Source: Flame Tree Press – I received this complimentary copy for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Series: The Sky Woman #1
Edition: ebook, 288 Pages
Genre: Speculative Sci-fi
Car-En, a ringstation anthropologist on her first Earth field assignment, observes a Viking-like village in the Harz mountains. As Car-En secretly observes the Happdal villagers, she begins to see them as more than research subjects (especially Esper, a handsome bow-hunter). When Esper’s sister is taken by an otherwordly sword-wielding white-haired man, she can no longer stand by as a passive witness. Knowing the decision might end her career, she cuts off communication with her advisor and pursues the abductor into the mountains. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
The Sky Woman is an interesting blend of historical and sci-fi elements, that really brings a rather unique voice to the genre.
Some of you may know this about me, but I was/am an anthropology nerd. I went to college for it (didn’t finish) and I love a book that incorporates it in some way, so I jumped on the chance to review The Sky Woman. It’s so rare to have something like this in the sci-fi genre, and I thought that the idea of it taking place in the future on Earth even more intriguing. I have to say that The Sky Woman didn’t disappoint in providing a unique story and setting.
Earth has gone through a major shift, or a series of severe depopulation cycles and humans have been set back to a new Iron Age. There are however those that live in the ring stations in orbit around the earth, where the technology has continued to advance. There are four narratives at play here. One is with Car-en, an anthropologist charged with observing the local village of Happdal but not interfering. She is set to uncover more about the world that is the aftermath of an over burgeoning of technology and gene modification. The second is with Trond and Esper, two brothers from Happdal that work to protect and provide for their village. The third is Katja, a young woman and sister to Trond and Esper; and lastly Adrian, a politician the ring station who oversees Car-en’s progress. I really love getting to know these characters and seeing them interact with each other, though admittedly I didn’t precisely connect with any of them. They have rather unique voices and points of view, and they all go through something different. It takes some time but their stories all blend together in a rather unexpected way. The one major issues I had with the characters was the relationship that forms between Car-en and Esper. I just didn’t see where it came from or the basis of it.
The setting and history of this version of Earth are really cool! I loved the blind of science fiction technology with the rustic iron age advancements, and how these two conflict and join together all at the same time. I enjoyed getting to know more about the downfall of humanity and how most of the history has been lost to those in the earth villages, even though much of the remnants remain in some way. The one issues I had was with the ‘articles’ included, which were interesting but very info-dumpy in terms of background information. I appreciated getting to see the how’s and why’s of the situation, but it didn’t just flow as well as the rest of it.
There are a lot of elements in the novel as you can see, and for the most part all of it works. I only have a few issues. Overall I think this is one to check out if you like a more deliberately paced and careful sci-fi. I will definitely be looking forward to the second book when it comes out!