Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits: by her duties as a member of the royal family, by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman, and by the edge of the only world she's ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what's left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.
When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks and other terrifying creatures. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.
Written with gorgeous details, HEIR TO THE SKY by Amanda Sun is filled with adventure, dark twists, and romance.
I dangle my legs over the edge of the cliff, tapping my heels against the smoooth dirt that crumblea down the side of the continent. The sun shones brightly above, the cool morning air gushing around me. I don't fear falling. The world below looks unreal and distant like it's only been painted on. Falling is someting I can't even imagine.
Two worlds. One - A Kingdom of Floating Islands. The Other - Earth below ... riddled with Monsters. And A Girl who falls from the sky.
Princess Kallima (Kali) is heir to Ashra, a kingdom of floating continents. With the upcoming announcement of her arranged betrothal and the unexpected discovery of a secret and dangerous text are found in her father's library, Kali seeks comfort by the roaming her favorite place in Ashra - the lush and wild edges of the floating island where sky and land meet. And then the unexpected happens, she falls to the world below. One rumored to be filled with unimaginable creatures, an Earth humans left long ago in the great Rendering.
What makes HEIR TO THE SKY so appealing to read is the two separate and distinct worlds created.
The floating islands of Ashra - vivid, lush, and Utopian contrast beautifully with the wildness of a forgotten Earth - one that host fantastical and deadly creatures. For me, it was like a clash of the floating islands that reminded me of the ones in the movie Avatar and then a strange Earth overrun with mythical creatures such as Dragons and Chimeras. Both hold beauty and danger. So, readers are treated not to one world, but two. How they became separated is a running plot thread throughout the story and I couldn't wait to discover how they were separated and why.
The story opens up with a great setup giving readers a good feel of Ashra.
We learn about its history and the island's society and political climate. Right away, we sense a deeper agenda when Kali discovers some mysterious text while in her father's library. HEIR TO THE SKY has some surprising dark twist, giving it more depth than just a girl who falls from the sky plot. I found the mythology and history behind the creation of the floating islands fascinating. Amanda Sun weaves in details of a legendary Phoenix and the destruction of Earth, yet, there are hints throughout foreshadowing something more which kept me curiously turning the pages.
I'm Princess Kallima, daughter of the Monarch, heiress of the Red Plume and all of Ashra. The Eternal Flame of Hope for what's left of mankind,
Kali - Imperfect. genuine, real. I like her!
Kali is a heroine I immediately liked. She comes across as the type of heroine who knows her duty as a princess, yet she longs for the freedom she cannot have. One trait that causes her trouble is her trusting nature and naivety. She makes up for this though with her honesty and genuine love for her father and the people of Ashra. Though she is at times naive, she admits to her faults and tries to become more self-reliant. This becomes evident when she falls to Earth and quickly realizes how unprepared she is for anything beyond the life of a princess. She has fallen to a land of creatures that would love to make her their next snack. I like genuine, imperfect heroines that make mistakes and grow from them and that's what Kali is.
My education was all about the Phoenix and how to govern with authority and grace. It was history and language and etiquette, which fork to use when. It seems ridiculous now, standing in this wild landscape. Which fork to use? Why not teach me which plants to eat,, how to find water, how to identify crops? How far from reality have I been living?
Griffin - The Boy Who Slays Monsters
There is a touch of romance in HEIR TO THE SKY. Griffin, as a hunter of monsters, brings to the story some daring adventure as he rescues Kali from her fall to Earth. I would have loved a bit more romantic build-up and page-time and/or background on Griffin as he is a fascinating character I wanted to know about.
In The End
HEIR TO THE SKY is an enticing peek into a kingdom of floating continents and a heroine who learns to be much more than just a princess. Vivid descriptions, twists, and fantastical beasts make it a great escape read. This is a world that could have easily been expanded, yet the ending leaves you completely satisfied.