Friday, September 4, 2015

Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig [Review]

Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy, #1)4 out of 5 Robots!

Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig
Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Release: July 30, 2013
Hardcover: 354 Pages
Publisher: Skyscape
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It's the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow. And the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael's tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He's sick of the mayor's son besting Cael's crew in the scavenging game. And he's worried about losing Gwennie, his first mate and the love of his life, forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry, angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn't seem upset about any of it. Cael's ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This book was very different than I expected.  To be honest, I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, but I ended up really liking this book.  Corn is creepy, mmmkay?

Here is what I liked:
**It felt familiar and unique all at once.  This is a bloated genre and I've read a ton of dystopian books, so I'm a little jaded.  This book made me sit up and pay attention.  As I mentioned, a lot of it felt familiar, but not in a bad way.  The stuff that felt familiar was comfortable.  Everything else felt different and that was exciting.

**I liked the flawed heroes.  No one is perfect, but no one is completely evil either.  Cael, especially, is your typical young hotshot, but there is also something very vulnerable about him.  Even Cael's nemesis, who seems completely boorish at first, has some history that paints him in a more sympathetic light.  I love it when characters are drawn this way.

**I liked the steampunk/dystopian/sci-fi mash up.  I could COMPLETELY see this as a movie or TV show.  It just had that kind of quality to it.  

**Lastly, I really liked the humor.  There was this wry humor throughout.  Humor is always a plus in my book

Here is what I didn't like:
**I wish that Gwennie was a more developed character.  She doesn't have a big part, but is very integral to the story.  I could not get a bead on her.

**I wish there just a little more world building.  What or Who is Empyrean?  I certainly do not want a bunch of exposition and my questions may be answered in the sequels, but a little more context would have been good.


A fun and fast paced book!

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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