt a little jarring when I read about planes and trains and such.
I liked the characters and seeing their relationships develop. Though the romance trope here isn’t my favorite, it was nice.
I think the ending is setting up for a sequel, but I think it would be better as a standalone. Nonetheless, this was a good book and I think fantasy lovers will enjoy it!
(I’ll say one more thing about the cover. It doesn’t really match the feel of the book. I think some art of winged lions maybe even flying over a fantastical city would be better and cooler.)
Thank you to Tor Teen and NetGalley for an e-arc to review!
A unique fantasy! I enjoyed the book, the writing was easy to read (save for the word save used in place of but or except lol just a personal thing I reeeeeally dislike, and the word panacea was used too often imo, she could have swapped in "the cure" a few times, I think).
Other than that the only issue I had with the book is that the story begins with Shirene and there is a girl on the cover who I assumed was Shirene until like chapter 7!! And all this because there were no real descriptions of the characters until that point, so that kind of messed me up for the first quarter of the book. Also, I felt was done and over too quickly, it felt like a blip and considering how important this person is to the story/Rowan, I think it should have felt more important, too.
But all in all, it was a good fantasy that had some unique elements that I think most people would enjoy!! (Also, good job choosing , he was my choice as well lol)
I love this idea. A floating city which is home to shapeshifter warriors. A strange sickness is taking root and harming the children so teams of warriors strike out to the human world to find the cure in the form of a magic flower. And, there is romance.
However, this was not my favorite read. I felt like the romance, which was actually a love triangle, did not feel real to me. It's hard to explain. The relationships did not feel sincere. I could definitely see other readers enjoying this fully though. I just don't think this story was a perfect fit for me.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Endless Skies by Shannon Price is a YA fantasy romance with a lot of potential to be a truly great standalone novel. It came pretty close to great too and it mostly worked for me. I loved the vivid world-building. The floating cities just sound so fantastic, don't they? I also really liked the idea of the inhabitants which are winged-lion shapeshifters. I wasn't as particularly sold with our lead characters, but it's still worth following their journey. In the end, this is a unique YA fantasy that is well worth your time. I know this is a standalone novel, but I wouldn't mind revisiting this world again.
The Endless Skies is a YA fantasy novel with a fascinating and unique plot. It is told from the perspective of three Leondoni people, Rowan, Rowan's sister, Shirene, and Rowan's childhood best friend, Callen. The Leondoni people are shifters that can shift into the form of winged lions. In the novel, a group of the Leondoni are searching for a cure to save their people from the fatal disease that is going around and infecting everyone. They run into a problem when they realize they must search for the cure amongst their enemies, the humans.
I really enjoyed the premise of this book, as I found the concept to be super unique. I think the author did an excellent job with the world building and helping us to understand the magic system. I did find that the idea of this book was a bit better than the execution for me. As I mentioned, the concept is really interesting, but I felt like I didn't really have any connection to the characters by the end of the book. I think that the characters could have had more depth to them because even when you got to the different perspectives I didn't notice much of a difference. I also found at points that there was just a bunch of information being shared, which made it a bit slow. I am aware that this information was important to the story and needed to be shared, but I believe it could have been done in a smoother way, and more spread out to keep the story moving.
I did really enjoy the tropes present in this book, and once the plot picked up I found it to be more interesting with all the action going on. I also appreciated that it was relatively easy to understand. The author didn't jump too much from scene to scene, even when the perspective changed. The author was great at not changing the perspective in the middle of an important or complicated scene, which made it a lot smoother and better to read.
Overall, I enjoyed this read enough. I don't know if I'd read it again, but I certainly don't regret reading it, and I'd recommend it if you want an easy fantasy read. A big thanks to NetGalley, Tor Teen, and the author Shannon Price for an E-Arc of this book.
*Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted an electronic copy of this book by Netgalley and Tor Teen in exchange for an honest review.
READ THIS IF YOU LIKE : - shapeshifters -friends to lovers - love triangle
The Endless Skies by Shannon Price is a standalone epic fantasy about shapeshifting warriors living on a floating island above the sea. The city of Heliana is known for its people, the Leonodai, who are protected by winged-lion shapeshifter warriors. The children of Heliana are infected by a deadly disease and the warriors are sent to the human lands to recover a cure; a blazing red flower with six petals. While taking every precaution to protect Prince Tabrol, King Kharo and Queen Laianna's son who is the heir and the future of the city, the prince is soon infected and upon hearing this news, Rowan An'Talla takes it upon herself to help find the cure. Tracking the warriors who have been sent, Rowan finds herself in some life-threatening situations and can't draw upon her shapeshifting skills in the human lands since there is no magic.
The story is told from 3 POVs. Rowan who is our main character is a stubborn but driven warrior-elect waiting to take the oath. Shirene is Rowan's sister, a sentinel and the king's voice. Then my favourite, Callen who is a warrior and Rowan's best friend. We get three sides of one story and we experience the disease and its impact upon the city of Heliana, the mission to find the cure and the attack upon the city by the humans. This attack is born out of revenge and the humans have since improved their technology and battle strategy - they will ruin the city of Heliana.
A lot of worldbuilding and character introductions take place in the first few chapters, this left me a bit overwhelmed and I would have liked a list of characters to refer back to. I read an uncorrected digital proof copy so I'm not sure whether a list of characters is added to the corrected copy. I found the story interesting and I liked the mission to save the city of Heliana, the stakes are high when a kingdom is threatened. Rowan's character developed since leaving the city to help find the cure and we see how she matures. I didn't like Shirene's character, her POV adds to the story but I couldn't get a liking to her. Callen is my favourite, he is a strong character and drives the plot; while loving Rowan, he had to watch from the sidelines how she is affectionate towards another warrior.
I like the motto of the warriors, LOYALTY ABOVE ALL. In this mission to save the kingdom, be it to fight against the humans or to find the cure, we see how Rowan, Shirene, Callen and many other characters keep to this motto. There is a lot of adventure, fighting scenes and even some romance. This romance includes a love triangle. I enjoyed the shapeshifting and the magic of Heliana; there is an unspoken beauty about this floating island and the love the Leonodai have for it.