November 17th Blog Tour
Title: The Sky Weaver. Book 3 in the Iskari series.
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Publication date:: November 14th
At the end of one world, there always lies another.
Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard—helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.
Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as the Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman power to move between worlds.
When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?
Now Safire and Eris—sworn enemies—find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara. From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Star Isles, their search and their stories become woven ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they’re hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world—and the next.
I had to do a quick re-read of the Last Namsara and then an even quicker first time read of The Caged Queen before I could read this and then managed to devour this in an afternoon. Although you can read the Sky Weaver as a standalone it makes far more sense to read the two before it. This is mainly because there are so many essential characters back-stories that aren’t repeated in each book. So I’ll give a quick rundown of salient points.
If you haven’t read any of this series then here we have spoilers for books one and two.
SPOILER ALERT for the Last Namsara
In The Last Namsara we are introduced to the Dragon King’s two children Asha and Dax and the rest of the royal family which includes Safire, a bastard child of a forbidden alliance between the former Dragon Queen’s son and a slave girl. Asha is a dragon-slayer chosen by the gods to save the dragons and bring back the old ways. This book is about her.
She believes that, as a child, she committed an unconscionable act and must atone by protecting her father’s city and uniting the fractured kingdom, even if that means giving up her freedom and marrying her father’s commander- a brutal man called Jarek. Her father offers her a way out of it if she can capture the most powerful dragon in the kingdom. Only one boy- and the will of the gods- stand in her way. Asha defies her father, allies herself with the dragons and finally accepts the love of Torwin.
In this book we are told that Safire is considered less than nothing. Her parentage means that she will never be accepted by the royal family and she is often brutally beaten and, it is even suggested, raped by Jareks’ soldiers. We are informed that she isn’t allowed to eat with the royal family or even stand near the King. Not exactly the nicest of existences. As Asha manages to destroy the Kingdom and we are left with Dax in charge and Safire promoted to his commandant. But the City is falling apart.
Spoiler alert for The Caged Queen
In the caged Queen we continue the story with how Dax came to be allied with Roa- the Queen of the scrublands. Roa and her sister Essie were so close that they could feel everything about each other. Until an accident caused by Dax took Essie’s life and trapped her in the body of a hawk. Roa swore to hate Dax forever but the famine of her people causes her to agree to marry him in order to dethrone his father.
After the death of the King she assumes Dax will honour his promises but he seems more interested in flirting with every woman around than in helping her people. Arrogant, lazy and under the thumb of his council, Roa decides to take matters into her own hands, help her people and revive her sister. All she has to do is kill the King.
In this book we are shown how much Safire loves her cousin. Being made commandant has given her pride and purpose as she has never had before. The fact that Dax listens to her and supports her means the world to her and she is able to hold her head high.
This was my least favourite of the three because I thought Roa was a bitch who severely needed to grow up. But the snippets we get shown of how Dax protected Safire as much as he could growing up, and how he has taken on board all of the lessons ever given to him and uses them in a fantastic machiavellian way really impressed me.
Book three The Sky Weaver
Our Pirate thief, Eris, breaks into the castle to steal a jewel and manages to evade our commandant, Safire, who is non-too happy about that. To add insult to injury, Eris goes out of her way to taunt Safire’s inability to catch her resulting in our commandant taking risks to catch the Death Dancer thief.
Taken aboard Eris’ master’s ship the two women start a slow dance of enemies to lovers that hinges on trust, respect and running away from your problems.
I’ll preface this by saying that I didn’t realise it was a f/f relationship when I started reading it. I don’t usually read m/m, f/f pairings simply because they aren’t my wheelhouse. I am pleased that there is starting to be more diversity for those who are LGBTQ+ and who deserve to have their own representation. This had a multi-racial f/f couple which isn’t a pairing I have picked up before. It was artfully done. I have seen some reviewers who are alarmed at the ‘politically correct liberal diversity pairing‘ (direct quote) but there wasn’t anything distasteful about it.
Eris and Safire’s relationship was a slow burn with both airing their past trauma in safe and supportive roles. I loved that, although they had trouble trusting each other, their initial instinct was to protect and care for each other. I also loved the side story about the abused dragon Sorrow and his slow, often heart-breaking, involvement with the humans.
In fact, I felt like a lot of this book was how different people react to traumatic childhoods. Safire was brutally beaten and ignored by her kingdom and so fought for those who had sheltered and believed in her. Eris had been abandoned and wrongfully accused and she ran away and kept people at arm’s length whereas Sorrow fled from all contact.
Yet they all made fantastic strides towards health and happiness towards the end.
The world-building in this entire series was strong and masterfully done. There were entire mythologies wrapped up within the pages and it was fantastic to see things unfold in the separate ‘myths’ sections.
This is a definite must for fans on fantasy novels. The rich tapestry of the history of Firgaard, it’s religion and mythology is presented in a wonderful way that draws you into the story fully.
While the dragons were a fun addition it was the characters themselves who kept you interested. They were flawed and made mistakes but at the core they were fascinating and compelling. I’m glad I got the opportunity to read these books.