April 9, 2020

Book Review: The Skybound Sea

Sam Sykes’ The Skybound Sea, Book Three of the Aeons’ Gate Trilogy, is a remarkable cap to an absolutely action-packed trilogy.

First, the title is very enigmatic. The explanation comes well into the book as our adventurers work their way — individually or in teams — to the island of Jaga to stop Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen, from returning to the land of the living. Jaga is where sky and sea have no boundaries. The action in the skybound sea with water plants and swimming creatures acting as though they’re in the sea tweaks the imagination. It adds another level of complexity to an already somewhat less than simple plot and cast of characters.

Our heroes/heroines continue their personal battles with internal and external demons throughout this book. What remains surprisingly intact is their dedication to the quest and, by extension, to each other. All are needed to make it happen, and each works to that end. The character development, interplay and evolution is fascinating and not so fantastic. At any point, dark or light could prevail. Sykes never really lets us know until it happens.

I was very taken with Sykes’ concise and still very descriptive depiction of beings, landscape, and combat. As I’m writing this, I can still see in my mind’s eye physical attributes of various characters, the essence of the skybound sea, and the ebb and flow of the several conflicts throughout this story. Description is always key to storytelling, but essential in a fantasy story. Until the author puts pen to paper, all the color lives only in the author’s mind. In my opinion, Sam Sykes nails it.

I’m thinking we’ve not seen the last of Sam Sykes; possibly not the last of the adventuring team that survives Aeons’ Gate, either. That works for me. I for one am anticipating whatever Sykes is serving up next.

Book Review: Black Halo

Black Halo is book two in Sam Sykes’ Aeons’ Gate Series.  If you’re looking for an easy going beach read with simple characters and a twist-free plot, this ain’t your story.  Also, I’ve made notes in past reviews about starting a series in the middle.  I have not read book one of this series, and with Sykes’ penchant for character depth, that made it slow getting into this book.  Still and all, the six companions specifically are memorable.

The plot is direct, but most assuredly not twist free.  That’s not a bad thing.  Things veer off course fairly regularly.  The point of this particular book is to get the tome retrieved in book one from the Kraken Queen successfully and completely away from her. Our six companions and their various inner voices (i.e., demons, ancestors, gods and the Kraken Queen herself) and a little shipwreck make for a complex and action-filled read.

Add to the mix a heretic hunting wizard, alien warrior women with a lust for killing, and other disruptive forces, and you can see where the story line might get jiggled.

Honestly, I had a rough start jumping cold into this story line.  Starting at the very beginning would be a good thing with this series. Things do clarify as the story progresses, however.  It is very well written, rich in character and detail and cannot under any circumstances be considered dull…  I suspect the first book is similar, actionwise, so jump in from the beginning and consume the first two books of the Aeons’ Gate series.