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The Sky Is Yours

A Novel
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
Length: 15 hrs and 38 mins
4 out of 5 stars (65 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2018 BY: 

Wall Street Journal • NPR • New York Public Library • LitHub Mental Floss 

“Influenced by the likes of Jane Austen and Rick and Morty, Smith tackles timely issues while leaving room for some delicious reality TV references.” (Entertainment Weekly)

In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis' last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they've ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. 

In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.

Praise for The Sky Is Yours:

“It’s a mesmeric world, comic in the way teenage voyages of self-discovery inevitably are, but with an undertone of menace, horror, even hints of allegory. Satire, too . . . Smith’s imagination is inexhaustible. The Sky Is Yours is a great and disturbing debut, which colonizes a new realm of the magic city.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Smith’s gifts of imagination are staggering.... Much like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and Charlie Jane Anders’s All the Birds in the Sky before it, The Sky is Yours filters youth through a warped yet poignantly canny speculative fiction lens. At the same time, it’s funny as hell, full of madcap detail, firecracker dialogue, and a healthy dose of absurdism in the face of darkness.” (NPR)

“Readers who love ambitious literary genre fiction should be on the lookout for Smith’s first novel, a vibrantly uncanny dystopia set on an island metropolis, in the shadow of dragons that swoop overhead, where income inequality and mass incarceration have spun out of control.” (HuffPost)

©2018 Random House Audio; 2018 Chandler Klang Smith

Critic Reviews

"Hyperimaginative...Smith's novel calls to mind the works of Nick Harkaway and Game of Thrones.... An auspicious debut with enough inventiveness for two novels." (Publishers Weekly)

"Chandler Klang Smith comes roaring out the gate with a raucous, inventive gem of a debut. Science fiction, coming of age, and adventure novel, The Sky Is Yours blends its genres brilliantly. To top it all off the book is funny as hell." (Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling)

"Brilliant, darkly hilarious, and almost impossible to describe. Imagine if Terry Gilliam adapted a coming-of-age adventure set in William Gibson's dystopian sprawl and threw in a dash of Jane Austen. I loved it." (Scott Hawkins, author of The Library at Mount Char)

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alison
  • Brinston, ONTARIO, Canada
  • 04-09-19

a hot mess

This book had a lot of potential and a lot of great ideas and some very good writing, but somehow, all put together, it just didn't work for me. I'll try to explain what put me off this book, but there's a lot of factors.

Firstly, a LOT happens in this book. It would be a lot if we were following one of the three main characters' stories, yet we try to follow all three plus some side characters. Consequently, the action is very start and stop. We follow characters into situations and then time jumps forward a bit and they get tossed into a new situation without our being able to understand the consequences/implications of the first situation. As a result, it is hard to get involved in character development (if there really is any). The book is about either Duncan or Swanny or Abbey at any given time, but their stories have little relevance to one another.

As a result of so many things going on, the book leaves tons of unanswered questions. Things that should have been super cool bits end up just dangling loose ends. Swanny's teeth are the best example of this. Smith introduces her by saying she grew up in the mansion with only her mother and the dentist. Which is an awesome way to raise questions. Slowly we learn more about the teeth. But in the end, this neat thing turns out to be no more consequential than if Swanny had, say, green hair. By the time she gets to the chaw shop, it basically never comes up again. It's a huge lost opportunity. This sort of lack of follow-through plagues the whole book.

When I finished the book, I felt that there were huge unanswered questions about the premise. Like, is it really dystopia if only one city is affected by these dragons? Is Empire City actually New York City, and if so, why not say so? What happened to the rest of the world? Are they just going along like Empire City isn't constantly on fire? If you are going to invent a city for a book, why not set the book on an invented planet? Why do people drive flying cars in a city where unpredictable dragons rule the skies? I could go on.

Normally, I re-read books that I'm this confused about, and try to figure out why, but I just can't face slogging through all this again, not for a while.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel
  • YAKIMA, WA, United States
  • 11-12-18

Disappointed

I first heard of this book on a list of best Science Fiction by women, so I went looking for it.
And I wanted to love it. I tried. I read other reviews to figure out why I should. But I didn't.

Some of the concept was interesting--the sociological issues of being raised entirely within what is essentially a jail, vs being raised by the ultra wealthy, vs growing up isolated from all human contact on a garbage pile.
But I couldn't get past the SUPER INTENSELY ANNOYING male protagonist (whose name I have now blocked out). This dude was written like the author was a man. You know all that garbage where we have to listen to the male protagonist write about how he should be getting more sex, etc (I'm looking at you Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, East of Eden, and any number of books I've abandoned because I don't enjoy the immature hormonal teenage male perspective).

I did enjoy the different perspectives and the fact that the story moved back and forth and I could appreciate that the male characters annoyingness was balanced by the different annoyingness of the two female characters, but this still wasn't for me.

#Dystopian # UrbanFantasy #Dark #ChildProtagonist #FemaleProtagonists #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

It Gets Good about A Third In

This book was a little off putting to me at first with all the sexual stuff the author wanted to throw in. One of the main characters, Duncan is a crass teenage boy and you hear the crass thoughts of a teenage boy throughout.

However, after about 6 hours of listening, the foundation of the story is finally set and the storyline begins to thicken and then unfold. By the middle of the listen I was hooked and wanted to listen til the end. The character development is what kept me interested the most. This listen was a little hard to get into (I almost quit listening and returned it) but I stuck with the story and was rewarded. If you don’t mind a story taking a little bit to get going then this book is a good listen for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Maybe

Playful and creative yes, a universe on par with Meaville. But! you wont find a compelling story line here. I wanted soooo much more and never found any resolution or depth. If you like Herbert, Scott Card or Clarke ditch this one.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Came with high hopes, left feeling dumber.

Have you read Dark Tower? Imagine dark tower if the characters all sucked. the plot had some interesting bits, but some of the plot points are left as loose ends.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a story. Smart. Dragons but not really.

I usually avoid stories that have dragons in them. And Magic. and this has dragons and some sort of paranormal Magic? When it really might just be a function of genetic engineering or something. this is not a story about magic and Dragons. it's a story about attempting to be something more in a world that is descending rapidly into something much less. it's about New York City essentially devastated in abandoned but for a few people, old money trying to stay ontop, and then a second town inside it, filled with incredibly resilient survivors scrapping by, who are really outcasts or criminals. it's filled with a number of really good characters. really good characters. Since it had dragons in it, I wasn't sure I was going to finish it, but I sure did. It kept me going the whole way through. great read. Or listen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • joan
  • Atlanta, ga,United States
  • 09-02-18

satirical dystop. urban fantasy & amazing narrator

I enjoyed the strange and the familiar, the bleak and the hopeful, the love and the rejection, and the magic and the mundane in this unique story. Some rather adult themes are peppered throughout the teenagers' rebellions. the story isn't really about the dragons, for those of you who usually steer clear of Arthurian sword & sorcery literature. To me, the book was full of the unexpected, drew me in and kept me interested. The satire wasn't so snarky and jestful that it was tiresome, but just enough to be in on an inside joke. Uncle Osmond was hilarious and brilliant, and Sharky was relatable in a way that I actually felt sorry for him. Abby, well, I can't give anything about her away, but I felt for her too. We're all just doing our best in this world, with the cards we've been dealt. And what a game was played in this book!

I also want to give kudos to the narrator. apparently I've already listened to her in the book Amatka as well. She seamlessly transitions from male to female, young to old. she can depict humorous and somber tones alike. I can't wait for her to record more!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Most perfect author and narrator combo ever

I seldom write reviews, but this audio book experience was exceptional. The author wove her plot with skill and attention to detail, tying the characters' stories together perfectly. Ms. Potter proved equal to the writing with her narration, getting every nuance of accent and personality. My only quibble might be that the character of Sharkey was voiced a bit tritely, but otherwise she was flawless. It's been a while since I listened to a book that kept me in the car after I reached my destination, but this one did in 108 degree weather.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

New Fantasy headliner

Go into this book without a boiler plate expectation of the fantasy genre and you will enjoy it. This is not written for someone who likes classical fantasy tropes. Honestly it resonates as a story because it feels like the author wrote what she would want to read and wasn’t writing in order to cater to someone else’s taste. This is written to be more of a science fantasy story that blends elements of sci-fi and the fantasy genre in order to create something fresh. Imagine the dark humor within the Game of Thrones series, the writing style of Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, and the Lord of the Rings level of detail. It has a very modern voice and makes a lot of social commentary about internet culture, United States Politics, Social media culture, Brotastic Broes, a thirteen year old girl’s closeted sexual desires
, the economic divide, sense of entitlement, and the use of dragons in fiction. I want to listen to it a second time already so I can pick up new things.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It was just alright....

This was like some took a kids book and through it in a thesaurus and added some sex.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful