A mysterious force known simply as the Darkness threatens a far-future Earth in Andreas’ debut YA sci-fi/fantasy.
Millions of years after an asteroid wiped out practically all life on Earth, the last traces of humanity have evolved into three separate races, each with its own distinct society. On the ground are the erdwons, a tribal people with cheetahlike legs and tails who live in huts. Meanwhile, the skywons—winged people—live in palaces surrounded by wealth and splendor in the heavens above, and the feshwons are an aquatic people with webbed fingers and flippers. The different groups know very little about one another, let alone Earth’s past history, believing the planet to have once been ruled by one race that banished a dark force called the Darkness, which eventually returned and destroyed them, until the Earth Mother created the three peoples. Now, however, entire clans are beginning to disappear, leaving people to worry that the Darkness has returned. Tor, an erdwon youth, crosses paths with a wounded skywon princess, Himmel, setting him on a course to potentially save the world. Andreas’ novel is blessed with a richly realized, deeply intelligent mythology, which helps distinguish it amid the sea of YA. He establishes all the various societies and peoples economically and with a keen eye for anthropological detail, making it as much of a delight to simply learn about the divergent cultures as it is to spend time with his likable cast of characters. Those eager for nonstop action might want to look elsewhere, but readers will find a great deal to love here if they’re fascinated by complex worldbuilding and a gradually building plot that allows its characters to breathe. Unfortunately, however, the book ends rather abruptly, and while this seems to promise a sequel, more concluding action would have allowed the ending to feel as naturalistic and well-paced as the rest of the novel.
An imaginative, daring start to what could develop in to a fantastic series.