Today, I am happy to be a part of the Sky's End blog tour hosted by JKSCommunications! Learn more about this tour and see the other tour stops here!
Sky's End (Cassiel Winters #1) by Lesley YoungGoodreads:
Release Date: July 15, 2013
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe's future at stake. Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth's new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command's top pilots and her only family, who's been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition's fierce, and she's already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once. Even the station's most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can't help Cassiel pass the second time around-so why is he so interested in her progress? If only one of her freaky deja vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide. When Cassiel's manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all. Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother-even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or'ic, the cold-as-steel Thell'eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.
Is it just me or are aliens the new vampires? I admit that I fell into that vampy fad when I was a teenager, and have started to fall into an alien obsession. It's just such an intriguing concept! Alien speculation has been around forever, but until the past year or so, I never really paid attention. Now books about aliens are increasing in YA lit, and in my library. I've really enjoyed reading them, even if I struggle to understand some of the themes. I know that I am not the most scientifically-prone (does that even make sense?) person in the world--though I loved my biology class--and reading books like this really make me remember that about myself. This is a book that, while there is a lot of action and romance, does deal with scientific elements, some of which meant completely over my head. Sky's End was an absolutely fascinating story that will appeal to those interested in what lies beyond our world.
Cassiel Winters is a space cadet with the ESE, trying to continue her studies so that one day she can study alien species. The main reason behind her joining of the ESE, though, is her missing brother. Daz was one of ESE's best pilots, but disappeared during a mission gone wrong. All has Cassiel has left of him is a note telling that says to hide. When she fails her hand-to-hand combat test, the commanders of ESE propose a way for her to stay in the program--steal her way onto an alien ship and seduce information out of said aliens. If she does this, not only could she find her brother, but she could be with the guy she's falling for, and find out the reason behind her strange "deja vu" ability.
Sky's End is very well paced. The four-hundred-something pages flew by once I really sat down to read the story. It flows pretty well, with a few shaky parts here and there. The book could've been cleaned up a bit, but there was nothing that stood out as a great negative. I believe that this was a very good debut for Young. The plot is pretty solid and definitely original. The twists were riveting, and worked in favor of the story as whole. The voice of the narrator is very realistic. As someone who is around the same age of the main character, Cassiel, I understood her thoughts and appreciated her sass and sarcasm.
Cassiel is a wonderfully fleshed-out character. The motive behind her actions are great--she wants to find her brother and bring him home safely. She's a bit of a loner, and as one of the few women in the ESE (Earth Space Exploration) program, I found that to be completely understandable. She is by no means perfect. She makes mistakes that will frustrate readers, but that will also pull out sympathy. She always means well, in the least, and does her best to do what is right. She's smart, and puts other before herself. I (for the most part) liked the other characters as well--though I couldn't tell you their names because I can't spell them, much less say them. I'm a big fan of Daz, Cassiel's brother, and I usually liked King, Daz's best friend and Cassiel's love interest. There are only two alien names that I truly remember how to spell: Or'ic and Kell'an. And that's just because we see them a lot (plus every time I saw Kell'an, I thought about Kellan Lutz aka Hottie McHot Pants).The Thell'eons (one of the main alien races in this story) have a strangely engrossing backstory and culture. That being said, there were several times within Sky's End where their behavior and actions toward Cassiel infuriated me. They are fickle characters and I'm still not one-hundred percent sure what to make of them.
The topic that Sky's End revolves around is interesting enough. Space exploration? Attractive aliens? Sounds legit! I hoped that I would be able to add this to my list of favorite sci-fi stories. Though I wouldn't go so far as to say that I loved it, this novel is fantastic debut. My enjoyment in science-fiction novels is pretty recent, but that's what really drew me into this novel in the first place. The blurb was just absolutely fascinating, which led me to have high hopes for Sky's End. Luckily, I was pretty satisfied by the time I reached the end. It's a engaging read that will leave readers ready for more.
There was a lot of… different vocabulary in this story. Everything was original, but it also made it difficult to keep up with. That's one reason why I've found it so hard to fall in love with science-fiction and fantasy novels--not because they are bad, but because they are so detailed and literally out of this world. I could've used a glossary, and an explanation of the characters. Besides that, some grammatical issues, and sloppy sentence structure I found within the text, I really enjoyed this story. I will most definitely be reading the next book. I look forward to seeing what comes next in Cassiel's life. There is so much that could be done with this story, I cannot wait to read where the author takes it!
One last random issue--what is going on with the cover? Does anyone else notice how awkward this girl's body looks? I mean, it fits in with the content of the novel, but where'd her arm go?!
I received a copy of this novel from JKSCommunications for my honest opinion and review.