I received a free review copy of this ebook from NetGalley, on behalf of the publisher. It will be released 15 April 2014.
Rjurik Davidson’s Unwrapped Sky should have been catnip for me. There were minotaurs and sirens, mysterious alien creatures, trapped gods, and an ancient city on the brink of revolution. Davidson lavished words on his settings, but I found many of the characters—especially the chief antagonist—to be strangely erratic. Character motivations are vague or absent. This is the beginning of a series, so the ending is unsatisfying; it just sets things up for the next book. There were parts that I enjoyed, but it didn’t make up for the flimsy character development.
Kata is in debt to House Technis. She can only get out of her debt by killing two minotaurs, but she winds up back in debt to the House. Her new mission is to spy on a cadre of seditionists in Caeli-Amur and find out what their plans are. Her orders come from Boris Autec, an official who is rocketed through the ranks at the whim of the strange creatures that rule the Houses through fear. Autec has good ideas and begins with some sympathy for the workers. He used to be a factory worker before he was promoted. But Autec has no ability to read people and he deludes himself that others feel things for him that they don’t. Autec can’t seem to tell when people lie to him, a vital skill for a leader. Meanwhile, Kata finds herself swayed by a growing affection for one of the seditionist leaders, Maximillian.
Max has a plan to change life for the lower classes by rediscovering lost, ancient secrets. The rest of the cell are growing increasingly violent, thought they have little hope of overturning the entrenched system. Kata turns double agent to help and try to save him. But things get a little strange once Max gets into the Great Library in the city of Caeli-Enas, which has been lost underneath the sea for about four hundred years.
Unwrapped Sky sounded to me like it could have been a good story, but I just couldn’t get into it. I admit that I skimmed through the last half just to see what would happen and so that I could write an honest review.