Today is my stop on The Sky Weaver blog tour, hosted by Gollancz. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I love the trilogy so I’m excited to be sharing my review.
At the end of one world, there always lies another.
Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard-helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.
Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as The Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman ability to move between worlds.
When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?
Then Safire and Eris-sworn enemies-find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara.
From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Sky Isles, their search and their stories become threaded ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they’re hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world, and the next.
Thanks to Gollancz for sending me a copy of The Sky Weaver in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.
When I picked up an ARC of The Last Namsara at YALC in 2017, little did I know it was going to become one of my favourite books of the year. I also had no idea it would remain one of my favourite fantasy novels in the future.
The sequel, The Caged Queen, was dark and thrilling, but it didn’t quite hit the same high notes as the first book.
But The Sky Weaver hits them all. It holds the same magic and dynamism as the first book and brings it’s own unique flare to the trilogy.
The world of the Iskari is every fantasy lover’s dream. There are dragons, warriors, and pirates. There’s strange otherworldly magic and ancient tales that whisper through the lands.
One thing that Kristen Ciccarelli does better than perhaps any other writer is include side chapters with mythical tales and gradually draw them closer and closer to the central plot, until the two merge seamlessly. No other writer has made me care as much about the characters and events in the side story as I do about the main story.
The magic system in this book is excellent. It blends the dragons from book one and the knife that frees souls from book two with a new form of power – a spindle that can open doors across worlds.
The world of the series starts off with polished descriptions and resonant detail in the first book, and becomes even more enriched by every subsequent book, as we travel to new cities and lands.
The Iskari series is a companion trilogy so we don’t follow exactly the same characters in every book. But the cluster of main characters appear in every book, even if they’re not the protagonist of that specific story.
The Last Namsara, follows Asha and Torwin as they begin to understand dragons, but Dax and Safire are integral to the story. In The Caged Queen, Dax, Roa, and Essie are the main characters, but Torwin and Safire are also involved in the plot.
In The Sky Weaver, Safire and Eris are the protagonists, but Dax, Roa, Torwin, and Asha are all present at different points in the novel.
One thing I sometimes find sad about companion novels is that we usually don’t get to see the characters we loved in the first book make a return in the second and third novels. But that doesn’t happen here. Characters from books one and two are all present in book three.
Kristen Ciccarelli is one of the best authors at weaving her characters’ storylines together. She interconnects their lives across the breadth of her novels, giving them character development across all three books, rather than one.
And Safire’s character development is wonderful. Her confidence and self-worth grow throughout the series as she becomes Commandant of the King’s army. She’s always been a fighter, but in The Sky Weaver she battles her own demons, reconsiders her position on the law, and falls in love.
I’ve always liked Safire as a character, and this book made me like her even more. We stan a self-reflective, empathetic warrior.
By contrast, I started the novel disliking Eris. She’s a thief, a trickster, and a pirate, and she undermines Safire at the first chance she gets. But as the plot progresses, we see her tender, vulnerable side; she’s been treated terribly and kept as a prisoner for most of her life. She’s lost people she loved, and it’s easy to see why she puts on a cocky facade.
As Safire and Eris begin to spend more time together, they go from enemies, to friends, to (you guessed it) LOVERS. That’s right folks, we have ourselves a sapphic enemies-to-lovers romance and I, for one, am here for it.
We’re also introduced to Empress Leandra in the this novel, who rules the Star Isles (I didn’t trust her from the get-go and for good reason), as well as the mythical figure of the Sky Weaver.
Plot and pacing
I remember the pacing of The Last Namsara being virtually perfect. I flew through the book because the action scenes were swift and impeccably interspersed between character development scenes.
And you know what? The exact same thing happened with The Sky Weaver. The pacing is spot on and I raced through it.
Ciccarelli’s character-building scenes never feel slow, and her action scenes are compelling and magnetic. The plot takes twists I wasn’t expecting and I loved how new mysteries about Eris and Empress Leandra were uncovered slowly, bit by bit.
Honestly, I could read another 17 books in the Iskari world. That’s how much I love Kristen Ciccarell’s writing and her characters.
Her narrative is perfect for fantasy. She describes everything in just the right amount of detail, drawing out poignant moments, but also cutting straight to the heart of the action when she needs to.
I adored the f/f romance in this book. The way Eris and Safire gradually went from enemies to lovers was so believable. They argued, fought, and distrusted each other a lot, before they (finally) began to open up to each other. Their romance had intensely fiery moments but also soothing sweetness and, frankly, I’m soft for them.
This series can be read in any order, but I’d recommend reading it in publication order (The Last Namsara, The Caged Queen, and then The Sky Weaver). For me, this order gives the most streamlined feel to each plot and you get the full experience of this compelling world.
The Sky Weaver is exciting, dramatic, and brilliant fun. It has moments of heightened tension and moments of gentle calm. It’s written with sagacity and energy, and ends the series on a true high. So, if you’re thinking of reading this book, or starting the series from the beginning, saddle your dragon and prepare for a ride.
Kristen Ciccarelli is an internationally bestselling author of fantasy fiction. Her first novel, The Last Namsara, debuted on the UK’s Children & YA chart, was named one of Indigo’s Best Books for Teens, and has been translated into 12 languages.
Before writing books for a living, Kristen was an artisan baker, an indie bookseller, and a ceramic artist.
She resides in a blustery seaside cove on Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula with her blacksmith and her rescue dog.