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I Belong

Review: Skyborn by David Dalglish

Title: Skyborn

Author: David Dalglish

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Seraphim (Book #1)

Publication Date: November 17, 2015

Format: Paperback, 425 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316302686 (Orbit)

ISBN-13: 978-0316302685 (Orbit)

Reviewed by: Tara


The first in an all new fantasy series from USA Todaybestseller, David Dalglish.
The last remnants of humanity live on six islands floating high above the Endless Ocean, fighting a brutal civil war in the skies. The Seraphim, elite soldiers trained for aerial combat, battle one another while wielding elements of ice, fire and lightning.

The lives of their parents claimed in combat, twins Kael and Breanna Skyborn enter the Seraphim Academy to follow in their footsteps. There they will learn to harness the elements as weapons and fight at break-neck speeds while soaring high above the waters. But they must learn quickly, for a nearby island has set its hungry eyes upon their home. When the invasion comes, the twins must don their wings and ready their blades to save those they love from annihilation.

Quick & Dirty: This was a seriously amazing world.

Opening Sentence: Breanna Skyborn sat at the edge of her world, watching the clouds drift beneath her dangling feet.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I absolutely loved the premise of Skyborn and the beginning of the novel was so promising. However, I felt like the story and the characters needed to be developed more in order to make this a truly excellent novel. There was a lot of action, it was exciting, but it didn’t really stand out to me. That being said, this was a good book and I think it will appeal to many fantasy readers who enjoy more action-based books.

Breanna, or Bree, and Kael Skyborn lost their parents at an early age to the constant Seraphim battles between the six island nations. Despite witnessing their death, the twins are determined to follow in their parents’ footsteps and attend the Seraphim Academy. Once accepted, they train in the ways of the warriors, learning both physical and magical combat.

Bree was a feisty daredevil who had problems with authority and a strong affinity for fire magic. At times I was rooting for her and at other times I wanted to shake some sense into her. Kael was the quieter twin who worked hard and has a strong affinity for ice. Their sibling dynamic was cute and I liked how they balanced each other out. However, I wish both of them had been developed a little bit more beyond the obvious traits that correlated with their elements. As is, neither of them particularly stood out to me as a character but I also like them because of how familiar they felt.

The majority of the plot took place at the academy. I personally quite like boarding school stories so I enjoyed the descriptions of their training and watching the exercise the teachers put them through. There were a lot of info dumps that sometimes got a little bit too long though. This was somewhat balanced out by a surprising amount of action during this portion of the book so it kept my attention. A lot of this book was descriptive, describing characters going through the actions of doing something without necessarily focusing on why they did what they did or who the characters were. I personally prefer books where I can have an emotional investment in the story and the characters so that style of storytelling fell a little flat for me.

Even though I wasn’t able to really connect with the book, I appreciated the world-building. This was a seriously amazing world. From the mechanical wings that allowed them to fly to the tricky political situation between the islands to the magic itself, I loved it. I would visit this world in a heartbeat if I could (as long as I had a guarantee of safety). I think that future installments in this series will likely be better because there hopefully won’t be as many info-dumps necessary to set the stage.

Skyborn was an interesting series debut that definitely had potential. I am interested in continuing on with the series because of the plot and the world. The characters were slightly one-dimensional so I hope that they’ll be developed more fully in future installments. This would be a good read for high fantasy fans looking for some excellent world building and action scenes.

Notable Scene:

Laughing, Bree continued spiraling downward, looping the twisting waters, feeling the wet spray across her face, her long hair wildly flapping behind her like a cape. She danced through the fishermen, staying just outside their own steady upward spirals. Harder and harder she pushed at the toggle, willing herself faster, feeling more at home in that moment than she ever had staying at Aunt Bethy’s.

And then a fisherman flew in her path.

His back was to her, legs and net dangling as he lifted dozens of fish. He was returning to the docks, and with her rapid descent she was on a direct collision course. Panicking, she felt her mind blank, felt her body lock up. Deep in her stomach she knew it was the worst possible reaction, and as she careened toward the man she forced herself to do the only thing she could think of: she rolled. Shoulder over shoulder she twirled, ending her curved path about the Fount and sending her flying off and away. The roll gained her the few feet necessary to prevent herself from slamming into the fisherman, but her relief lasted only a split second, for as she tried to right herself, she found herself spinning. Head over feet she rolled, and it seemed every twist of her waist and pull of her shoulders was in vain.

She was falling.

Seraphim Series:

1. Skyborn

2. Fireborn

3. Shadowborn


FTC Advisory: Orbit/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Skyborn. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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