Scott's Reviews > War of the Sky Lords

War of the Sky Lords by John Brosnan
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bookshelves: science-fiction
Read 2 times. Last read 2019.

I loved this book when I was thirteen.

This tells me something embarrassing about my younger self.

Despite some serious internal cringing while I type this I am forced to admit that I was obviously a rampantly horny teenager who loved gratuitous T&A and Mary Stu protagonists who get sucked from obscurity and boredom (hello, 1990's Wellington, New Zealand!) into a world where they are meet a series of ridiculously willing women while having grand adventures.

Yep, I was a pretty stock-standard thirteen year old boy, and The War of The Sky Lords is pretty standard pulpy SF. That’s not to say it’s a terrible book – it isn’t – but it’s sure as hell no Dune.

Following on from Brosnan’s first book in this trilogy - The Sky Lords, The War of The Sky Lords begins with warrior woman Jan Dorvin in control of a Sky Angel- a brand new, massively powerful airship in a world that has suffered centuries of decay. In a shaky partnership with a near-psychotic AI who runs her ships she rules over a fleet of Sky Lords that she is using to try and help the ground communities struggling against the ever-encroaching blight that has stricken Earth.

Things aren’t going well. The AI Jan relies upon is becoming more and more erratic, the people in the Sky Lords she controls are rebelling against her, and her son Simon, fathered by the immortal sociopath Milo Haze, is having problems that do not bode well for his future.

Circumstances are turning against Jan, and the vast power at her disposal is in danger of being turned against her and the ground communities that desperately need her help.

Pretty cool stuff huh? Well, it isn’t perhaps told as well as it could have been. For starters, The War of The Sky Lords doesn’t spend as much time with Jan as I would have liked. Instead, a large part of the story concerns Ryn (the Mary Stu of the story), a young man from an undersea habitat in Antarctica. Ryn has spent his life in a boring, controlled environment, has never even met a live woman, and is full of his own importance - he’s basically thirteen year old me, but in a post-apocalyptic future.

Ryn manages to circumvent his imprisonment and land on a nearby Sky Lord that has come to Antarctica as part of an expedition looking for Ryn’s habitat. Ryn convinces Duke du Lucent - the leader of the airship - that he will assist him in destroying Jan and her fleet. In return he asks for some clothes… and someone to have sex with. The someone he is given is du Lucent’s daughter, Andrea, a beautiful but dangerous princess who despite her tempestuous nature… sigh. It isn’t quite as cheesy as it sounds, but it’s pretty cheesy, and typical of the treatment women get in these novels.

Once again, Jan, despite her Amazon pedigree as a warrior and general ass-kicker, plays second fiddle to a bunch of not-very-inspiring men, and never really kicks ass like I felt she should. She constantly seems to be at the mercy of men, much like in Brosnan’s first book.

There's also some rather nasty sadism, which gets tiresome quickly, and reduces one interesting character (returning from the first book) to a tedious and irritating caricature of a villain.

Still, despite all this, thirty-eight year old me enjoyed The War of The Sky Lords in the manner I would enjoy a donut-and–hot-chocolate binge right after skipping my gym workout. This isn’t a great work of SF, or even a particularly good one, but there’s some junk-food reading pleasure to be had here as Brosnan whips the story along from tense encounter to tense encounter.

It’s very pacy- almost farcically so at times, with characters bed hopping, getting over major traumas, and falling madly in love in what seems like a day or two at most, but it’s action packed too, which kept me from dwelling on the narrative’s numerous flaws.

So, despite its many weaknesses I still rate this book as an enjoyable read at least, even if it is pretty pulpy. Perhaps thirteen year old me is still buried somewhere in my inner reader, occasionally craving a pacy, racy story that goes from A to Z at a rapid clip without too much thinky-thinky.


Three weakly portrayed female stars out of five.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Started Reading
2019 – Finished Reading
April 28, 2019 – Shelved
April 28, 2019 – Shelved as: science-fiction

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