Book Review: Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley

Book Review: Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley


Release Date: March 16th 2021
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

This is a place where we can be alone, together.

Skyward Inn, on the moorlands of the Western Protectorate, is removed from modern technology and politics. Theirs is a quiet life – The Protectorate has stood apart from the coalition of world powers that has formed. Instead the inhabitants choose to live simply, many of them farming by day and drinking the local brew at night.

The co-owners of the inn are Jem and Isley. Jem, a veteran of the coalitions’ war on the perfect, peaceful planet of Qita, has a smile for everyone in the bar. Her partner Isley does his cooking in the kitchen and his brewing in the cellar. He’s Qitan, but it’s all right – the locals treat him like one of their own. They think they understand him, but it’s only Jem who knows his homeland well enough to recreate it in the stories she tells him at dawn.

Skyward Inn is Jamaica Inn by way of Ursula Le Guin, bringing the influences, too, of Angela Carter, Michel Faber and Jeff Vandermeer to create a fantastic story of love, belonging, and togetherness. Asking questions of ideas of the individual and the collective, of ownership and historical possession, and of the experience of being human, it is at once timeless and thoroughly of its time.

Review

Skyward Inn is the strange and beautiful story of Jem and Isley – the co-owners of an inn in the moorlands of the Western Protectorate. Their life is a quiet one, away from the modern advancements in technology and politics. We are similarly introduced to Fosse – Jem’s son who lives with his Uncle. All three characters are trying to find acceptance in this world and survive a world of aliens and travel between planets.

Skyward Inn is quite a quiet story. It has some absolutely stunning prose and it pulls you in with its beautiful words and the intricate world building. It’s not an overly big book and I found myself becoming completely lost in the story – I pretty much read the book in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon.

Whiteley has created some incredibly fascinating characters all of whom are searching for something. The story focuses on acceptance, community and the idea of belonging. It’s a cleverly executed tale and one that has definitely made me keen to read more from Aliya Whiteley. The relationships in this story were really interesting – particularly the strained relationship between Jem and her son Fosse.

Skyward Inn is a moving and thought provoking tale, completely unlike anything I’ve read before. It’s a clever story and one I can’t recommend highly enough.

Book Review: The Human Son – Adrian J. Walker

Book Review: The Human Son – Adrian J. Walker

Header (55)
Release Date:
April 28th 2020
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 500
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.25/5 stars

Synopsis

500 YEARS IN THE FUTURE, EARTH IS A PARADISE… WITHOUT US.

The Earth was dying, and only the Erta could save it. Created to be genetically superior, hyper-intelligent and unburdened by the full range of human emotions, they succeeded by removing the cause: humans.

Now the Erta are faced with a dilemma—if they reintroduce the rebellious and violent Homo sapiens, all of their work could be undone.

They decide to raise one child: a sole human to decide if we should again inherit the Earth.

But the quiet and clinical Ima finds that there is more to raising a human than she had expected; and there is more to humanity’s history than she has been told.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-15T131539.279The Human Son is a unique and compelling tale that follows a race of people known as the Erta who, 500 years in the future, have saved the Earth from dying. Now they have a decision to make, do they reintroduce humans (who caused all the damage) or allow the human race to become extinct. Ima is tasked with raising a human child as an experiment, to decide to the fate of humanity. But as she watches the child grow, Ima finds a lot more than she expected.

This clever tale is an engaging read, one that gives the reader plenty to think about in terms of human nature and the destruction of the Earth. It was unlike anything I had read before and I thought the premise was completely fascinating. The story really tackles the idea of what it means to be human and I found it quite an engrossing topic.

The story is a very character driven one, focusing on the relationship between Ima and Reed as well as how Ima’s relationships with the other Erta change as Reed grows. We follow the two through all ages of Reed’s development and it was fascinating seeing their relationship change, how Ima changes in her role as parent. Because it was such a character driven read it is on the slower paced side, so I found some parts – particularly in the middle – harder to get through.

The Human Son is a beautifully written book, with a really compelling premise. If you love character driven science fiction, this is definitely a must read.
3 Stars (1)