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Lyla Cork
Author
The Sky Place
Lyla Cork, author

Ancient Maya magic sparks a man’s quest to save his dying wife in THE SKY PLACE. When a Maya princess of Tikal is captured by the king of Caracol, she expects to find only death. Instead, she finds love in the arms of the king’s younger brother. He cannot save her from the sacrificial knife, but he can use the secrets of the daykeepers in a desperate bid to bring her back to life.

Fourteen hundred years later, Mitch Hudson is hoping those same secrets will save his wife. With time closing in, Mitch must convince his old friend to do the forbidden—call the ancient goddess at the Sky Place and battle for a second chance at life. Can he defeat the gods of the underworld and save his wife, or will the lords of Xibalba reign supreme?

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot/Idea: Cork conjures up a narrative that, despite a simple premise, is built upon a layer of complicated characters that occasionally echoes twisted fare like Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart. However, cloudy morals and dubious protagonists may serve as worthy obstacles to more discerning readers, who might find little to agree with in regards to action and justification.

Prose: Cork's prose oscillates between ergonomic and expository, with one often unsettling the other's balance. The dialogue struggles to manifest itself in an organic way, often the victim of explanatory bouts; however, Cork's descriptive work frequently sparkles throughout the novel.

Originality: A highly interesting and unique concept loses its wind somewhat as the story unfolds, to ultimately reveal more familiar ground.

Character Development/Execution: Cork's characters offer readers a more complicated dive into human affairs, though this often acts as a double-edged sword, painting portraits of people that readers may be reticent to root for.

Date Submitted: June 09, 2022

Reviews
-Rebecca Coutant, author of the guidebook 50 Big Things To Do On Ambergris Caye

I loved The Sky Place. The author impressively, and unexpectedly, weaves together two very different stories - one of a modern-day Houstonian trying anything to save his dying wife - and the other, of ancient Maya warriors, royalty, and unexpected love.  She is a beautiful writer (I'm a bit jealous) - and really brought out the beauty and magic that is Belize - both past and present. A bit of fantasy, history, romance, and lots of vivid description...Sky Place is an engaging novel and just a really good read.

-Shaun Green

I loved this fantasy novel, which opens with a battle between warring Maya states, then quickly switches to the present time with an attempted kidnapping.

The action is continuous, and the flash-backs and flash-forwards kept me engaged in the two plot lines. One of the main characters (a real scumbag) who is cheating on his wife and girlfriend for reasons that are revealed later in the book, needs to return to Belize and connect with ancient Maya rituals which then introduces the God of Death - a really fun character, who I loved. 

There are fascinating insights into Maya culture and their life in Belize along with beautiful descriptions of the country and its heritage and historical sights. This is an exciting read that kept me turning pages.

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