Ao never believed in monsters—not after being branded one since childhood. Exiled, he lives with his adoptive guardian, Kaisei Aizawa, amidst verdant valleys surrounded by desolation.
Humanity only had themselves to blame for the wretched landscape. Their war poisoned the seas. Their greed coveted the fertile and the green.
Their ambition set it ablaze.
One hundred years had passed since the war banished Talus to the skies. Doomed to chase the sun, the once proud nation survives as a floating city. But the fallen always hunger for more.
When the Talarians descend to claim the earth as their own, Ao escapes capture—but nothing is without its price. The only man he ever saw as family, Kaisei, is imprisoned instead.
Ao vows to rescue him, no matter the cost—even if it means taking a stand against the most powerful nation left on earth. He knows of the risks. He knows of the dangers. But never would he know that someday, somehow, he would finally believe in monsters.
Plot: The post-apocalyptic rescue trope is well-developed and, in places, has an almost Ocean’s 11 feel to it. Where it trips slightly is with the plethora of loose ends left lying about that only vaguely seem to connect to the main storyline. There is definitely a great sense of adventure and even wonder to the narrative – it’s easy to get lost in the storytelling, but then lose pieces of the plot as things progress.
Prose/Style: Well-written and vividly detailed, the prose flows beautifully, pulling readers into a sensory experience. The action sequences are particularly well done.
Originality: With reflections of some of the great post-apocalyptic YA stories to come out in the past decade, the novel stands on its own thanks to tight writing and the foundations of exceptional worldbuilding.
Character Development: While Ao, the main character, is fairly clearly drawn, and one or two of the secondary characters, like Daru, seem fleshed out, character motivation aside from the rescue of Doc is relatively murky. The novel begins in media res and never fully explains the backstory needed to truly connect with the characters.
Date Submitted: August 02, 2020