Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

To be honest I liked this way more than I expected I would.  I had just finished reading an amazing series and I couldn’t help but compare this book to it.  But, once I got into the story I found myself comparing it less and less.  The world building was fascinating.  It was well thought out; no stone left unturned.  I could tell the author spent tons of time on it, planning it out to the littlest detail.

Jameson has been asked to investigate why there has been a shortage of pith, a substance used primarily for medicinal purposes.  He’s unsure as to why he was chosen for this task.  He’s a nobody, just one more psych (therapist) in a sea of others of the like.

He was nothing special, a cog in the machine.  A low-level psych who was never meant for anything greater than midlevel success.

Once he arrives on Oberon he’s greeted by Xander, who will be his escort to where the pith is manufactured.  Xander is a skythane, one of the winged humans from Oberon who are ostracized from the regular humans inhabiting the strange half-planet.  Oberon is an enigma as it is literally half a planet and no one can figure out why it still exists and hasn’t gone spinning off into the universe or broken up into itty bitty pieces.

From the moment these two meet, the story takes off to an action packed adventure filled with high flying chases, gunfights, mystery and intrigue as they journey to the edge of the world and beyond.  I was glued to my screen throughout.  I just had to know what happened next and what enfolded was a fascinating tale about destiny and greatness.  These two seemingly nobodies were much more than they first appeared. 

The writing was creative.  I loved the detailed history of the planet and its inhabitants that was told gradually as the story progressed.  The character development was well above par and all of the characters, even the secondary ones, we fully fleshed.  What I loved most was the delicate balance between sci-fi and fantasy that was woven into the book.  Most of the time when I read sci-fi, it is all logical and straightforward without any fantasy to it so it was great to see a bit of magic thrown in.

I recommend Skythane to sci-fi lovers who like a little fantasy and romance mixed in to sweeten the pot.  The romance does take a backseat but I didn’t mind at all, I was busy being distracted by the fabulous world building and enthralling storyline.  They do get their HFN though, don’t worry about that.  And the ending was left open for a sequel which I’m thankful for as I want to know more about this world.  I can’t wait for the next book!

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