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Unreachable Skies: Vol. 1

by Karen McCreedy

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632,334,591 (4)1
When a plague kills half the Drax population, and leaves the hatchlings of the survivors with a terrible deformity - no wings - suspicion and prejudice follow. Continuously harassed by raids from their traditional enemies, the Koth, the Drax are looking for someone, or something, to blame. Zarda, an apprentice Fate-seer, is new to her role and unsure of her own abilities; but the death of her teacher sees her summoned by the Drax Prime, Kalis, when his heir, Dru, emerges from his shell without wings. A vision that Dru will one day defeat the Koth is enough to keep him and the other wingless hatchlings alive - for a time. Half-trained, clumsy, and full of self-doubt, Zarda must train Dru to one day fulfil the destiny she has foreseen for him, even if it is quickly becoming clear that the Prime's favourite adviser, Fazak, is not only plotting against the wingless, but is gaining more of Kalis' trust by the day. Efforts to fight prejudice and superstition are certain to lead to death for some and exile for others; while Zarda's own journey to understanding her role in events may lead her to abandon all tradition in order to protect her peoples' future.… (more)
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Showing 3 of 3
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is my first book via LibraryThing and first review.
Unreachable Skies is easy to read and well edited, however, some chapters are long with not much happening and could do with being stripped back a bit. For example, it took 71 pages for Zarda and Taral to visit a farm, offer support and return. The dialogue is good but Zarda's thoughts drag a bit and the exposition is lengthy within the chapter with not much else happening.
Zarda, that main character is thrown into a new role as Fate-seer and there is plenty of conflicts she experiences from dealing with politics, discrimination and being a female in a patriarchal realm. The wingless Drax hatchlings are interesting and cover topics of disability, discrimination and accountability.
The main issue I had with this book was the worldbuilding. I am still unclear what the Drax are? I presumed some type of dragon but realised early on this is not the case. They have wings but also paws, fur and snouts.
Also, the Author describes many things such as habitation (Shells) which was unclear and offers unusual names for flora and fauna which left me blank as to what I was supposed to visualise quite often. That being said, the plot and characters are very clear to understand.
One bug throughout the book for me was the repetition of 'spiralled their paw over their tunic'. It came up quite often. I understand the reason behind it but it would have not felt so repetitious if the Author found other ways to describe this action.
I have read a lot of fantasy genre and for me, this book was ok but not a page-turner. I found it enjoyable in places and some of the themes were interesting but I prefer something faster paced and with more on the edge of your seat intensity whether that is conflict, action or character development. ( )
  Tracey.Ikerd | Sep 22, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as a part of Early Reviewers on Library Thing in exchange for my honest opinion. I am so glad for that, especially because this is not a book I would have gravitated toward on my own and I really would have missed out because it was an absolute joy to read.

The writing was clean and smooth, it was well-edited, it was unusual but not so much so that it felt forced or disingenuous, I enjoyed the characters* and their growth, the plot was easy to follow, and it was just really such a pleasant surprise. There was even a love interest, and I actually felt it contributed to the story instead of overtaking it or feeling like it was tacked on as an afterthought. It was easy to get into, which is a big deal for me because if a book does not grab my attention I will abandon it almost immediately instead of wasting my time on it--particularly if it's a random chance that I took on a book, like it was with this one. I also enjoyed the exploration of darker topics like infanticide, disabilities, disfiguring as punishment, and being ostracized. All of this was just done so, so well. I am very excited to continue this series, as it was suspenseful enough to make me want to know what happens next, particularly since I grew to care about the characters and am curious to see where things go.

*In fact, I am going to say here that her descriptions of the little ones, particularly the ones with no wings, melted my heart. Due to my child-free nature, any descriptions of kids usually fall on "deaf" eyes with me because I simply cannot relate to it which means it evokes no emotional response. But, I was in the little ones' court all the way and wanted to cuddle them and protect them! Only people who know me well know what a big deal it is for me to confess something like this AND admit to it in a review.

I just have a couple nitpicks about world-building, which pain me to talk about because I feel like they could have so easily been taken care of with the inclusion of a glossary and some drawings. These did not hinder my enjoyment of this book, but they were distracting enough for me to have to mention here because if they had been clarified I would have felt complete with the finishing of this book.

To start, I want to say that I truly appreciated how consistent the author was in her use of her special terms and ideas for every day items and how all of this contributed to the world she built. This had to do with wildlife, plants, how everyone has their role in society and that is denoted with colors, their religion, and even the descriptions of flying and of the body language and smells when interacting with each other. I really, really admire authors who can do this well because I have seen so many examples of authors who fail miserably at it and render their book unreadable. It is not an easy thing to do, and those who do it well are to be lauded.

But, there are a few things that stick out as lingering confusions for me, which, again, I really feel could have been resolved so easily with a glossary:

- Sometimes I couldn't quite relate the terms to my own world because I wasn't totally sure what they were supposed to be and therefore I couldn't picture them in my head as a part of the story, which to me is really important in accepting an unfamiliar world and building it in my head--maybe that is my own limitation, but I can't help that it is a thing.

- There was the idea of "nine" and even though I understood how integral it was to their society, I didn't understand WHY the number 9 was so important that it basically ruled every part of how they organized their lives. I thought maybe it has to do with the spirals in a nautilus and perhaps there are nine mathematic points of spiraling or something, but even if something like that were true, it wouldn't explain how or why this society came to value that concept so much.

- I still have no idea what the drax are. :( They seem like bipedal owl/cat/cow hybrids?? They aren't quite birds and they aren't quite cats and they aren't quite cows and they aren't quite gryphons. It also wasn't clear to me if the Koth were the same species and rivals, or if they were a different species or even why the Koth were so determined to extinguish them. Also, why isn't "drax" capitalized like "Koth"? I felt this was significant because it seemed deliberate, but could never discern why.

- I didn't understand why there were what I think were jellyfish ("floaters") in the sky (is this normal for their world, or was it a result of something else?), so I was a little confused about the orientation of things or how some things happened to be the way they are and how they related to everything else.

I guess writing these things out here may make them seem like major problems, but, really, they were minor in the scope of everything and very forgivable to me, given how much I truly enjoyed everything else about this book. ( )
  wordcauldron | Sep 13, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The storyline of Unreachable Skies, initially, may seem like an ordinary fantasy plot. The court seer has a vision about a child who is some sort of chosen one. The "chosen one" is oppressed for some reason. Let the epic adventures begin. However, Ms. McCreedy has brought a lot to the table to go with this.

For starters, the main character is not the chosen one. Rather, she is a seer who is thrust is prematurely thrust into a position that she is not ready for while she is grieving. She is also, despite not being human, charmingly human. One of my favorite aspects is that she is messy and may be found regularly worrying about how others perceive the condition of her home, searching for a clean dish, or digging through a pile of tunics to find the least rumpled one. Women are almost never portrayed with this particular trait unless the intent is to demonize them as "bad wife/mother".

I also that all the characters are non-human in a world where humans do not appear to exist. They are the Drax. A species that I personally imagine as something between a cat and a dragon. The author does an excellent job of incorporating non-human behaviors in a natural manner.

The writing is good, the pace is excellent, and while it is escapist fiction, there are layers to be found here. The book doesn't end on a cliff hanger, but it definitely ends leaving room for the next volume, which I most certainly intend to read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via a LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway. Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Sep 4, 2018 |
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When a plague kills half the Drax population, and leaves the hatchlings of the survivors with a terrible deformity - no wings - suspicion and prejudice follow. Continuously harassed by raids from their traditional enemies, the Koth, the Drax are looking for someone, or something, to blame. Zarda, an apprentice Fate-seer, is new to her role and unsure of her own abilities; but the death of her teacher sees her summoned by the Drax Prime, Kalis, when his heir, Dru, emerges from his shell without wings. A vision that Dru will one day defeat the Koth is enough to keep him and the other wingless hatchlings alive - for a time. Half-trained, clumsy, and full of self-doubt, Zarda must train Dru to one day fulfil the destiny she has foreseen for him, even if it is quickly becoming clear that the Prime's favourite adviser, Fazak, is not only plotting against the wingless, but is gaining more of Kalis' trust by the day. Efforts to fight prejudice and superstition are certain to lead to death for some and exile for others; while Zarda's own journey to understanding her role in events may lead her to abandon all tradition in order to protect her peoples' future.

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