Welcome to the Indie Book Tour, where I read & review Indie & Self-Published novels in an exploratory and somewhat secretive fashion.
Next stop on my tour is Asrian Skies, by Anne Wheeler.
Did time shatter memories into tiny pieces that were unrecognizable when put back together?
Asrian Skies, by Anne Wheeler, is a Science Fantasy novel set on the fictional planet Asria, rife with political intrigue, spies and the potential to become one of my favorite new series.
In my attempts not to spoil this story I may, at times, come across very vague. I apologize, but please know this; I highly recommend you read this story for yourself. With the understanding that you trust me and my recommendation, I am treating this review with care toward your reading experience. It required mass levels of self control on my part not to spoil the twists for myself, and I want you to have the same opportunity to discover and experience them fresh.
The entirety of the novel is told from the perspective of Avery Rendon, a flygirl (read: obsessed with spacecraft) who also happens to be royalty on her home planet of Asria. Avery’s perspective is often unreliable, as it depends on the information she is given, which never seems to be that great. While this could have been frustrating, Wheeler handled it in such a way that it heightened the tension of the story, and created some stunning twists and turns.
The cast of characters our author has created are believable, flawed and everyone seems to have their own agenda. As a result, you can easily feel each one working behind the scenes constantly, toward their own goals and ambitions. When they are off the page you will find yourself wondering what they are up to. No fear, all will be revealed soon.
Charming is not as charming does in this novel, and you will be constantly wondering who to trust, and who will turn out to be a ‘bad’ guy. Spoiler alert: Everyone is on their own side. Everyone is the protagonist in their own eyes.
The main antagonist within, who shall remained unnamed in my review so that you may discover his/her identity for yourself whilst reading, was alarmingly well written. As I said before, charming doesn’t not always mean good in this story. And there is more than one charmer within that you will find yourself suspicious of by the end. The scenes with said antagonist were particularly tense, Avery’s fear leaked out through the page’s ink.
I recommend reading the short companion story, More Than Stars before reading Asrian Skies, as I wished I had. Having read it afterwards, it made me more warmly sympathetic toward the romantic subplot within the main novel. The character of Merritt doesn’t get a whole lot of ‘screen-time’ within Asrian Skies, and as a result of seeing him only through Avery’s limited perspective, I found that I didn’t much like him and cared very little what did (or did not) happen to him.
The religious aspect of this story, of the world of Asria, was well written. It is a planet that conforms to a single religion, one worshiping a Holy One that will seem very familiar to our own world. The fact that Avery struggles with her faith, especially with regards to her fear of death and what may or may not lie beyond, enhanced the read. It’s nice when you have a character that is not firmly developed, but is at war within herself. Avery’s struggle revealed facets of the belief system that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. It also called into question why we believe what we do, and what faith really is. Watching her go from cynic to doubter to hopeful in a slow burn sort of way felt believable and inspiring.
The world-building was relatively seamless, never exhausting the reader or overwhelming. Facts, history, traditions were revealed as needed. Wheeler does a wonderful job of leaving certain things up to the reader’s imagination. She gives you the outline and the color palette, and allows you to fill in the rest.
Asrian Skies ends before you want it to, but wraps up just enough loose ends to keep you satisfied (if still craving) until the release of the next novel. It is an intriguing, thrilling and fun read, perfect for a Sunday afternoon or a Wednesday night. I don’t know what else I can say to convince you to buy it, other than you will most certainly regret not getting on this bandwagon as early as possible.
What are you waiting for? An invitation? This is It:
Oh, and if you want to see what else Anne Wheeler has in the works (including the sequel to Asrian Skies releasing this summer) head on over to her Website!
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Have you read Asrian Skies? What did you think?
Who is your favorite charmer, who’s really not a good-guy?