Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 244 Pages
At a Glance: An interesting concept, a fascinating world, and, overall, a good story but not without some bumps.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
Review: Is there anything more attractive than the idea of people having wings? For me, at least, there isn’t. Since I was younger, I’ve always relished the idea of having actual wings attached to my back, and whenever I see those “Would you rather?” questions about super powers, I always gravitate towards the wings. I want the power of flight, but I better have some big, beautiful wings to do it. I don’t care how much they get in the way. Bring it on!
With that said, Skythane appealed to me. The cover is gorgeous, and I liked the idea of people who at one point were genetically engineered to have wings. That, coupled with a world that is literally split in half, and I was hooked. It sounded like such a fascinating premise. Mixing science fiction and fantasy is not always a good move, and there are many authors who have attempted to do so and failed, but Coatsworth pulled it off nicely. While the first half of the book was more focused on the science fiction, the latter half was dedicated to the fantasy, and the divide was done neatly.
Xander is a skythane man living in Oberon, a planet that has literally been split in two by some cataclysmic event in the ancient past. How it happened and how the planet doesn’t collapse, no one knows. He is given a job to collect a psych who is coming to work for OberCorp to discover the pith shortage.
Jameson is the psych, a lander from the religious world of Beta Tau. He’s a bit stuffy, does his job well, and is more or less resigned to the fact that he is going to marry a woman. It’s what his parents want, after all.
When the two men meet, they are immediately attacked by enforcers from OberCorp, and soon their entire lives are flipped upside down. Nothing is safe and they no longer know who they even are. When Xander’s friend Quince arrives to help them, it becomes clear she has a lot of secrets she’s been keeping, and she is planning something big. But what?
Xander and Jameson were interesting characters. I enjoyed seeing Xander grow as a character and become more serious and focused on his forced task. Jameson grew even more. Not only did he discover his true past, but he became a strong individual determined to do what needs to be done in order to save the world.
Quince was a bit hit or miss for me. While I did like her character, she made some choices that I had serious problems with.
While it bothered me just a little bit at first, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I don’t know whether to believe the characters truly care about each other, or if their feelings are because of the drug. And that is disappointing.
Morgan was an interesting character, but I wanted to know more about him. He’s introduced randomly, and he becomes integral to the plot, driving it along at the perfect times (and conveniently so) in order to get to the end goal…and then nothing. What is he? Why was he at the abandoned farm? Was he placed there for Xander? How long was he waiting?
Two other things bothered me, not enough to not enjoy the book but enough that I noticed it and was bothered by it. First, the use of flashbacks. They’re used often. A little too often, to be honest, and while they reveal interesting things, I wish it had been done a little less or in different ways. Finally, the lack of sex scenes. Now, I don’t need sex scenes in a book to enjoy it; however, the author hinted at them throughout the book and I was getting excited to see the tension between Jameson and Xander finally break (plus, hey, hot wing sex), but when the moment comes, it fades to black very quickly. This lack also helped in my wondering how much the characters truly cared about each other because I couldn’t feel it.
Overall, I did enjoy the story. I really did. I liked the characters and the world building was fascinating. The explanation for how the worlds were able stay without crumbling and collapsing under the force of gravity was explained in a very unique way. The book is also left WIDE OPEN for a sequel ,and I’m curious as to what will happen because I was unsettled by the ending. So, will I read the next book? Yes, I will.
Fans of sci-fi fantasy blends should enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of men with the power of flight due to gorgeous wings, then this will also appeal to you as it appealed to me.
You can buy Skythane here: