Tauran Darrica has been retired from the Valreus Sky Guard for four years following the Battle of the Broken Wings that resulted in the death of his dragon. Now, all Tauran wants to do is spend his days forgetting the past and gambling his way to an unsteady income.
So when his old general from the Sky Guard hunts Tauran down to request his help with staving off the increasingly aggressive wild dragon population, Tauran refuses. But a fire ruins his rented room and leaves him without a place to stay, and Tauran finds himself on the road to Valreus, after all.
Tauran is determined to stay as far away from dragons as he can get, but a starry-eyed young man from Sharoani, land of the wild dragons, might just ruin his plans.
Kalai Ro-Ani has spent his life watching the stars, knowing he could never reach them. With his wild dragon Arrow, he sets out for the city of Valreus in the hope of building himself a better future than he could have stuck at the foot of the Kel Visal dragon temples.
But nobody told Kalai that only the Sky Guard is allowed to own dragons, so when Arrow kills a guard in Kalai’s defense, it looks like his adventure might be over before it can begin. But a chance encounter at the old Valreus archive offers Kalai the future he’d been hoping for. In the span of a single day, he has a home, a job, and a purpose.
In Valreus, something much bigger falls into his lap – along with a tall and striking Valrean man with a rather strange disposition.
A new, LGBT+ fantasy story from Zaya Feli, featuring dragons, aerial battles and epic journeys through dangerous wilderness.
5 Hearts!! An impressive fantasy overflowing with dragon love!
For those who know me well, I do not give 5’s easily nor readily. In fact, this is my first for the year. I also don’t tend to like, and truly avoid, long reads but despite this being over 700 pages, I barreled through this with ease.
As per the blurb, Tauran is a self imposed retired soldier of Valreus’s Sky Guard. He and his dragon once kept the city and surrounding realms safe, but a terrible tragedy struck and Tauran chooses to forget by drinking away his sorrows, far from anything and anyone from his past. When his former general tracks him down and pleads for his help in training new dragon rider recruits, Tauran unwillingly returns to a place he swore he never would again. The changes wrought while he’s been gone are many, and the memories both good and bad, hit Tauran hard as he struggles with desperately wanting to run but being unable to do so especially when presented with a rare unhatched dragon egg.
Kalai is a foreigner to Valreus. He’s looking for adventure with his dragon Arrow, and comes from Sharoani, a place known for its dragon temples and masters, a place that’s as elusive as it is secretive, the community there living harmoniously and mysteriously with wild dragons. Kalai’s limited, but still important, knowledge lands him a job as the new archivist and automatic dragon expert for the Sky Guard, tasked to interpret ancient Sharoani texts and assist with the newly found dragon egg, all of which puts him in the direct path of Tauran.
What ensues is a richly painted world divided on how dragons fit into human lives. The dragons are rightly revered and cherished but also extremely sought after for their skills, especially in the Sky Guard. However, there’s conflict brewing across the lands and previously peaceful wild dragons are attacking the city, all indicating toward something very amiss. Tauran and Kalai find themselves smack dab in the middle of disturbing going ons, and when things don’t add up, they must find the answers no matter the danger or cost.
Beware substantial PTSD, lots of hurt comfort, dealing with frustrating disabilities, drug addiction, betrayal, and some gory violence. However, what you’ll also get is a thoroughly plausible, realistic sweet slow burn romance in and amongst the brewings of war and possible annihilation. Feli delivers on dragon legend and lore and fleshes out the divided countries. She also deftly describes the tenuous relationship between human and dragon, where should one be so lucky as to form an unbreakable bond with such a rare creature, their life will be forever altered and affected. Each dragon is endearing in their own unique way, their distinct personalities shining through and brought to vivid life, which only made me cherish every scene they were in, wanting more despite them all featuring so heavily throughout the story.
Point blank. If you love dragons in your stories, then this is an absolute must. Overall, when you have something of this size and magnitude, when it delivers on the romance, the plot, the grand scope of things, when it brings all the wonderful dragon-ness you could ever want, one can’t help but be moved by the struggles of these fantastic beings and the imperfect men who love them. Both Tauran and Kalai draw strength from the other and their dragon counterparts to be so much more than they ever thought possible. It sorta kinda helps things along when your whole belief system is called into question and everyone and everything is in danger, for such challenges either make or break you. Here, Tauran and Kalai obviously come out on top.
So again, I’m happy to say that this is my first 5 star rating for the year because ONE, this never felt like 764 pages and TWO, when I read the last sentence, I was seriously sad that there wasn’t more as it leaves the reader not with a cliffhanger but a desire to know what happens next. I think that pretty much says it all, and I can only hope Feli brings us more of Tauran and Kalai or at least, further tales of this wondrous wonderful world!
Thank you to the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review
Simply put, Wild Sky is my favourite read of the year.
At almost 800 pages in length, this M/M fantasy romance was an undertaking I didn’t think I was prepared for, but one that surprised and delighted once I dived in, managing to hit all of my reading buttons to perfection.
What I knew going in was very little, and I believe this worked to my advantage, as I found myself pleasantly surprised at every turn of the page.
What I did know beforehand was that this story was long (far longer than my average read) and that it featured dragons and dragon riders. I also knew there was an M/M romance component, but that was it… that’s all I knew.
What I discovered, and quickly, was that new-to-me author Zaya Feli is a god-damn FORCE OF NATURE where her immersive world-building and epic storytelling is concerned.
The writing was SO GOOD that I think I told a friend (the one who recommended the story to me) that I was already predicting a 5-star experience after finishing the first chapter (which is the equivalent of 2%), at which point I hadn’t yet been introduced to the larger cast of fantastic characters, human and dragon alike, who would go on to win my undivided attention and adoration soon enough—I simply fell quickly in love with the world within and the exquisite feel of the writing itself.
It’s no shock to anyone that I enjoy a good fantasy read, or that I have this crazy, adoring fangirl-y spot in my heart for stories featuring dragons… and yet, I can say with unrestrained delight that this story now holds a coveted top tier spot where both are concerned. In fact, this may actually be the best dragon themed book I’ve ever read. Yep, I said it, and it's true!
There was also a swoon-worthy, slow-burn romance that unfolded between leads Tauran and Kalai, which I really wasn't prepared for. Every single note of their new friendship and eventual courtship was deliciously paced and played out to perfection, as far as I’m concerned. Was it light on steam? Yes, it was. But that truly didn’t matter because the actual characters, the depth of their love, and the grand life-threatening obstacles they were facing throughout the story arc, were so engrossing that I never once thought, “hey, I wish this had more sex” … which, if you know me, is something I often complain about whenever I feel jibbed in that department, so my reaction here is telling.
As mentioned, the fantasy component was fantastic, the larger plot held me completely enraptured, and the love story between Tauran and Kalai was the stuff of romance legends. And yet, it was these men and the precious bonds they shared with their dragons, Arrow and Leyra, that truly captivated my heart. I always love a human-animal bond in a story, but this one went above and beyond. I’m sure I was often seen just smiling like a dork while reading about the simplest of interactions and antics. And I’m even surer that I also shed a tear (or ten) throughout, as much at the harrowing danger scenes they experienced, as at the happy-contented moments shared between these men and their loyal and lovable dragons.
At the end of the day, I feel a bit annoyed at myself for putting this off for a whole year just because the overwhelming length scared me. I guess the lesson learned here is that intimidating page counts mean absolutely nothing when a story is as absorbing and enchanting as this one was for me.
I’ve honestly come away from this reading experience with a lifetime favourite on my hands, and an excitement and eagerness to discover the rest of Feli’s works, past and future.
4.5 Stars What a beautiful read. Exceptional world building. Wild Sky is an experience. This is definitely one of the best dragon representations I've read so far. They were central and beautifully described. Each with their own experiences and personalities. They come alive. Also, baby dragon!! I think no other incentive is needed to read this other than a seriously adorable feisty baby dragon.
This is definitely paranormal with depth, from dragon to human.
Both mc's have a lot of depth. One struggling to overcome the emotional scars of battle and death. The other bright eyed and hopeful despite a disability that has held him back in life. Kalai breathes life back into Tauran. He gives him back hope, joy, happiness. The romance itself is sweet, tender and a slow burn. A smile here. A touch there. A kiss. More intimacy, comfort and healing than lust-driven. And it works beautifully.
The story itself is definitely enticing and entertaining. The plot is intricate and the villain formidable. I was sad to say goodby to Wild Sky, it's definitely a story I would have loved to continue. There seems to be quite a few unfinished business that hasn't been wrapped up, I hope that means there is the potential for more. *fingers crossed*
Highly recommend to lovers of dragons and all things paranormal. Don't let the page count deter, it's flows so well and there isn't a moment of boredom to be had.
Two broken heroes. Dragons and men. A fight against all odds. A gentle love.
What spoke to me in particular:
.) Amazing and absolutely beautiful world building. While immensely detailed the author never bored me with it. (and that has happened before!) I was sucked into this universe from page one and happy to be there 700 and odd pages later.
.) The dragons:
If you like dragons, then this is for you. The dragons in this book are brilliant creatures – beautiful, bold, strong, breath-taking. We have heard all this before, you might think (and it's true!), but I’d like to assure you that there’s something special about the way dragons are portrayed here. They are fiercely loyal and deeply bonded to ‘their’ human/s. They can be fearsome and brutal, but more often they’re funny and cute, each an individual character. They made me laugh and ohhh and fill me with wonder. And if there was any way, I’d have one, now, please.
.) Tauren and Kalai:
I called them broken heroes because each man has got serious issues and fears to fight and overcome, but also because (for me) they don’t fit the ‘conventional image of a ‘hero’.
They make mistakes. They try and fail (quite a few times). They suffer the consequences of their actions. In short – they are utterly human and fallible. And they know it. And that makes them heroes in their own right in my eyes because they are still trying to the right thing anyway. Maybe I should call them ‘reluctant’ heroes?
I loved both men. Kalai: inquisitive, intelligent and a gentle pacifist at heart. Tauren: a jaded, bitter soldier in permanent pain who’s lost his purpose in life.
While the attraction between them is immediate, and we do get some nice pining and one of the slowest slow burns ever, in essence, romance is not at the centre of the book. What we get instead is a soft, mellow but genuine love that develops gradually, lingers and deepens as the men get to know one another better, and somehow that really touched my heart deeply. But don’t expect any heat.
.) The plot holds quite a few surprises and deviates from what you might expect.
Why not 5 full stars?
.) There are a couple of things that were left up in the air.
Of course, the author might be planning a sequel where these things are going to be resolved??? Yes, please!
.) Considering Tauren is a male in his prime who's always enjoyed sex and that he totally adores Kalai, I found it hard to believe
These are minor niggles though. Strangely, it was the epilogue that put tears into my eyes, and you'll see why when you get there.
Don’t be put off the page count (just look upon it as a trilogy in one book) or by the lack of heat, this journey is one worth taking!
I really enjoyed this one. Absolutely phenomenal world building, and dragons, which is a bonus for any story as far as I'm concerned.
The dragons here are incredibly well rendered. Besides being wild, powerful creatures, they're beings with their own personalities who work closely and bond with their humans. They're an integral part of the society of the world they inhabit.
I liked the humans in the story as well. Most of them anyway. Tauran and Kalil are both men with their own issues, looking for much different things from life. As the story develops and they grow closer, their romance is slow and sweet. However, their priorities change as the situation around them *and some of the people* begins to show them that everything is not what it seemed in the beginning.
There's incredible adventure to this story, a bit of sweet romance, painful pasts, good friends, betrayal and, did I mention dragons? Yes, that, best of all. ❤
However, there are a couple of things that kept me from giving 5 stars. First, when I said "a bit of romance", I meant very little. This slow burn is almost too slow. I loved both Tauran and Kalai, as themselves and together. Individually, they had quite a bit of growth through the story but for 700+ pages, I expected much more from the relationship. Sex is completely not necessary to me if the story is good enough without it, but I think this one would have moved better with it. That brings me to my other issue. For all that the story was exciting, there were also points that it was a little slow. This would have been much better broken up into two or even three books, it would have helped even the pacing out.
There were also some major points left hanging at the end, but this just makes me think that there will be more from this world. I hope there will be. Despite the minor grumbles from me, this was a fabulously well done fantasy and if there is more coming, I'll definitely be here for it.
Kalai Ro-Ani is from Kel Visal, the dragon mountain in Sharoani, he stood out with his black hair and golden brown skin between all the pale Kykaros people.
‘Valreus, the City of Hope, welcomes you’ After three weeks on the road, Kalai was finally here and luckily he found himself a job as archivist given by Falka, General of the Sky Guard. Kalai must translate Sharoani letters into Kykaros. One moment he’s translating, the next he’s given an egg for incubation, a rare Titan egg.
Something awful life-changing has happened to Tauran, the loss and sadness were huge and he will never ever return to the Sky Guards. Now after four years he’s back in Valreus. His former General and friend Falka convince him to turn to Emilian, General of the Ground Guards, they need him.
In the meantime, Tauran is also helping Kalai hatching the titan egg. The attraction between them is strong.
This a fraction of the whole adventure, a fantastic and beautiful journey with highs and lows. It has a stunning slow-build plot, such a comfortable pace to get to the base of it all.
It’s almost impossible to describe it all, I found it so impressive, I loved it all, I adored the beautifully pictured dragons. The hurt of loss and longing was palpable, just like the blooming love of Tauran and Kalai.
Kalai is balsam for Tauran’s soul, so soothing and healing. Tauran gives Kalai strength and love.
The Dragons omg they stole my heart, beautiful caring creatures, they made me cry, all the love for them.
Running through my notes I made while reading, I saw the author did a good job putting me in the wrong direction. I love it when this happens!!
A widely written journey, quite intriguing and impressive, all the information was comfortable to digest, given decently in manageable proportion. All clearly outlined and organized, new info dropped when needed. Thoroughly developed. All excellently done! At the beginning of the book is a map, oh boy amazing!
The landscape and all surroundings, the atmosphere, the creatures, in short, the whole story was clear, lucidly described, I could visualize it vividly as a movie. The romance was a slow burn, not my favorite, but hey, I didn’t mind here. Kalai and Tauran are beautifully flawed, they were sweet and gentle together, made for a forever. The exciting and angsty parts were so well detailed described, all the feelings, and dang exciting they were!! From page one till page seven hundred and sixty-something I was glued to the story, not one of them was dull. This author has a wonderful, captivating, intriguing way of storytelling!
I wanted my first book of the year to be something special. Zaya Feli was a completely new-to-me author, but with ARO’s recommendation in mind (Thank you so much! ❤️), I decided to give this one a try.
I'm happy to say it was a great choice. I LOVED it!
I’ve always been a sucker for well-depicted human-animal bonds, so I fully own up to the fact that Wild Sky made me tear up many, many times. It was unlike any book I’ve ever read before. Dragons were fully-developed characters here, and they got as much — if not more! — on-page time as the two MCs, Kalai and Tauran. They were definitely the main focus of the story. Each dragon had a distinct personality, with its very own quirks, and the strong friendships between them and their riders were beautifully portrayed, truly a delight to read. The dragons’ interactions with their own kind were just as amazing (I loved the way Arrow ‘adopted’ Leyra, and protected her even when she grew so much bigger than him; and the reunion between Leyra and her mother made me cry for real). I was very impressed by the author’s characterizations, as well as by the excellent worldbuilding.
The romance between Tauran and Kalai was slow, gentle, and distinctly PG-rated, but it complemented the story perfectly. Also, what can be more romantic that bonding over a helpless dragon egg, and raising a high-spirited, bitey little hatchling? Nothing, that's what.
Highly recommend this to all fantasy fans, and people who love dragons in their books!
Full review to follow...very soonish! As in later this afternoon!
Before I start talking about what's between the covers in this book...let's just give that cover a moment. I admit it more than anything that's what initially caught my attention. I loved this cover. It contains a stylish but simplistic beauty that I quickly discovered carried through to the story within.
I love dragons...anyone who knows me will tell you...I simply adore these creatures and here in Zaya Feli's story 'Wild Sky' are some of the most incredible dragons that I've encountered in years. Not only are the dragons beautifully portrayed but the author has taken the time to craft a world in which their existence feels natural. There were no freakish events or weird happenings that brought the dragons into being in this world...they're just a part of it like the land, the sky and the people.
'Wild Sky' is my first time reading this author and I have to admit given how much I loved this book the bar's set pretty high for anything that might follow. In the world of e-books this is admittedly a long one but for me what that meant was that I got world building that left me able to fully visualize this world, it's geography and it's people...not to mention it's DRAGONS!!!!
'Wild Sky' is without a doubt a fantasy novel and it contains action, intrigue, adventure...because Kalai wanted an adventure and WOW! did he ever get one, there were villians and heroes, friends, lovers and threaded throughout the book is a love story about two men...one who's broken and fears he'll never be whole again but when life demands it of him he finds the courage to be the man he needs to be for himself, for those he cares about and for a world thrown into chaos by the greed of others.
While the love story here is solid...it's a slow burn and built on a relationship that develops between Tauren Darrica the broken, bitter and slightly cynical Dragonrider and Kalai Ro-Ani the stranger from across the sea who left home with Arrow, his dragon in search of an adventure and suddenly finds himself in the middle of one that's more than even he could have ever imagined.
I know I said this one was long story but truthfully having pondered this I also think that this one was as long as it needed to be. There's no part of it that I found myself wishing the author had taken out or made shorter. My biggest quandary while reading this book was that I simultaneously wanted to devour it and savor it...in other words it took to long to read, but it wasn't long enough.
If you love fantasy and you love dragons, if a slow burn in your romance with sweet, loving that requires you to put some of your own imagination into it, works for you...than you need this book.
It's been a very long time since I've read a dragon story that left me feeling this excited and at the end of it all totally satiated. Ironically I'd say I want more but for me this one was perfect and I truthfully hope that other than releasing an audio version because...seriously dragons...audio? It would be heaven! There's really nothing more needed here.
************************* A copy of 'Wild Sky' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I'm feeling so sad. Books should come with a warning that once the MCs have met and are slowly getting closer there should not be sex with other people. I can't think of any reason why it was necessary for Tauran to go to a brothel and have sex with another guy.
Content warnings include: violence, animal abuse, disability (fainting episodes, consequences of badly broken leg), substance addiction, sex on-page, character seeks out sex worker, giving someone harmful medication under false pretenses, military being absolute authority vibes, trauma. Mentions of: animal death, suicide attempt, falling from sky, execution, threat of executing a child, homelessness, arson.
Ultimately, Wild Sky is an entertaining fantasy adventure with dragons and a queer cast. The story was solid, with different aspects driving the tension. Fantasy lovers won’t find anything new here, but it was engaging and fun to read.
I received an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
This is another book I randomly nabbed on Kindle. I was expecting it to be a fun story, but I didn’t expect what I ended up with, which was a truly thoughtful epic fantasy full of dragons, disability, and just enough romance.
Wild Sky tells the story of two characters. Tauran is a retired member of the Sky Guard. He and his dragon used to keep the city and the surrounding areas safe. However, tragedy struck. His dragon died, and Tauran now suffers from chronic pain, and PTSD. He spends his time drinking and gambling. Someone approaches him with a job, and reluctantly, with nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, he decided to take up the offer.
On the other hand, we have Kalai. Kalai is from elsewhere, an obvious foreigner to Valreus. Kalai comes from a rather secretive place where humans live alongside dragons in peace and harmony, and sort of study the stars and exist in a monastic/religious-feeling community. However, that’s not really done in Valreus, so when he shows up with his own dragon, there are immediate problems. However, Kalai quickly lands himself a job as an archivist. Throughout the span of the book, Tauran and Kalai end up with their paths crossing quite a bit, and their stories entwining. Kalai is a smart, thoughtful character who brings a bit of moderation and quiet to the book as a whole, balancing out Tauran’s more forceful, brash nature.
The worldbuilding was very well done, and while the primary focus of this book is on this one place, and this particular city, there are hints of a much wider world, not only due to Kalai’s own status as a foreigner to many other details that are subtly woven in as well. There are conversations about other places, and other cultures, and there’s evidence of cultures clashing in the simple everyday background of life. More, I really appreciated how Feli wove in numerous ways of appreciating and using dragons and establishing relationships with them. It really made the conflict at the core of this book feel thoughtful, and realistically nuanced.
Speaking of which, I really need to speak about details for a minute. I’m a sucker for details and I loved how Feli wove so many into this book. At the start of the book, Kalai has to take care of a dragon egg, and I just loved how the author had so many details about the process worked out, from temperature, to timing between blasts of temperature, to how the egg turns… the whole thing. Kalai’s own cultural tidbits he drops throughout the book really give this world a feel of a much wider scope than just this city. It’s all subtle, but extremely well done, giving readers a feel that there is so much more.
Now, I need to really talk to you people about representation for a minute. I am a huge, huge proponent of representation in a books. I write disabled and LGBTQIA+ characters, and it is incredibly important that I see them in the books I read, and it is very, very rare that I find both in the same book, but I did here. Wild Skydeals heavily with topics of pain and PTSD, even a fainting condition. As a disabled author, and a disabled reader, it is so important to see myself in the books I read, and I did here. It was amazing, and more, I actually related to how the characters were coping with their disabilities, especially Tauran with his pain. The author put a lot of research and thought into not just portraying disabilities realistically, but doing so with empathy, compassion, and understanding. It never once turned into a flashing lights and sign that said, “Look at my disabled, queer characters!” but was just part of who they were. They were fully fleshed out characters who just happened to be disabled, and queer and I loved it. This is the kind of representation I look for when I read.
There is a romance in this book, but it’s a slow burn and it builds naturally over the course of the novel. In fact, the two characters complimented each other so well, to not have a romance between them would have felt really weird. While romance is important, it is just as well done, thoughtfully crafted, and realistic as every other element of the book. Further, this book isn’t just about romance, it’s about all kinds of relationships between old friends, between the characters themselves, between people and dragons, and then the romance as well. Nothing is really overlooked, and while it all changes and alters throughout the course of the book, it’s all so thoughtfully done and well-crafted,
The dragons in this book were absolutely wonderful, beasts that are so fundamental to the world Feli has crafted. They are essential for protection, and for so many other reasons, but things are going wrong, and now these big protectors are starting to turn into an unpredictable threat. As the book explores what is happening, and why, I realized how fantastic these dragons really are, and how interesting their relationships with humans were. Again, this is another aspect of relationships the author tackles and I truly loved it. I loved how the characters gained strength from their dragons, and how, despite how necessary these beasts are for this world, their wild unpredictability. They never quite lost the animal at their core. All in all, they were just beautifully done.
As you can tell, Wild Sky was a book that really wowed me. I loved every single aspect of it. Well written with amazing characters and fantastic representation, this book put Zaya Feli on my radar as an author to watch.
A Heartwarming story. Me gustó, aunque sentí que el libro pasaba muy lento al inicio y después apresuraba las cosas al final. No es un libro sumamente complejo pero si tiene personajes entretenidos y dragones! además de un romance dulce. Es un libro para disfrutar lentamente y para pasarlo bien.
What a fantastic story! I enjoyed this so so much! There's plenty of action, adventure, and so much emotion. And alongside the steadily growing mystery of past events, there's a beautiful romance between Tauran and Kalai who are exactly what the other needs. Both a bit broken in their own way, these characters go through an amazing journey for themselves, each other, and their dragons.
I really loved how the mystery unfolded through dreams, small flashbacks, and little clues as the story progressed forward. Tauran especially pulled at my heart-strings constantly as he struggled with ptsd and learned to overcome his fears.
There are so many things to love about this book but I don't want to spoil anything. The mystery itself was a tiny bit predictable but there were little surprises thrown in that still threw me, which really made the mystery more exciting.
This is my first book by Zaya Feli but it certainly won't be my last!
First of all let me say that WILD SKY was a hefty 475 pages and I loved every second of it! Tauran Darrica is a former Sky Guard dragon rider from Valreus, but a tragic betrayal from inside the Sky Guard leads to the death of Tauran's dragon and an injured leg that still pains him 4 years later. Tauran vowed never to return to Valreus or to bond with a dragon again but circumstances have him reluctantly returning to Valreus. Once there he meets the city's new Archivist, Kalai Ro-Ani, a young man from Sharoani, the neighboring land where dragons come from. This begins an epic slow burn romance between Tauran and Kalai as they navigate unusual (and sometimes questionable) changes to the Sky Guard, unheard of attacks by the wild dragons, and dangerous rebel activity.
I felt like I was reading WILD SKY forever but I mean that in the best way possible because I felt completely immersed in the story and the world. This has a slower pace but it allows for the perfect amount of space to understand the world, its history, and the characters. As the story moves into some political intrigue things start to ramp up and we get a little more action and adventure.
So what made this such a great read? First off, the world-building was done so well and I loved the unique world that the author created. There's no info-dumping but I also never felt confused about what was going on; instead the author nicely paces out information and history about Valreus, Sharoani, and the surrounding areas. And a big part of that world-building is the dragons which were written to perfection and I desperately want a baby dragon now! These dragons have fully fleshed out personalities and I enjoyed them so much, especially baby Leyra who we get to see grow up a bit throughout the book. I loved that in this world, people and dragons coexist in harmony and that some lucky people are able to bond with dragons.
But the biggest reason I loved Wild Sky is the characters. Tauran and Kalai were so great and I loved each of them individually and especially as a couple. Tauran might have some struggles left over from losing his dragon but he's still cocky and charming and a little bit wild underneath the pain. He's also a natural leader though he doesn't quite realize it at first. When he first meets Kalai he's enamored and can't stay away. Kalai's a perfect match because his love of life and his deeply caring heart help to heal Tauran and remind him of his self-worth. Kalai is truly a gentle soul, with a love of learning and a slightly shy nature. He struggles with an illness that causes random fainting, especially when he's tired, stressed, or at high altitudes; so even though he has a dragon he's never ridden Arrow before meeting Tauran.
This was the epitome of slow burn and while the heat level is on the lower side, the intimacy and love between the characters is front and center. These two were truly perfect together and I adored the way they always supported each other and the little ways they cared for each other. Their love was obvious in each little touch, each soft moment, and each time they held each other up.
I will mention there was one brief scene of Tauran with another man, and I generally don't like when an MC sleeps with someone else, but this happened early in Tauran and Kalai's acquaintance and before their first kiss.
**ARC provided by A Novel Take PR in exchange for an honest review**
Content Warning: References to depression and PTSD; a character with a fainting illness; forced drug addiction, withdrawals; dragon death; brief scene of MC with another man
I found this story interesting, but the book was way too long and sometimes the plot became boring. I think that the execution of the story could have been done better, with a better pace and not in a way that could make the reader feel as if was reading the same thing again, only a few pages later. I still think that this book was nice and I liked the characters and the fact that none of them was perfect, but I really wish that the author had focused more on what was happening on page than the page count. I will probably read more books from this author, and I'm rating this 4 stars because, despite the excessive length, the book was still well written.
I was recommended this book by a bestie of mine, and all she said was two words before I purchased it immediately: queer and dragons. Admittedly, it did take me a second to pick it up because of my never ending TBR (and the page count because it is a rather large book. Eeek!), but once I did...MY GOODNESS was it worth it. The way this was a 5 star read before I finished the first chapter. I predicted and I was right!
Likeeeee, from the very beginning I was hooked on both MCs. The author gives us a fantastic grumpy/sunshine dynamic, and both Kalai and Tauran have so much depth and nuance. They're both struggling with either chronic illness and addiction or physical disability and mental health, and them together is such a beautiful sight. How they help each other, the kindness they show despite hard times, the love between them builds and blossoms into the sweetest, most tender love story an author could write. Their slow burn was killing me, but only in the best possible way. All issues this couple faced were external, rather than internal, and the lack of drama was such a nice reprieve.
Throughout we're introduced to the rest of the fantastic cast to characters and dragons alike. I loved the found family! I loved the queer rep (gay, bi, trans, etc.)! Even the bad guys and the mystery, the lies, the manipulation was so extremely well done.
OMG and THE DRAGONS! My heart, the dragons were like big, adorable puppies. I absolutely mf ADORE Leyra!! From the moment we meet her to the v end, I adored her. She is my favorite! And Arrow acting as the older brother was so cute and funny. Again I say, the found family was just *chef's kiss*!
Not to mention the exceptional world building where the author transports you into their whimsical land full of detail, intrigue, and adventure.
I. Loved. It.
Wild Sky is truly a brilliant, bold, breathtaking book.
This was enjoyable, though slow, until the plot thickens in so predictable a way that I can't maintain interest any longer. It had been getting slower and slower, and more predictable, but I'd hoped the revelation would help. Nope. I should've cut my losses over that needless saddle thing. Training saddles exist for horses. One presumes there are the dragon equivalent. The author might have checked that out before adding yet more to this tome.
The best part are the dragons, and this far in, there's not enough to get me past the slow, obvious plot.
It's something like How To Train Your Dragon with a dash of conspiracy and fighting for freedom and, of course, centered also around the romance of a more and shy nerd, who likes to spend his day reading books and a broken man who can find new strength in him. Gosh, that sounds cheesy but it was just bit but in a good way.
A lot happens, of course, because pages, like a lot of them, but it should have basically everything you can ever ask of a book like this. Great characters (even if there were not that many of them and a few were more "simple", used more to show something about the society or what or to advance the plot. Colourful world. Some tights spots and mystery and... okay, you see pretty early what is going to happen cause when the clueless MC stumbles upon some Clue, it's just way too easy to extrapolate what's going to happen next. The pistols, sign of some more "modern" civilization, was a little strange and made it hard to pinpoint what is it and if those people already had the technology and lost it or have not yer reached that point. Not that it mattered.
Romance angle was pretty interesting. Or maybe should I say age range? Because while the characters were technically adult, I would not hesitate to give this to a teenager. One of them said "that sucks" and the other was like "are you swearing?! you rascal!". Because of sucks. So... yes, being recently more made aware of the whole "clean books" thing, this one is clean AND so chaste. You get kisses. Somone gets shirtless. But it's just a version of the blackout thing, no direct names for anything. And it was basically only once. Sorry if that is a spoiler but the "hot" factor is practically nonexistence which is why I am also surprised it was not childish, just more... pure? It did not feel like cutting things off, it simply felt soooo romantic, focused more on building a relationship, on devotion and care and love (yes, to the slight exclusion of the bodily part of the relationship).
To be honest, I am not sure why I did not give this 4 stars at the very least. My mind is insisting the book deserves it. Because I usually try to judge books based on this inner checklist and this book ticked several boxes. But my feelings did not match it so much and while there were moments I enjoyed it, I can't say it was that strong and I do still remember some books were I was truly impressed and truly ecstatic and really, I am a tough nut, I feel that after reading that many books, I am getting a weird and unpleasant kind of tolerance. When I was younger (which was just some years back, mind you) and when I just discovered books, I could open anything and was almost always sucked it. But it's like discovering pizza or coffee or Coca-Colla, after living your whole life on bread and water. Pretty soon, you realize not just how many delicious things there are but that some things are more delicious and while tasting that one sip of ambrosia is a true gift, when you come down from it, the rest of the books you were reading get just a smidge less glamorous... again... and gain. Until you open a solid book and you're just not getting the reaction you should.
Having said that, I really recommend it, it deserves, if nothing else, a fair chance, if the elements sound interesting to you.
The plot is rather shallow. Kalai comes to a new city with no plan for no reason except that he wants adventure... even though he has to separate from his dragon and he's killed a man to get there. But good luck, he gets a job offered to him on his first day! And with no job description except, "translate stuff," he gets right to work--to the point that he hasn't even gone outside to explore the city or to go find the dragon that he left outside of the city. Remember, this guy came for adventure. The dragon is his only family. They just killed a man. But somehow, he doesn't seem terribly concerned about any of it. And that's just in the first chapter--and the character motivations never get any deeper than that.
It's a shame because the world building is interesting and the political intrigue looks almost promising. If the author can't carry through even her main character's motivations, though, I'm not to optimistic that the intrigue will be well fleshed out.
Okay, buckle up folks, you’re in for a great read! With the intricate world-building, complex characters, and elaborate storyline this story was mesmerizing enough to pull me in from the very first page and swallow me whole—for well over 700 pages. Not only that, but it did so without losing my interest at all along the way. I’ll admit—when I opened this up and saw how long it was, it did give me pause. Usually with books of this length my mind will wind up drifting while reading since it’s no easy task to continually keep my interest for that many pages. Not so with Wild Sky.
The main characters of Tauran, a former dragon rider, and Kalai, a young man hoping to find his fortune in Valreus are captivating, and the relationship between them is VERY slow burn. Even as it unfolds over the whole book, the unhurried pace of their romance makes it feel natural, developing as friends before moving on to more. These two are well suited, and quite sweet together.
There is of course intrigue afoot with the issues from the prior battle with rebels coming back to twist things up in the present day, and it’s difficult to tell just which characters Tauran and Kalai can trust. There was plenty of action, excitement, and suspense as things unfold, and at the center of it all are the dragons. The dragons were as much a part of the character list as the humans were, each with their own personalities and individual mannerisms.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and after finishing this I’m definitely keeping an eye out for more. This is talented storytelling, and I didn’t want to put it down—it’s an ideal example of a great M/M fantasy romance.
Five stars for Wild Sky—I do highly recommend this to any fantasy fans, and if you love dragons then all the better. Your attention will be captured for a long while, and you’re going to truly enjoy where the author takes you.
3.5 Wild sky is epic adventurous fantasy book that have some of my fave dragons. The dynamics between dragons and their riders was just so beautiful and precious. Tauran and kalai were complex beings tackling with their baggage and disabilities and found a home within each other. Their love and trust for each other was another my favorite thing about this book. Sometimes this book book quite slow and felt like dragging just that the thing bothered me. And that ending?? It left me with alot of questions. Overall i enjoyed this book.
It has been an unfortunately long time since I’ve read a book this good, I could not put this story down for a single second! I fell in absolute love with the characters and their world, everything Zaya Feli writes is insanely well done, I’d honestly read her grocery lists at this point. Can’t wait to see what she publishes next!
if u enjoy dragons that are basically large cats and the love interests continuously getting cockblocked by PLOT, then this is the book for you! it is very cute and i say this endearingly. additionally it was really enjoyable to realistically see a character who has experienced significant trauma slowly grow and recover and overcome their fears, so tauran was an absolute delight to read about. love a disabled protag! i think the narrative tension was a little lessened by the multiple PoVs, but both tauran and kalai are lovely characters.
"He was really flying. Up here, he could do anything. He was free."
If you had told me at the beginning of reading Wild Sky that I was going to fall in love with dragons, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But oh did I almost shed some tears over dragon deaths. I had to remind myself they weren't real so many times. I grew so attached to the dragons Arrow and Leyre, and I found all the details about the different dragons and their habits to be so fascinating. (Shoutout to the glossary at the back of the book)
I loved Tauran and Kalai's relationship and the way they supported each other. They did so much better when they were able to be together. I'm not usually the biggest fan of books with a slow burn romance, but the story was so interesting outside of their romance that I didn't mind and found myself just as wrapped up in the politics and dangers in Valreus. Tauran and Kalai are both a few years older than me but I still feel like they're my babies. The way Tauran was so focused on Kalai's well-being and the way that Kalai understood Tauran's pain and struggle with being cared for just melted my heart. I could go on forever about these two but let's move on to something as equally as important as my boys, the plot.
There was so much mystery in this fantasy, and I loved constantly being shocked at finding out new information. The action was so intense my heart started racing during some scenes. Also, there was a twist that I never saw coming. The sentiment was being planted throughout the story but when it actually got revealed, I was so shocked. I even struggled to finish towards the end because I was so nervous how everything was going to turn out.
This book also delicately touched on so many things like disability, PTSD, drug addiction, and consent. Nothing was ever thrown in just for shock factor, and these factors all contributed to the plot and the growth of the characters which I immensely appreciated.
Overall, I recommend this book to any fantasy lover who needs a new world to get lost in.
*Thank you to Novel Take PR for a free ARC. All opinions are my own*
I received a free copy of this book from A Novel Take PR and am voluntarily reviewing it.
When I read the blurb for this one, it sounded like such a great read that I immediately requested a copy. It was a bit of an impulse request, but I am so glad I did as I really enjoyed this book. It's one of the longest books I read in a long time (it's 764 pages according to Goodreads!), but that was great as it meant I could spend more time being immersed in this world and reading about these characters. If you love fantasy worlds, dragons, dragon riders and slow burn MM romances, I would definitely recommend this one.
Wild Sky is told from two point of views. We have Tauran, who was a dragon rider once, but after the death of his dragon he isn't in a good place. His old general contacts him one day and asks him to come back to be a dragon rider, he refuses, but eventually finds himself back in the city Valreus where the dragon riders live eventually and there he meets Kalai. Kalai went in search for adventure and ends up in Valreus too. Where he's from dragons roam free, but in Valreus only dragon riders can own a dragon. And Kalai has taken his dragon with him to Valreus. It's hard to fully explain the scope of the story as that is only the beginning. There are so many twists and turns in this story and different directions than I had expected, but it's hard to really hint at that as I don't want to give anything away.
This is a beautifully slow paced story. And I mean slow pace in the best way possible, there is all this build up for later plot lines or plot points early on and I love seeing everything develop and change. And there is so much you see change and develop over the course of the story. I really like the long length of this book as it really gave the author the chance to dig deep into all of this and show the developments everywhere and in everyone. There is the romance between Kalai and Tauran. There is the whole political/ dragon situation in Valreus. There are the wild dragons. There is Leyra, seeing her develop over the course of the book was great. And then there are other side characters and plot points and it was just one big awesome read.
I really had a great time reading this book. The build up and then later development of all the plot points and characters was really well done. The story is slow paced, but there is always something happening or going on. And multiple plot lines that are progressing slowly throughout the whole book. At times it can be hard as it takes sometimes a long time before a certain plot point develops, but I liked it overall and didn't get too inpatient. There is a bit of tension with earlier set-up for future troubles, but it takes a while for that set-up to pay off.
I really liked the characters in this book. They all feel real and act in a way that makes sense given their personality. Tauran is this physically strong dragon rider who now has a limp and even some big fears he struggles with. He still cares a lot about the dragons and the dragon riders and I enjoyed seeing his character develop throughout the book and have him face his fear and also enjoy life again. Then there is Kalai who wanted adventure and gets so much more than he bargained for. I liked both different these two were from another and had a different outlook or way of dealing with things, but they also agreed on a lot. They both really care about the dragons for example.
The romance was awesome! I really liked how this was set-up, there is that initial spark already, but it builds very slowly. It felt very natural and real. I liked how at a certain point they profess their interest, but they don't immediately fall in bed together. In fact this 764 pages long book has only two sex scenes if you can call them that, it sort of plays out, but you don't get any details. And I actually quite liked this here as it fit the story. Their feelings grow deeper first and even later it's more about how they feel and care about each other than lust. I really felt the connection between these two. I also thought it was fitting they also take time to get physical once they're safe. I also appreciated how they dealt with conflict in a way that made sense and felt realistic instead of it turning into drama or conflict made larger than it had to be. I loved how these two had each others back even in the tough times. It really was clear how much they care for one another.
Besides the two main characters there is quite the large cats of characters, but they're all introduced in such a way it never gets confusing who is who and there are some awesome side characters. They all have a role to play in the story even tough some characters play a smaller role than others. There are also plenty of characters who keep showing up throughout the whole book and even important side characters that get introduced later in the book. Arrow was awesome and ofcourse Leyra, we see so much of how she develops in the book. But really I liked most of the characters and even the ones I didn't like felt realistic.
The ending is pretty awesome. I like how it all felt in tune and fit the style of the book and the epilogue was awesome. There are some minor plot threads left open, but the ending felt satisfactory.
The world building is great too, most of the focus is on the country where Valreus is, but we get to see some of the Sharoani as well. I liked seeing how the dragon riders were part of ti all and how the dragons were treated differently in Sharoani. There were a few small niggles I had with words that seemed a bit out of place, like they mention puppy behavior or fawn colored scales, but as far as I know there are no puppies or fawn in the world. The world really comes to live especially as it's such a long book and it was great to spend so much time in this world.
To summarize: This was an awesome fantasy book with dragons and a slow burn romance. It's a long and slowly paced read, but I mean this in the best possible way and it fit the story. There is so much that happens in this book, but it's all set-up slowly. There are hints and set-ups early on that only later develop. And there are these big developments and changes throughout the whole book. There are twists and turns and it's all a riveting story. This book had my attention from start to finish and I loved losing myself in this world and spending time with the characters. The characters were awesome and I loved how realistic they all felt. The romance is great too, it's a slow burn with the focus being on their love and deepening relationship rather than the physical side of things. I really liked these two together and how there were there for one another and I how they dealt with things. There is almost no drama or conflict between them and what conflict there was, was dealt with in a way that made sense for the characters. The side characters all were well done too and felt like real people. And the dragons! The dragons were awesome. I liked the world building and how we got a feel for the world and got to spend time in it and see things change. All in all this was an awesome fantasy book and if you like dragons, dragon riders and slow burn romances I would definitely recommend it.
When I realised this was a very long book, I was worried it would be boring. And when I realised it would probably be pretty slow burn, I was worried it might be frustrating. (I do love slow burn but it has to be done right)
I didn't need to worry. At all. I fell so in love with the characters and the world and the dragons - oh my god, the dragons - that the many pages and the sometimes a bit of slow pace didn't bother me. I just kept on wanting more.
Tauran and Kalai were just lovely people, and I loved them together. They fit so well and were super precious while getting to know each other and falling in love. The people they got to know along the way - Sparrow, Jinhai, Jasper - well ... I kind of wanted to adopt them all. The dragons were adorable and I kind of want to adopt them too:)
I've never read Zaya Feli before but I loved the writing and will most likely read other books by the author. I also really hope we get to revisit this universe!
Some things felt a little bit left unsolved when the book was finished, but the ending itself was good and left my heart feeling happy.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to A Novel Take PR!
I loved this book. Finally, a gay fantasy novel with the length to actually manage some skillfully developed worldbuilding! A gay fantasy novel that had a slow-burn romance that's romantic and not just dirty! These characters are wonderful: their vulnerability, their willingness to depend on one another, their strength, their determination, their compassion, their struggles! Yes, yes, yes.
There were a handful of typos and some modern slang that felt out of place (e.g., one of the characters getting "dragged" in a conversation) and a little confusion on how modern the societies were, but those minor issues didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of this book. I was so pleased with the length. 700-ish pages is something I can sink my teeth into. God, I love fantasy worldbuilding and this book pulls it off. Hallelujah.
It has been a long time since a fantasy novel has kept my attention like this one did –and I enjoyed this immensely.
The blurb does not do the book justice, but I will say, it was enough to pique my interest. I’m not going to elaborate because I don’t want to drop any spoilers. This book is just too good. I will also note here – Zaya Feli is a new-to-me author.
I will say this story does follow conventional fantasy tropes, but with a male/male slow-burn romance. Tauran and Kalai’s relationship evolved over the course of the story which added a lovely emotional aspect that is too often missing in the GLBTQ+ genre. One small quirk I have with the story also resides with the two main characters – I found them a bit too flawless in their temperament, understanding and empathy. At times, their romance felt somewhat unrealistic and I could have used a bit more angst with a dash of misunderstanding. Just a dash though. Something to roughen the edges a bit.
And there are dragons! Yes! Oh, so many lovely dragons! From little newly hatched dragons, to teenager dragons, to full grown behemoths that dominate the sky. I quite enjoyed seeing the different aspects of dragon training, complete with the frustrations, tears, triumphs, and joys. Along with the dragons there is some most excellent world building. While the story is set predominantly in Valreus, there is adequate information given to understand that attitudes toward dragons and societal differences abound. Here was also another quirk of mine – how it was Valreus doesn’t allow befriending wild dragons, but their Sharoani neighbors do, so… how could Valreus say a citizen from Sharoani is in violation? I struggled to reconcile this aspect more than once.
Finally, bringing everything together, the plot was solid. Was it perfect? No, but it was solid. As I noted above, it has been a very long time since I’ve read a fantasy book that kept my attention like this did. With a male/male relationship that grew over the course of the story, a suspense component that was deftly woven between training dragons and backstory, I was compelled to keep turning the pages. I would read more by Zaya Feli based on this book.
NOTE: This book was provided by the author via A Novel Take for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.