I want to thanks Tor and Netgalley for the opportunity of Reading an advance copy

Gritty fantasy has always being a personal favorite of mine, at least since the moment I picked Game of Thrones and started to read it six years ago (I am going to stop pointing out how long ago things happened, because this is starting to get depressive). There is, in my opinion, something human in gritty fantasy; it has both faces of reality: the optimistic and the ugly one. That combination, I think, manages to offer a story where everything can happen, just as the real world. You are afraid your favorite characters aren’t going to made it but you still rooting for them anyway and that produces a mix of Agony and Emotion which gets addictive. (Yes, I am still mourning Oberyn Martell, that’s what all of this is about, and yes I had read the book, but it was nothing comparable to his death in the show).

Us

Strong points: The characters, the story development.

Weak points: some elements feel underplayed.

Unwrapped Sky, written by Rjurik Davidson (who also can boast of having the most fantasy character-like name ever), invites the reader to Calei-Amur, an independent city full of magic and mystery ruled by three merchant houses. From the points of view of Kata, a philosopher-assassin trying to escape her contract with one of the houses, Boris Autec, a once factory worker who finds himself rising to a position of power, and Maximilian, a young dreamer who is part of the rebel group known as the Seditionists, the reader will witness a story about change and revolution as a small group of people try to fight against the brutal rule of the three houses.

If there is something in this novel that really helps the readers to connect with the story is its unforgettable characters. Their complexities offer us an alluring game of lights and shadows within each one of them which will capture the readers pulling them into the pages. Possibly Boris is the most interesting and tragic out of the three main characters; his slow degeneration offers the reader a heartbreaking character development of a man who just wants to make the world a better place but finds himself overrun by the sheer pressure of the events that unravel around him . We witness an emotional journey that takes place step by step, almost unnoticed, until we are in front of a much changed character and we realize the subtle process that has taken him there. Kata and Maximilian also have their own share of complexities and internal conflicts that make the characters feel alive: Kata will do anything to escape her actual life even if it means to continue committing the crimes that have driven her to hate it. Finally Maximilian offers a lighter character but also marked by the fight between what he should be and what he is, being particularly interesting the fact that he is trying to ignore that his actions are driven by a desire of glory.

The story development is astonishing. The novel unravels itself masterfully driving us towards its climax while playing with the pace. The way Mr. Davidson has developed Unwrapped Sky manages to attract the readers and trap them in the book, making it increasingly difficult to put down (I read the last 40% in one go). The subtlety by which the author provides information is also a strong point in its development, managing to dodge the (personally hated) over explanation effect and allowing the reader to discover some answers through the hints he provides; one example being the true identity of the Elo-talern, which is never provided directly but is hinted through the book.

The story had an amazing start, an army of minotaurs marching through the streets of Calei-Amur, going to join an annual celebration where they are the guests of honor. Imagine my dismay when, after building my expectations, I find out the minotaurs are forgotten by chapter six. This is the weak point of Unwrapped Sky, some elements feel underplayed, not used to their full potential, leaving races such as the minotaurs or the new-men or even the Elo-Talern almost as side notes in the story when it was hinted they would be important on the story (There is a freaking minotaur on the cover, I call that a hint). Luckily, the ending suggest this won’t be a stand-alone novel, so in the future we can hope for some of this elements to become increasingly important.

I have really enjoyed Unwrapped Sky and I recommend it to anyone who happens to love interesting characters, political fantasy and gritty narrative. Mr. Davidson must be congratulated for this amazing piece of work and for having the most awesome name I have encountered. Now I am going back to listening “Let it go” while mourning Oberyn.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

¡Hasta la próxima!

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