Book Reviews

Review: Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley.

ISBN: 9781781089484. March 16th 2021. Solaris. With thanks to Solaris for sending me out a copy to read and review.

Skyward Inn, within the high walls of the Western Protectorate, is a place of safety, where people come together to tell stories of the time before the war with Qita. But safety from what?
Qita surrendered without complaint when Earth invaded; Innkeepers Jem and Isley, veterans from either side, have regrets but few scars. Their peace is disturbed when a visitor known to Isley comes to the Inn asking for help, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future.
Did humanity really win the war?
A thoughtful, literary novel about conflict, identity and community; a fresh new perspective in speculative fiction from critically-acclaimed writer Aliya Whiteley. Jamaica Inn by way of Jeff Vandermeer, Ursula Le Guin, Angela Carter and Michel Faber, Skyward Inn is a beautiful story of belonging, identity and regret.

Please be warned that I am being very honest in this review, and some people might consider it as rude. The gist is, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it. I will be covering my dislikes first.

I was sent this ARC to read quite a while back, and I’m not going to lie, but it took me longer than I had hoped to eventually get around to reading it. I knew right away that it was going to be a book I just had to be in the right mood for.

However, it took me even longer to read it, once I had started it. At a page count of 300, I should have flown through it, but I found it to be quite slow. Like, nothing much had happened throughout each part I read. I kept finding myself waiting for it to ‘get good’, or for it to true enrapture my attention instead of fighting myself to be in the mood to pick it up.

I don’t think it helped that I didn’t really like anyone in this novel. All of the characters were so wrapped up in their own heads that they didn’t really think about anyone else, except to complain about them. They were very “me, me, me. I, I, I.” And whilst sometimes this isn’t a problem, this time it felt like there was no growth from that mind set. I didn’t enjoy when they interacted with another character either. When they weren’t being selfish, they felt bland and boring.

Talking of boring, I wasn’t a fan of the plot either. I know it goes back and forth in time, covering characters memories and whatever, but I had a hard time following where we were in the timeline, and who the point of views were. I kept having to go back to check.

I was intrigued by the aliens, but the invasion just didn’t interest me. I know it being slow and unnoticed was the point, however it just didn’t feel… Right to me.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, so I was very disappointed that I didn’t. I just don’t think it is for me. I actually bought the audiobook to help me get through it. I do plan to give it another go in the future, to make sure that it wasn’t just me struggling, but for now, it’s firmly in my ‘not a fan’ list.

I gave this 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Book Hype.
The Story Graph.
Book Depository.

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