Jeanette's Reviews > The Fated Sky

The Fated Sky by E.M. Swift-Hook
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really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, science-fiction

E. M. Swift-Hook's Fated Sky is a gritty Space Opera set in a far-flung periphery of the galaxy in the distant future. After being ambushed by Coalition forces, Avilon Revid's space ship crashes on the technological regressive, almost forgotten planet of Temsevar. Badly injured, he is captured by a Carvanensi and sold into slavery to a powerful warlord. He needs to escape and get to the planet's only spaceport on the other side of the world. Not an easy task as Avilon finds himself embroiled in the local politics and the hidden agendas of both possible friends and foes.

I loved Swift-Hook's world building through the point of view of a range of characters - Avilon; the young Zoukai captain Caer; the Carvanasi Alexa the Fair; the dealer in information Durban Chola; the War Lord's right-hand man, Jariq Zarenga; and Aisah, leader of the troop of acrobats. With each change of pov, I found myself immersed in the character and their goals, conflicts and challenges. It certainly added to the understanding of the world, especially as Avilon spends the first part of the story drugged and or chained up in a wagon. The distances travelled by foot and horse are realistic on a planetary scale and so there are long sections of travel though there is also plenty of action and high stakes as well.

The writing was strong, the characters well drawn and complex and memorable, the plot and set-up interesting. There were a number of minor typos and stylistic glitches but not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the story.

It was a bit of a let-down to find this first book not only ends on a cliff-hanger - but also, it glides over what could have been a climatic event, as it happens while one major character is drugged and we only hear about in hearsay and not from Avilon’s pov, followed by an abrupt finish only tempered by the fact that I'm reading the boxed set and have the second book at my finger-tips :)

I think the biggest issue for me, the one that made this 4 1/2 stars rather than 5, is that I would be settling into a character, enjoying the nuances, sympathizing with their difficulties, only to realise that yet again this character was a cold-blooded killer (with or without some pangs of conscience) and, often as not, treated sexual encounters as little more than scratching an itch. I realise that this is in part how their circumstances had made them, and that there is no doubt greater depths to at least some of the major characters, but it did find myself struggling to know who I should barrack for. Perhaps this was added to by the fact that Avilon, who I'd imagined as the main character, gets little air time and is so totally self-contained even when he does - so that he is almost as much an enigma at the finish of Fated Sky as he is at the start. I want to care about Avilon and Durban, but I don't as their real motives are hidden too deep. I want to care for Jariq despite his past loyalty to the cold and calculating Warlord - but am reserving judgment.

That said, Fated Sky was an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to some answers in the rest of the trilogy.
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Reading Progress

February 18, 2017 – Shelved
February 18, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 3, 2017 – Started Reading
April 3, 2017 – Shelved as: fiction
April 3, 2017 – Shelved as: science-fiction
April 11, 2017 – Finished Reading

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