I’m kicking off the week with a blog tour post for The Sky Weaver, a book I’ve been anticipating pretty much since the last page of The Caged Queen…
Book: The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
Read before: No
Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Gollancz. All opinions my own.
The Sky Weaver is the third book in the Iskari series, which started with The Last Namsara and continued with The Caged Queen (which I reviewed here). The first book is undoubtedly my favourite, because it features a heroine named Asha and focuses on dragons and folklore, but all three books are really standouts in the field of YA fantasy, with amazing female heroines and fantastic worldbuilding. The Sky Weaver follows Safire, the cousin of Asha and the head of the Firgaardian army, and introduces a second viewpoint character for the first time in Eris, a talented thief known as the Death Dancer. When their worlds collide, they might find themselves getting more tangled up in each other than they expected…
Yep, this one is gay! I’m always happy to see f/f romance in YA fantasy! The romance is a slowish-burn, as neither girl is expecting or particularly wanting to fall in love, and both of them have a heck of a lot going on to distract them. Obviously, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t know how slow burn a romance can be if they get together in the course of a single book, but it’s nicely paced, and I enjoyed Safire’s perspective on it particularly. Both Safire and Eris are extremely wary of other people’s affection due to their experiences growing up, and it’s rewarding to see them relax into each other slightly, however ill-advised that might be. There’s also a great use of a trope that I always find fun, which is ‘someone’s looking for us and there’s no time to hide, so let’s kiss’! If you liked the relationship dynamic in Crier’s War, you’ll love this.
As with the previous two books, there are stories inset into the main narrative on grey paper. Here they tell a legend in excerpts, which really helps to add to the worldbuilding of the Star Isles, Eris’s home and the place where much of the action happens. The stories that people tell can say so much about what they believe in, both literally in terms of the gods of that land, but also figuratively, as they show what aspects of life are important enough to have stories woven around them. Though this legend may seem unrelated, it ties to the main story in key ways, and it offers a further glimpse into the thin and permeable barrier between history and fiction in this world, as we saw in the first book. This depiction of folklore is one of my favourite things about this series as a whole, as I’m a huge nerd for myth and legend and what it means!
Though each book in this series is meant to stand alone, I think this would work best if you have at least read The Last Namsara, to understand Safire’s history, as her actions in that book have an impact on her psyche here. Asha also pops up a lot, so it’s good to know about her story too – it’s lovely to see her, and also to see Dax and Roa settled into their roles as King and Queen after the events of The Caged Queen. Though the plot could definitely be read as a stand alone, it’s so nice to have this as a wrap up to the trilogy. I found it really heartwarming to see all the characters I’d come to love in one place. I’m really sad that there won’t be any more stories in this world – all three should be on your shelves if you love YA fantasy. Four out of five cats!