Sunday, August 4, 2013

Under the Empyrean Sky (review)

4/5 stars

Just when I thought there would never be a good dystopian again Under the Empyrean Sky (Goodreads | Amazon) comes along. This is a solid book - well written, perfectly paced with real life-or-death consequences.  While it doesn't do anything groundbreaking with the genre, everything it does it does very well.
The thing about survival, Pop always says, is that it's not about who's fastest or strongest but who can adapt to changing situations. 
Under the Empyrean Sky is set in the midwest in the aftermath of a forced agricultural monoculture (something I'm absolutely terrified of).  Everybody down on earth is forced to grow an inedible variety of corn that's used for fuel and other products by the overlords living on flotillas in the sky.  Golden Prolific is the most aggressive, invasive, scientifically enhances vegetable to ever exist.  This kudzu vines on miracle grow times a thousand.  (If you don't know about the kudzu vine get googling!).

The book drops you right into the middle of the action with Cael and his crew of scavengers, setting a breakneck pace that carries the novel.  The book has a great voice, slightly uneducated with it's own slang but without being full dialect or difficult to read.  It's just enough to give it atmosphere.  

For me, the main flaw with this book was when it started jumping between characters point of views.  The book was over halfway finished before it jumped heads and it was so jarring that I went back and had to re-read that section.  I hadn't even realized it was in the 3rd person because it had followed the main character so closely.  Suddenly we were in other people's heads and I was confused.  I understand how this might become a necessity for the next book but I feel it should've started earlier or followed Cael less closely.

Overall, this book is good.  It's been awhile since I've been able to actually say that about a dystopian.  It deals with a realistic problem (invasive/monocultural plants), a controlling government, actually has family members who are involved in the story and a whole lot more pluses than minuses.  It's nice to see that as a genre dystopian still has something to offer.

I received a free advance reading e-book in exchange for an honest review. 


Kelly Sandidge said...

This sounds very interesting! I may have to check it out.

Nicole Hewitt said...

I've been seeing this book around recently. I'll have to check it out!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Cassi Haggard said...

I think it's worthwhile!

Cassi Haggard said...

If you're missing decent dystopian at all I would.