Pabkins’ One Liner: Corn that will cut you, fills the farmland full of nothing to eat!
Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow ? and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie ? his first mate and the love of his life ? forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry ? angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.
Under the Empyrean Sky is categorized as ‘young adult’ which it most certainly is, but I know many would likely consider this ‘new adult’ as well because of the content. It does have realistic teen situations – now what does that mean folks? Well swearing, a sex scene and some underage drinking of course! I’m not saying all teens do those things, I’m just saying you can’t say that it doesn’t happen. And personally there are only so many times you can read the ‘edited for content’ type YA books that are out there that acts as if all teens have halos.
It’s one of those “coming of age” stories, you know the ones, where the lead character is a arrogant, snooty kid that you just want to constantly smack upside the head? Cael is one of those! I didn’t think I could like this guy any less but each page he just wormed himself a little bit deeper into that ‘characters that annoy the piss out of me’ camp. But you do see him have some big realizations throughout and you can tell that he’s going to grow into a better person. Thankfully I was really rooting for him and his buddies regardless because everyone loves an underdog and I like to spit in The Man’s eye. There were also some good supporting characters that I’m really curious to learn more about.
It has all the elements that are typical to Chuck, its dark and gritty, with gore and sadness aplenty! Oh and not to mention swearing. But here it’s done in a most creative way – you’ll hear words like “piss-blizzard.” Can you believe its a corn pollen wind storm?…think sand storm but with yellow pollen…yeah the name so fits, and its fun to say! Then there is “jeezum crow” – which is a totally made up swear phrase but I can’t help but think of another naughty phrase when I heard that. I couldn’t stop myself from saying it the rest of the weekend – annoying my husband to no end.
The premise is crazy interesting, I could totally picture this as being some whacked out American future because it takes place in ‘The Heartland.’ All they are allowed to grow is corn, and it’s not even corn they are allowed to eat, because you really can’t eat it! It’s so genetically altered it isn’t even safe to eat! They are a downtrodden lot of folks, these farmers that live beneath the floating islands or ‘flotillas’ – yeah I couldn’t help it I immediately thought tortillas. Get it, corn – tortillas – flotillas – Haha. OK, yeah so I’m not so funny. I also couldn’t help comparing Under the Empyrean Sky to the movie Children of the Corn…just without that crazy kid killing adults thing. It is just so out there that you can’t help but get pulled in.
If you are a fan of Chuck Wendig’s adult books I have no doubt that you would also enjoy this, and if you haven’t read any Chuck Wendig yet – well then you should definitely rush out and grab a either Blackbirds of The Blue Blazes!
Under the Empyrean Sky