2021 · ARC · Review

Review – Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley

I loved the blurb on this book: “This is a place where we can be alone, together.” It took a turn though.

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.

Skyward Inn

by Aliya Whiteley

Drink down the brew and dream of a better Earth.

Skyward Inn, within the high walls of the Western Protectorate, is a place of safety, where people come together to tell stories of the time before the war with Qita.

But safety from what? Qita surrendered without complaint when Earth invaded; Innkeepers Jem and Isley, veterans from either side, have regrets but few scars.

Their peace is disturbed when a visitor known to Isley comes to the Inn asking for help, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future.

Did humanity really win the war?

This is Jamaica Inn by way of Jeff Vandermeer, Ursula Le Guin, Angela Carter and Michel Faber, a beautiful story of belonging, identity and regret.

  • Set in Devon but in a futuristic world

I was excited about going into this story without knowing exactly what to expect. Then it took a turn and I wasn’t sure. Now that I finished, I still don’t know what to think really. I just don’t know. But I did like the world. It’s a futuristic but historic setting and the mix is great.

The story is divided into 5 parts. The first 4 parts are all set on Earth and follow the members of the village in Devon. This was the logical part of the story. Then part 5 happened. It was pretty much just as long as the previous 4 parts put together. This is where the weirdness happens. Most of the story was built up nicely without any major surprises.

The story follows two characters, a mother and her son and its narrated by both throughout the book. The mother has returned from her space missing and is running an inn with her alien friend. Her son is struggling with life, puberty and trying to become an adult.

The world-building is well-paced. It’s not too steep nor too much/little. It’s just the right amount.

It’s a simple but complex world. We are in the future but in the first part, we are in an independent part that focuses on the old skills like farming, preserving etc. So there isn’t that much worldbuilding needed int he beginning. However, the bigger picture is introduced on the first page and then slowly trickled into the story until the end where it all

Yes, its a sci-fi book and there is science, but it’s within the bounds of a standard sci-fi science and nothing has a big part in the main story.

The magic, if I can even call it that, only happens in part 5 and its weird. But the author describes it well without it losing its weirdness nor its magic. It’s difficult to explain. It’s an alien thing.

I liked the mum a lot, but as I don’t like teenage boys I didn’t like the son before part 5 when he grew up a bit.

a little on the side.

Well written. I had no issues with it and no struggles reading this book.

After writing this review, I still don’t know how I feel. I think I like it a tad more than when I started writing this review. Still, I’m not sure I want to pick up anything else from this author. When I picked it up I was not expecting this artsy “general fiction in sci-fi clothing” book, I was expecting a more traditional sci-fi book and I don’t think I ended up liking it but it is well done so there that.

Have you read this? What did you think?

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