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by Fran Wilde
Tor, $27.99, 416pp
Published: September 2017

Kirit and Nat live in a very strange world; towers built of bone high above the clouds where the only mode of transportation is flying.  In the first story, Kirit challenged the government’s structure and purpose and ended up leading a revolution.  Her best friend, Nat, ended up as one of the new bureaucracy.  But after stopping a coup by Dix, Kirit and her friends determine that the damage to the towers is too severe to ignore and their very way of life may be untenable.  It is possible that people can live below the clouds, there is evidence that their ancestors came up the towers.  So Kirit, Nat and friends descend below the clouds looking for answers to save their city.  What they found was so astonishing and shocking, they struggled with the idea of taking the information back to the city.

In this conclusion to the trilogy, Kirit leaves the group to find a new city as theirs is dying.  Nat struggles to climb back up to bring word to the city that it is dying and if it is not evacuated within days, everyone left above the clouds will die.  Meanwhile, on the ground, Kirit and Dix discover another populated city but Dix manages to alienate the people who might have been able to help.

This is, by far, the oddest world I’ve ever read of.  I remain very dissatisfied with the lack of explanations for the world-building.  There is too much that is unexplained such as the lack of manufacturing and even a simple explanation for the source of their foodstuffs.  On the ground, Kirit and Dix seem to survive just fine without shelter, water or food.  Elapsed time is also pretty slippery in these stories.  The author tends to focus solely on the plot to the detriment of character development, they seem very one-dimensional.  That might be forgiven if the plot was stronger. 

I gave the author the benefit of the doubt and finished the trilogy.  But I can’t recommend it. ~  Catherine Book

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