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Review: Skythane

Skythane - J. Scott Coatsworth

Just got a great review of Skythane from Rari at Queer Sci Fi:

Genre: Sci-Fantasy

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, Lesbian

Get It On Amazon | Universal Buy Link

About The Book

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 Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man 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.

The Review

This is the first book by this author that I’m reading, and I believed this to be Sci Fi from the reviews. But having read it, I would categorise it more as Sci-Fantasy, since the nimfeach are spirits and the waygates have no scientific explanation. 

Oberon is half a world. The other half of the planet is missing and there is only the Split, the part where the other half seems to have sheared off, and where electronics don’t work. Oberon is also a technologically advanced world with a well defined division between the haves and have nots. The planet is being run by OberCorp, which cares only for making profits.

The story opens with Quince, a winged Skythane female, who recalls a mission entrusted to her by the nimfeach, which appear to be higher beings with prophetic powers. Though we aren’t told what the mission is, the reader gets to know it has something to do with Xander, a Skythane man, and Jameson, a psych who is coming to Oberon on an inspection for Obercorp. Skythanes are the first wave of settlers in Oberon, who have wings. While we are told they adapted to the conditions here and developed wings, it doesn’t really sound like evolution to me. However, I digress.

Jameson is met by Xander, who has been hired by Obercorp to take Jameson to the Outlands for his inspection. Jameson had been expecting to go to the Obercorp HQ, and is naturally suspicious, but has no way to get away from Xander once he has climbed on to his hoverbike. They are attacked by a group that appears to be from Obercorp, and are then rescued by Quince,who helps get them to the Outlands, where she tells them about their origins and the truth behind Oberon’s history.

The story is extremely engaging. I loved how the relationship between Xander and Jameson develops. Jameson is my favourite character, because I found him the most relatable. He has to face facts which make his whole life a lie, and to adjust his entire world view within a few short days, and he does it with commendable grace and poise. Though he does freak out initially – who wouldn’t? – he is still remarkably composed about the whole thing.

Morgan, the strange boy that Xander finds with even stranger powers, is also an interesting character. I hope to see more of him, and an explanation in the coming books. The story does end in what can be considered a romantic cliffhanger, which makes me want to pick up the next book, if only to find out what’s going to happen between Xander and Jameson next.

Content warning: The book has darker themes of abuse, sexual assault of children and adults, homophobia, both internalised and otherwise, and forced mutilation, mostly off page

I loved the book, the world, the characters and the writing. If you enjoy sci-fantasy, science fiction, memorable queer characters, and well developed worlds, you will love this book.

The Reviewer

Rari is an author and editor writing under the name of Niranjan K. She is an avid reader of all things fantasy, and loves to discourse at length about her favourite books as well as shows. This blog is the space where she will be sharing her views and insights of the books, shows and movies that she likes.

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