Title: The Skylighter
By: Becky Wallace
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner.
As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.
And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?
With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.
If you love a strong heroine, a non-triangle romance, magic, and a well-developed plot, this book (and series) is for you.
At the end of The Storyspinner, the author left her readers in a dreaded awe state. I’m not going to spoil the first book, but I’m just going to tell you, there are some mouth-dropping moments and you will immediately want to read the second book.
The Skylighter picks up with the same routine of weaving between different character perspectives. I really liked that each chapter is a different character’s perspective, because it exceptionally drives the plot and smoothly carries the reader through moments of much awaited kissage scenes; ruthless, but carefully articulated war tactics; and more importantly spies, twists, and sacrifices that I didn’t even see coming. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME, Becky?
As I read The Skylighter, I honestly saw each scene as a strategic puzzle piece that connects and interlocks Johanna’s, the main heroine, past to her present and future. I found the world building to be very reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, in that the characters are not only connected to their heritage, but also to the land and the treasured magic that surrounds them. More importantly, the idea of choice is critically analyzed among each character, which definitely helped the story progress. For example, it gave the minor characters, like Dom, Jacaré, Pira, and Leão, an extra boost of importance and drive in a story that is mainly centered on Johanna and Rafi. I loved how Wallace took each minor character and threw them into dreadful challenges that tested their perseverance and willpower, which definitely brought them to life on the page.
The scenes between Johanna and Rafi are gripping, fiery, and swoonworthy. Additionally, as I read The Skylighter, I was really happy how Dom, Rafi’s roguish, young brother, unfolded as a character. Throughout the novel, Dom takes initiative to help his family and Johanna’s cause by making dire, unselfish choices. Overall, all of the characters, even the minor ones, each deal with a conflict that is emotionally binding and/or physically demanding. In the end, their choices dynamically change them, which I think makes the story captivating and extraordinary.
Oh, and the ending! SO PERFECT! I think Wallace’s readers are going to enjoy the calculated decisions that each of the characters make and how the book ends.
RANTS: I love that this series is a duology, but I’m greedy and want more. I WANT MORE JOHANNA! I WANT MORE RAFI! I WANT MORE JOHANNA AND RAFI SCENES! AND AFTER READING THE SKYLIGHTER, I WANT MORE DOM!
RAVES: The world building in this story is excellently executed, and because the story was so captivating, I couldn’t put the book down. I read this book in ONE sitting, people! I’m a huge fantasy fan, and Becky Wallace definitely creates a magical world that ingrains the reader to be part of the characters’ challenges and life choices–emotionally involving us in an unforgettable world.
NOTE: I received this e-galley/e-ARC from the publisher on Netgalley for an honest review. All statements and opinions are mine.
The Skylighter is out on March 22, 2016. Purchase your copy from the following retailers: