If you’re a fan of science fiction, mecha anime, classical mythology, and strong female leads, The City of Five Skies will make your head spin.
Lex, one of many condemned Empyreans struggling to survive in Troezen, tries to find her place in this corrupt enginestate. Her blood and secret power, however, send her down a very unique and violent path.
Keep reading my book review to find out about the start to William Z. Stone’s Cyberblade universe and some key features that make it special.
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Imaginative Mythological Mix
Let’s face it, artists will never stop recycling classical mythology. You just have to dive in and appreciate what each one comes up with. The City of Five Skies takes matters to a whole new level as it mashes Roman, Greek, Japanese, and other cultures with a high-tech sci-fi universe.
Imagine Blade Runner or Altered Carbon but with extra robots, guns, and anime influences, as well as all kinds of classical references. It does get a bit overwhelming at times, but it’s all part of the fun.
Lex – or Alexandra Vulcan – is quite a compelling character. She starts off as a physically meak but very smart girl with a talent for all things mechanical. As she delves deeper and deeper into the gang-riddled underworld of Troezen, Lex develops into a powerful woman with a noble purpose.
At its heart, The City of Five Skies is a coming-of-age story. It sees a child carry the weight of her family, cruel city, and personal struggles, not to mention severe traumas, while trying to make her world at least a little bit better. A colourful cast of characters makes her journey that much more intriguing.
Balanced Action and Depth
There’s plenty of action for the adrenaline buffs out there, from droid battles to high-speed chases. The plot does tend to lose itself in the excitement, but some emotional moments throughout the book balance things out.
They give this rather fast-paced story the pauses it needs to illustrate deeper societal and psychological contexts. Even though everything could have been slowed down and simplified, the book’s overall effect is very satisfying.
As far as YA sci-fi books go, The City of Five Skies is a good one. Despite mostly structural flaws, it’s well-written, engaging, and sure to keep you entertained from start to finish. It’ll also be amusing to see just how far Cyberblade will push its classical and mechanical hodgepodge.
Buy your copy: Amazon, Waterstones, AbeBooks
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