Skyborn: 1 (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish

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Skyborn: 1 (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish

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Buy Skyborn: 1 (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Islands that float in the air, people in continual civil war defended by angel-winged airborne armies and one heck of a climax.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: November 2015
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0356506494

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Twins Kael and Bree Skyborn witness the battle in which their parents died and yet still want to follow in their footsteps. The pair train as Seraphim, members of the winged force that are on the front line of the war, proud to serve their people and the Theocrats who have devised the whole support system for their world. There are those who speak out against the Theocrats but even consorting with people like that means death. Everyone knows it and yet…

American author David Dalglish built a reputation for taking and twisting the familiar with his Shadowdance series. Now he's given us this - the first in his Seraphim series, proving he can do it again.

The story begins with the young Skyborn twins watching that fateful battle. From a relatively simple start I thought that it may be going a bit Hunger Games perhaps? A more serious Harry Potter school story maybe? Not a bit of it! Depth and twists gradually appear before us adding up to one heck of a thrill. In fact there's a feeling that this isn't not be for the same age range as Hunger Games and Potter evidenced by the blood and occasionally 'frank' language.

David's world is beautifully constructed. Think Roger Dean's early Yes album covers but with bigger air-floating islands. (Dear people younger than I am, I won't be offended if you search-engine that!) Meanwhile the ruling Theocrats deal with everything on behalf of the people from religion upwards/ downwards, even acting as judges during duels and battles after being the ones that grant permission for the ensuing conflict to be fought out.

The Seraphim themselves and their mechanical marvel wings are also important. Armed with lightening emitting elements and swords for when the elements expire, they continue the inter-island wars on behalf of populations that only need watch from a safe distance. (Ring any current affairs bells?) It all looks so easy… until you try it, as Bree finds out pretty early on in her training.

At times we may think we see the writing on the wall and feel we could predict the story arcs but I got the impression that David realises this and plays with our perceptions, especially where the twins' love interests come in. (They get one each – tis only fair, but not slushy so don't worry if you don't like your fantasy marred with kissy, huggy stuff.) It’s almost as if the author is saying 'Yes, you guessed that bit but you never foresaw this consequence did you?!'

Not only does it scream 'Excitement!' loudly, it screams 'MOVIE!' even louder. From the spectacular battle scenes to that dramatic thunderstorm and what precedes it, right through to that jaw-dropping final climax all is incredibly photogenic. In a book we are limited by our own imaginations whereas the film industry have quite a few effects they can throw at the mysteries of The Center (yes, American Theocrats!) and Heavenstone, their version of Vatican City.

For those wanting a deeper message or to look for contemporary themes in fantasy, the story speaks of the conflict between blind faith in religion and politics versus questioning and evaluation, especially when it comes to extremism. For those looking for an involving, unputdownable read, this is it.

(Thank you Orbit for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If this appeals, then we also recommend another recent first in series wonder: Black Wolves (Black Wolves Trilogy) by Kate Elliott.

Buy Skyborn: 1 (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Skyborn: 1 (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Skyborn: 1 (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Skyborn: 1 (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish at Amazon.com.

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