Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

Sometimes dystopia can introduce itself with a poetic picture. Imagine endless fields of corn, a blue sky with a warm sun. A hovering "ship" sails through the crop. On it are a few youngsters racing against another team. Seems idyllic, doesn't it? But the illusion is soon dispelled.

Currently i have the trend to run/read into trilogies. This is an unfinished (or at least not completely published) one. To my sorrow, the second part is not even announced yet.

So i will have to wait a bit till i can read more (which i will) about Caen and the world he lives in. The novel does a good job of introducing both.

Agriculture is the backbone of his world, but is bereft even of the little romanticism our industry-like version still has. The work is hard and unhealthy. The only way to escape seems to the scavenging which Caen, the lead character, wants to pursue.

But he soon has to find out, that more than the odds are against him. Not only shapes the corn the land unpleasantly; the elite has found has literally found a way to rise up above the peasants. They leave collaborators behind, who, for the price of scraps, keep the others in place. But the real stranglehold turns out to be something else.

Add to this the danger of losing his love to two mutual exclusive threats, he has no other option than to start resisting. So he does and discovers, that he is not the first to follow this path.

The book reminds me of Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games". It is written in a similar, young adult style. The world building is better, more consistent. Therefor it reads even more easily and gave me some pleasant hours. Again, i have to thank John Scalzi for introducing me to a new author.

You find this novel at Amazon,