Monday, March 21, 2016

ARC Review: The Skylighter by Becky Wallace

*** This is the second book in a series so if you haven't read The Storyspinner proceed with caution. There may be spoilers for that book but there are no spoilers for this book. Also you should absolutely read The Stroyspinner. It's amazing. Here's my review! ***

Title: The Skylighter
Series: The Keeper Chronicles #2
Written by: Becky Wallace
Published: March 22, 2006 by Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner. 

As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves. 

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself? 

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

Excuse me while I attempt to rein in my emotions because I absolutely loved this series. It is the perfect duology and such a creative YA fantasy. The Storyspinner was one of my favorite books of 2015 and I was not disappointed by it's sequel. The Skylighter was a brilliant read and an epic conclusion.

One of the most brilliant things about this book is the world. I was enthralled by the world in the first book and here it was even better. It's such a complex world that feels familiar and creative at the same time. After reading the first book I learned that it was inspired by Portuguese culture and I love the way that Becky took those inspirations and combined them with traditional fantasy tropes to make something compelling and unique. It once again felt fresh and interesting. In this book we get to explore the world even more and on a deeper level learn more about the history of the world and the magic. I really enjoy the magical system here and it was really great to see it more. It's a psuedo-elemental magic and with the high stakes of this book there was a lot more magic. It was so amazing to see the elemental magic in affect and that really added to the thrilling conclusion. 

And what a great conclusion it was. This book built to a well-plotted and fantastic ending that had me on the edge of my seat. There are lots of different plot lines here and they all came to a head in a fantastic and action-packed climax full of politics and magic. I have to admit that I didn't get a chance to reread The Storyspinner so I don't really remember the specifics about the plot of that book but as much as I would have like to, I'm not sure I really needed to. This felt like a self-contained story that resolved it's own plot points while also continuing what began in the first book. This book absolutely felt like a high-stakes end of the world epic fantasy. There are so many elements of the book that worked together to give it that tone. From the characters fleeing for their lives, to the two different armies coming after them, it was so thrilling. And I love the way that everything kind of worked together to resolve at the same time. It made for a brilliant conclusion with so much action.

The reason that there were so many different storylines that all kind of resolved at the same time is because there were lots different perspectives to this book. I'm not usually a fan of books that had multiple perspectives but here it works so well. They each added something different to the story and it flowed so well. Yes, sometimes it was frustrating to leave a character right in the think of the action but I would very quickly fall back into the story of whoever was picking up the narrative. And it helped show different corners of the world where things were happening that ended up affecting the larger plot of the story. I think the multiple perspectives really added to the story and made for a more well-rounded story.

But I also may have not minded the multiple perspectives because I absolutely love the characters in this series. They are all so complex and likable. I fell for them hard in the first book so I was really invested in their success in this one. Our main characters are absolutely Johanna and Rafi who are great heroes. Johanna is still so reluctant to be a princess and hero where Rafi is so ready to be one. It should have been stereotypical but it wasn't. Those two together were such an amazing team and while it was frustrating I enjoyed them arguing about who would save who. Here we also got to spend more time with Dom who felt a little one-note (although that note was amazing) in the first book and is so complex and interesting. And then there are the Keepers like Jacare, Pira, and Leao who add the magical side of things. Things are not very easy for these characters. I was so terrified for what was going to happen to them and my ships in this book. And none of them made it easy. I wanted to smoosh so many faces together and shake some sense into these characters but that only added to the drama. There is a large cast of characters here, many of whom get perspectives, and they all are fantastic.

On the whole, The Skylighter is a fantastic and thrilling read. This was a brilliant duology from start to finish and it ended so well. It's such a fantasy YA fantasy with a creative and compelling world, complex and likable characters, and a thrilling plot that will keep you guessing. And oh wow, is this book filled with drama. Drama and feels. I had so many feels during this book. I'm a crier, I often cry while reading, and this book had me bursting into tears at numerous times. But then when it was all over I was left with not only a great feeling of satisfaction but also a serious book hangover.

I give The Skylighter by Becky Wallace 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy! Fans of The Storyspinner will absolutely adore this second and final book in this series. It is a great return to this world with complex characters, a fantastic magical system, and an thrilling plot. And if you haven't read The Storyspinner, check it out because it's a brilliant YA fantasy.

Have you read The Skylighter? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Serious book hangover for sure! I want to re-read it when my preordered hardcover gets home because the feels and DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

  2. Yay!! So excited to read this one and yet scared and terrified for reasons and then of course just not wanting this one to end so soon! I just read The Storyspinner a month or so back and loved it! And now as I got geared up for this second book I learn it's the finale! It's too soon! But glad to hear it ends well and with all the feels! Hopefully good/happy feels! Great review!