Find your light. Find your truth, Skyfarer.
An apprentice sorceress is dragged into a vicious quest across an endless sky in this Star Wars-inspired space fantasy.
The Axiom Diamond is a mythical relic, with the power to show its bearer any truth they desire. Men have sought for it across many continents for centuries, but in vain. When trainee sorceress Aimee de Laurent’s first ever portal-casting goes awry, she and her mentor are thrown into the race to find the gem, on the skyship Elysium. Opposing them are the infamous magic-wielding knights of the Eternal Order and their ruthless commander, Lord Azrael, who will destroy everything in their path…
I literally have no words to describe this novel. I don’t want to say that it was great, because it was epic. I don’t want to say it was an interesting read, it was captivating. Damn, I don’t even want to say that Joseph Brassey is a brilliant science fiction and fantasy author – he is the author.
To say that this novel has Star Wars-like elements to it, or at least some feeling to it, would be like saying George R.R Martin writes like a high-schooler who had never written a sentence before: you know there’s not a chance in hell anyone would believe it. Brassey writes with a flair I have been yearning to encounter in a story, he hits those sweet spots in your imagination that keep those satisfactory vibes going. His prose, in the field Skyfarer was written in, is purely original and uncontested – at least in all my years of reading books. It is, without a doubt in my mind, a dazzling claim to place Brassey right there among the greats: Isaac Asimov, Alastair Reynolds, Brandon Sanderson, William C. Dietz, Steven Erikson, Ray Bradbury…I can honestly do this all day but you get the point: the guy wrote a story that blew my mind.
Do I say that in each review? Not a chance, though there are a handful who come close.
Brassey’s characters are rich, admirable, and memorable. A simple concept taken by the writer soon turns into something immensely enjoyable and fun. His dynamic and in-depth world-building is stunning, take the movie Treasure Island and splash those vibrant tones of colour and detail into the ships, the landscape, the skies, and it immediately becomes obvious Brassey takes pride in what he does. You have all the ingredients for a great story: a misplaced antagonist blinded by a veil of lies and make-belief, forced to carry out the bidding of his dark master, haunted by visions of a past he doens’t recognize. A young and naïve protagnist is thrust into a situation she can’t avoid and learns through her mistakes and an innate ability she has to nurture, that she has a part in this fight after all – much to everyone else’s disbelief.
I’m terribly ashamed that I have only encountered this highly imaginative writer recently, though I am excited for the future: what else is Brassey going to write? Will his follow-up novels be as good as this one? Can he live up to this pedestal many of his fans (old and new) are putting him on top of? What can we expect next? From my point of view, I don’t care what the hell he writes next, as long as he keeps up this bad-ass talent and keeps producing the kinds of stories I was just exposed to.
Science fiction and fantasy readers have been waiting for a story like this, and Angry Robot Books have made it happen.