Books From The Pantry: The Green Sky series by Kate Coe: Reviewed by Isha Crowe

At the writing of this review, the Green Sky series consists of five novellas, of which I have read the first four.

The novellas are set in a fantasy world, which, like most great fantasy worlds, contains magic. Unlike most great fantasy worlds, this magic is regarded as just another skill, and it’s even a tad mundane compared to the exciting new technologies of ‘spark’- the Green-Sky world’s version of electricity, which is harvested when lightning strikes the purpose-built copper-clad towers of the city of Meton – and of ‘fliyers’, airplanes engineered to be flown by air mages.

On her blog, Kate Coe, the author, quite accurately describes this series as Sparkpunk – a play on the popular genre of Steampunk.

Each novella tells a story, which is part of the greater storyline of the series. The same characters feature in every book, but the focus is another person every time, and new characters are introduced in every story. The result of this structure is that as the reader, you get to experience different aspects of this fantasy world seen from a variety of perspectives, and you fairly quickly feel quite at home under those green skies.

A downside is that the first novella Green Sky and Sparks is a bit hard to get into – since it is setup for a long story, set in a large and complicated world, there is simply too much information. Although Green Sky and Sparks can be read as a stand-alone, it is best viewed and appreciated as the start of a much greater tale.

The story and world were interesting enough to hold my attention, but I found the ending not quite satisfying. I also felt that the characters could’ve used more fleshing out. I shouldn’t have worried: the next volumes address all this.

In spite of, or perhaps because of this dissatisfaction, I purchased the next novella, read it, was hooked and went on to rapidly buy and read the third and fourth books.

Books number two Grey Stone and Steel and three High Flight and Flames tell about the war that commences when ships from Ziricon attack the coastal town of Aleric in a bid to reach Meton.

These two novellas offer an exciting read, convincingly portraying the merged technological and magical background that makes this series so exceptional. The emphasis is on action, and yet it is also in this two-volume war story that the characters really become well-rounded, relatable individuals.

Especially fascinating was the depiction of the soul-bond between Toru Idalin and S’ian. This soul- bond made its debut in the first novel, but is further developed in these subsequent volumes. As a consequence of their soul-bond, Toru and S’ian have a telepathic and empathic connection, and the author uses this to construct a highly unusual and yet perfectly smoothly worked out double point of view.

The fourth instalment Salt Winds and Wanderings is utterly different from its predecessors and so far, this is my favourite. I could barely put it down.

Featuring a new character, Obak, this novella is a poetic depiction of personal development and quiet contemplation where the sea and the wind almost become characters themselves. It is a great contrast with the previous action-focused books, and an enchanting read. Of course, it is also set in the Green Sky world, and as such, is part of the greater storyline. Familiar characters from the earlier books also return in Salt Winds and Wanderings.

I have purchased book five Empty Skies and Sunlight. I’ve had no time to read it yet, but I’m very much looking forward to once again wander under the green skies of this sparkling (pardon the pun) world.

I warmly recommend this series to everyone, but in particular, to lovers of fantasy who are ready for something refreshing and new.

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