Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It's the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow - and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it.
As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael's tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He's sick of the mayor's son besting Cael's crew in the scavenging game. And he's worried about losing Gwennie - his first mate and the love of his life - forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry - angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn't seem upset about any of it.
Cael's ready to make his own luck…even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.
Lyrics from "Harvest-Home Song" by John Davidson. Stedman, Edmund Clarence, ed. A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1895. Lyrics from "John Barleycorn" collected by Robert Burns in 1782. Lyrics from "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" by Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock, written in 1895 and first recorded as a song in 1928.
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Superb reading of a really cool story.
This was a fun book. I loved the weird world the characters live in. They don't have it to well and always seem to be struggling but the things they do are so cool. I would love to float above tall stalks of corn on a ship equipped with hover rails scavenging for parts. Would I want to do that as a living? No. But it would be fun for a day, and it was really fun to read about. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't get into the cool things they discover, but it was a ride I was happy to be on next to the characters. That is enough for me to really enjoy a book, but Chuck's writing style was like a big old cherry on top of this hovering banana boat he served up.
I came to know Mr. Wendig from hearing him on a few podcasts and on these podcasts the hosts mentioned how helpful, regular, and hilarious Chuck's blog posts were. So I subscribed to his blog. I then began to receive new posts usually daily and sometimes twice a day. In these blog posts Chuck is at times profane enough to make me cringe but always doling out incredible advice for writers and he is hilarious. I'm pretty sure I have laughed from every one of Chuck's blog posts. I was hopeful this funny writing would come through in this book, and it did. But what surprised me more were the amazing descriptive passages and metaphors. There was some beautiful writing in this book. A lot of the story wasn't funny, it was serious stuff, and Wendig does a solid describing the world and the characters. Sometimes I would stop and just soak in a line or two that he wrote like I often do when I'm reading classical literature. His prose went from beautiful, to stunning, to hilarious, to vulgar, all in the same chapter. The end of the book makes you really wish it was already out and I will be sure to pick it up once it hits the shelves.
The last thing I'll mention is that I read this book by listening to it on my long commutes. It's how I get most of my reading done. The narrator was one I've never heard before, but Nick Podehl is now one of my favorite narrators. The guy is good. He does different voices for different characters, and he does it well. My favorite thing about Podehl though is that he really gets into it. When the characters are screaming in anger you can't just hear it in Nick's voice, you can FEEL it. Also I've noticed even some of the best narrators are a bit reserved when it comes to lines of dialog that are being screamed. Not Nick. He belts it out. He must be backing off the mic or turning down the gain because you can hear that he's really screaming and it is awesome. I will probably go looking for another book to read specifically because he is the narrator.
- Dan Absalonson "Author, Audiobook Narrator"
... Empyrean Sky takes flight from a long runway
- Joe Frazier "a dedicated dilettante"