The Sky Is Yours

The Sky Is Yours

A sprawling, genre-defying epic set in a dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons, this debut about what it’s like to be young in a very old world is pure storytelling pleasureIn the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, rea...

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Title:The Sky Is Yours
Author:Chandler Klang Smith
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Sky Is Yours Reviews

  • Karen Heuler

    People move through Chandler Klang Smith’s new novel like they’re being swept down a river—rushing, bumping into things, being redirected constantly. The world they live in—Empire City—is not a pleasant world, and the people in it aren’t particularly pleasant either and in some cases remind me of Flannery O’Connor’s grotesques. But there are moments when I was moved by the perfect details of authentic emotion—when Abby talks to Hooligan, who leads her to the greenhouse with the dead bird, for in

    People move through Chandler Klang Smith’s new novel like they’re being swept down a river—rushing, bumping into things, being redirected constantly. The world they live in—Empire City—is not a pleasant world, and the people in it aren’t particularly pleasant either and in some cases remind me of Flannery O’Connor’s grotesques. But there are moments when I was moved by the perfect details of authentic emotion—when Abby talks to Hooligan, who leads her to the greenhouse with the dead bird, for instance, and there are many more.

    People in this world, which has dragons arbitrarily raining fire on them, adjust to a life very short on explanations or improvement. Not that it’s grim; it isn’t. It’s a little gritty here and there, but it’s also an interesting world to look at, and it’s all described down to the bone. I can almost feel the texture of the island Abby (my favorite character) comes from. Torch Town still gives me shivers. All the characters have agendas that are formed by their backgrounds but also by their own weirdly arranged self-image. Who they are and what they want are questions that affect their decisions in revealing ways. Who they are and what they want after they’ve lost the thing that defines them is even more interesting. They are forced, time after time until they get it straight, to become something new to themselves. It’s the constant bumping up against fate that makes the story as involving as it is, the struggle, failure, resurrection and resistance in a world that may occasionally take notice, but then moves on—these are the things that make the book strong and involving and make the characters come alive.

    One of the many things I loved was the way Smith names things (HowFly; GoFly; grandcesters, etc.); names have a real suggestion of time and place to them, and also a sort of timeworn casualness; these words weren’t invented, they arose. The language throughout is vivid and engulfing, reflecting not only a sense of specific space, but also an evolving and responsive culture.

    Smith’s Empire City in "The Sky Is Yours" is an excursion into the possible future and it stands out, it is sui generis; it’s appalling and intensely involving as well. It’s a place that becomes a literary reference point, and its geography is overwritten by the adjustments that get made when life is both arbitrary and compelling—which is ordinary life, after all, whether

  • Jonathan Hawpe

    Wow! This is a very bold, fresh, hilarious, sad and smart combination of literary satire and apocalyptic Scifi. It manages to combine elements of a futuristic Austenesque marriage plot with a Vonnegut/Saunders style blackly humorous take on virtual reality TV celebrity culture, and a strange decaying city a la Philip K. Dick novelizing Escape From New York. And Dragons! Should be great for fans of Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City, Kirsten Bakis' Lives of the Monster Dogs, Nick Harkaway's Gone-away

    Wow! This is a very bold, fresh, hilarious, sad and smart combination of literary satire and apocalyptic Scifi. It manages to combine elements of a futuristic Austenesque marriage plot with a Vonnegut/Saunders style blackly humorous take on virtual reality TV celebrity culture, and a strange decaying city a la Philip K. Dick novelizing Escape From New York. And Dragons! Should be great for fans of Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City, Kirsten Bakis' Lives of the Monster Dogs, Nick Harkaway's Gone-away World, or G. Willow Wilson's Alif the Unseen. I will be recommending it heartily at my book store.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    It’s rare that I find myself at a loss for words about a book, and while I’m sure I can come up with any number of adjectives to describe Chandler Klang Smith’s The Sky Is Yours, I doubt even that would be sufficient to give the full picture of the novel. This is just one of those once-in-a-lifetime books with a story that is much bigger than the sum of its parts, and can’t be easily summarized or placed neatly into any

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    It’s rare that I find myself at a loss for words about a book, and while I’m sure I can come up with any number of adjectives to describe Chandler Klang Smith’s The Sky Is Yours, I doubt even that would be sufficient to give the full picture of the novel. This is just one of those once-in-a-lifetime books with a story that is much bigger than the sum of its parts, and can’t be easily summarized or placed neatly into any one category. Here’s to giving it my best shot, though!

    Imagine a city, at once high-tech and futuristic, but also burned-out and falling apart. This is Empire Island, where our story takes place. High above in the skies, a pair of dragons continually rain down fire upon the buildings and citizens, creating mass havoc. This has been going on for so many years that they have become a become a fixture on the landscape; those who could not bear the constant threat of destruction have long since fled the city, while those who chose to remain have learned to live with the new reality.

    As such, Empire Island has become a place of dichotomies. Within its crumbling underbelly there lives a thriving world of danger and violence, where the gangs are effectively in control. Meanwhile, the rich and the famous live in decadence and luxury, safely shielded from the chaos and poverty in their own backyard. One of our main protagonists, Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, is a young man who belongs to this wealthy upper class. As the scion of one of the city’s oldest and most powerful families, he is also the star of a reality TV show called Late Capitalism’s Royalty, and just like the monarchies of old, his parents have decided that it is time for their pampered and foppish teenage son to be married. A betrothal is thus arranged between Ripple and the Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg—AKA Swanny—whose mother will stop at nothing to see her daughter become ruler of all of Empire Island.

    But before he can formerly meet Swanny, Ripple ends up crashing his hover car into a landfill, where he meets a young feral woman who has been living among the trash. Her name is Abracadabra—Abby for short—and she has been waiting her whole life for her prince to drop from the skies. Ripple becomes quite taken with Abby too, and when he is eventually rescued by his family, he decides to bring her along.

    More than this, I dare not say for fear of revealing anything else; The Sky Is Yours is one of those books where it’s best to go in with a blank slate, the better to be surprised by all its wonders and oddities. The imagination and creativity displayed here is off the charts. It’s almost overwhelming at first; at times it felt like I was thrown into a hyper-imaginative child’s dreams without a tether, with the amount of new sights and sounds you have to take in, but the world is so amazing that you can’t help but give it your full attention. The writing also made it easy to immerse myself; Chandler Klang Smith’s prose is incredibly polished and well put together considering this is her debut, and the story’s wry, humorous tones succeeded in drawing me deeper into the plot.

    This book is also populated with a number of fascinating characters. Ripple is a spoiled, self-absorbed, and impudent brat with a terrible case of “affluenza”, and yet I enjoyed reading from his perspective despite his many flaws. I watched with a perverse satisfaction as he lost everything and had to bumble his way through life in a series of events that were packed with both tragedy and hilarity. Then there’s Swanny, who is a study in contrasts. Intelligent, proper, and well-read, she’s nevertheless capable of the most outrageous thoughts and acts. Swanny’s anger is something to behold, though her character does mellow out somewhat once she discovers that a bizarre condition she suffers from will end her life prematurely. And finally, we have Abby, a girl who has been living wild in junkyard, scavenging for her survival. Before Ripple crash-landed on her doorstep, Abby believed all people to be evil half-machines—clearly, she has been alone for a long time with only her pet vulture for a companion—and her naivete can be as irritating as it is endearing.

    Needless to say, this book will not be for everyone. Its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness, with the sheer weight of its creativity and uniqueness threatening to overwhelm or sidetrack the reader. Sometimes I felt like I was reading an epic fantasy complete with noble houses, dragons, and a sprawling quest line involving an orphan’s search for her true parents; at other times it felt like I was lost in a futuristic sci-fi dystopian not unlike Blade Runner, and the dissonance caused by this might prove jarring for some. Though I enjoyed the first and last sections of the novel immensely, I also felt the middle part of the story faltered by focusing on too many threads and meandering a little off-track. And finally, some readers might find the characters too off-putting. Ripple, Swanny, and Abby are all products of their environment and upbringing, and their flaws are the results of their individual circumstances. However, because they are also a part of this strange and unfamiliar world, some of their more eccentric or extreme personality traits can make them difficult to connect with.

    If you’re seeking something fresh and completely out of this world though, look no further because The Sky Is Yours is the book you’ve been waiting for. I really enjoyed it for the most part, despite some of the plot’s more confounding and meandering moments, but readers with an interest in genre mash-ups and exploring strange new worlds should find Chandler Klang Smith’s debut irresistible and satisfying.

  • Faith

    It is really hard to describe this book, and too much description would probably spoil it anyway. Just know that it is decidedly weird with extremely imaginative world building. I had a difficult time getting into the story due to strange speech patterns and invented words that initially put me off. I'm glad that I persisted however because I wound up liking the book, more for its world and the characters rather than for the plot, which wasn't all that compelling and petered out at the end.

    In th

    It is really hard to describe this book, and too much description would probably spoil it anyway. Just know that it is decidedly weird with extremely imaginative world building. I had a difficult time getting into the story due to strange speech patterns and invented words that initially put me off. I'm glad that I persisted however because I wound up liking the book, more for its world and the characters rather than for the plot, which wasn't all that compelling and petered out at the end.

    In the post-apocalyptic ruined city of Emerald Island Duncan Humphrey Ripple V (Ripple) is about to marry Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg (Swanny) in an arranged marriage joining two wealthy families. For 50 years the city has been periodically torched by two dragons and a dragon attack causes Ripple to crash his flying vehicle and be helped by Abracadabra (Abby) a feral waif-like girl. When he is finally rescued, Ripple brings Abby home with him, basically as his sex toy. Part I of the book brought these characters together and described their families. It was my favorite part of the book and Swanny was my favorite character. Her first meeting with Ripple doesn't go well. "You are the most despicable chauvinist I could ever hope to encounter; it is as though you looked into my secret heart and answered every fear with your Neanderthal's 'hell yeah'. And while we're on the subject of each other's mothers, as we were a while ago, I'd like to express my admiration for the immigrant showgirl who gave you life. Digging for gold is exhausting work. I now know from experience. Thank you for the intoxicants. Also, I hate your dog." Ripple's assessment of Swanny after he gets to know her better: "It's a toss-up: that fem loves her crème fraîche, but there's also a heaping dose of murder rage squeezed into those ruffly plus-sized outfits."

    Part II of the book dragged a little and Part III felt rushed. Also, don't get your hopes up about the dragons because they are barely in the book and they really can't compete with the other bizarre stuff going on here.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Blair

    is an outrageously colourful fantasy that might take place in the far future, or it might be set on another planet or in an alternate universe. Empire Island has reality TV, video streaming (the 'Toob') and phone-like devices (the 'LookyGlass') alongside flying machines, a network of underground canals and a purpose-built prison district. For the upper classes, arranged marriages, designed to consolidate the fortunes of two prominent families, are typical. Thus Ripple – aka Dunc

    is an outrageously colourful fantasy that might take place in the far future, or it might be set on another planet or in an alternate universe. Empire Island has reality TV, video streaming (the 'Toob') and phone-like devices (the 'LookyGlass') alongside flying machines, a network of underground canals and a purpose-built prison district. For the upper classes, arranged marriages, designed to consolidate the fortunes of two prominent families, are typical. Thus Ripple – aka Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoilt, laddish former star of

    – has been reluctantly betrothed to Swanny – aka the Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, a voracious reader and hopeful romantic with an unfortunate problem involving the continual eruption of extra teeth. But before they even meet in real life, Ripple crash-lands in the middle of a landfill and hooks up with Abby, a girl who's been living wild as a scavenger and has come to believe the inhabitants of Empire Island are evil, half-robot 'People Machines'.

    By the time Swanny rocks up at the Ripple estate, her would-be fiancé is ensconced with Abby (with whom he's having copious amounts of sex, described in unnecessary and disturbing detail). Needless to say, the marriage is practically over before it begins. Then a string of even more disastrous events sends Swanny (who now hates Ripple), Ripple (who's tiring of Abby) and Abby (who has become obsessed with finding her parents) into the chaos of the city itself. Here, two enormous dragons circle above the wrecked metropolis, occasionally dropping down to torch buildings – and people. Our protagonists go their separate ways, each embarking on a wildly imaginative adventure with various degrees of success. The most interesting narrative belongs to Swanny, who ends up in the notorious Torchtown, and whose unconventional, oddly touching romance provides the plot with some much-needed emotional resonance.

    Of the three main characters, there was only one (Swanny) I found bearable; it would've been nice if Ripple had made at least

    progress towards growing out of his misogyny by the end, and I found Abby's arc a bit formulaic and couldn't warm to her bizarre personality. But this is a rich, entertaining and unpredictable novel nonetheless. The 'trashed splendour' of Empire Island is vivid and I rarely knew what was going to happen next. Unique, inventive fun.

    The Sky is Yours

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  • Lena

    This book is really hard to describe but here goes: Jane Austen meets

    in an early post apocalypse setting with dragons.

    Reality star of

    is the scion, and embarrassment, of the last great family of Empire Island. He’s a douchy harmless pretty boy trying to figure things out.

    This book is really hard to describe but here goes: Jane Austen meets

    in an early post apocalypse setting with dragons.

    Reality star of

    is the scion, and embarrassment, of the last great family of Empire Island. He’s a douchy harmless pretty boy trying to figure things out.

    A storm of a woman: intelligence, pride, rage, pettiness, girth. Her mother will stop at nothing to see Swanny as Empress of Empire Island. Stronger shoulders have broken under such weight.

    Raised in isolation on an island of garbage the feral beauty has magic unknown to the world.

    These are just the top three unique and well written characters.

    And no, this is not a classic love triangle. Each character has their own journey. I loved that.

    What I did not like was the lack of world building. There should be a warning on the jacket that this is a liminal space story.

    If you enjoy gorgeously strange character driven dramas, pros and fems, this one’s for you.

  • jenni

    A completely unreasonable fantasy novel ft. a cacophonous alt-Manhattan island and a pair of perplexing hyper-objects in the form of DRAGONS complete with oligarchical mansions the size of city blocks, a (quite literally) incendiary penal colony bent on lawlessness and potent hallucinogens, a hopelessly sheltered romantic and misinformed baroness with a credible intellect but an unpleasant mutation, a reality-TV-addled man-child heir with contempt for restraint and responsibility, and a feral-ch

    A completely unreasonable fantasy novel ft. a cacophonous alt-Manhattan island and a pair of perplexing hyper-objects in the form of DRAGONS complete with oligarchical mansions the size of city blocks, a (quite literally) incendiary penal colony bent on lawlessness and potent hallucinogens, a hopelessly sheltered romantic and misinformed baroness with a credible intellect but an unpleasant mutation, a reality-TV-addled man-child heir with contempt for restraint and responsibility, and a feral-child reared in the dump with a slightly telekinetic ability that may or may not be part of the solution to the current crisis-levels of sheer fucking madness going on in this book.

  • Stormi (Bewitched Reader)

    These reviews are my least favorite to write. And I've had two of them in one week. The Sky is Yours is a very creative and well written book. This is actually the entire reason I gave this book one star. I really tried to like this book, but I just couldn't. I didn't like any of the characters and I didn't really get the point of the story. I kept pushing through hoping that something would change and everything would click and I would end up changing my mind about this book, but that never hap

    These reviews are my least favorite to write. And I've had two of them in one week. The Sky is Yours is a very creative and well written book. This is actually the entire reason I gave this book one star. I really tried to like this book, but I just couldn't. I didn't like any of the characters and I didn't really get the point of the story. I kept pushing through hoping that something would change and everything would click and I would end up changing my mind about this book, but that never happened.

    Even though I didn't enjoy this book, I do think there is an audience out there who will absolutely love it. So please, if you are someone who typically enjoys dystopian sci-fi adventures and this blurb intrigues you, give this one a chance. Maybe you will completely disagree with me and this will be your next 5-Star read.

    I voluntarily received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Amy

    It was really impressive how quickly I hated this book. Absolutely could not stand it.

    This review is in exchange for a free copy received from bloggingforbooks.com.

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