The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith

The Sky Is Yours

Chandler Klang Smith

The Sky Is Yours is incredibly cinematic, bawdy, rollicking, hilarious, and utterly unforgettable, a debut that readers who loved Cloud AtlasSuper Sad True Love Story, and Blade Runner will adore.

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A sprawling, genre-defying epic set in a dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons, this debut about what it’s like to be young in a very old world is pure storytelling pleasure.
In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash, are forced to flee everything they've ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves.

In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.
"There have been a lot of books heralded as heirs to Infinite Jest, but I can happily say: this is it." —Leah Schnelbach,

Advance Galley Reviews

The Sky Is Yours was a refreshing view of love and survival. The futuristic setting was intriguing and familiar. There were some characters in the book that you love to hate and others that you root for. It was a strange read, but one that you will enjoy and want to read again.

I wanted to love this book so much. But I could barely make myself get through it.  This novel was well-written.... but that's about the only positive thing I can say about it. Oh, and I really liked the cover. I think what bothered me about this novel was the way its characters acted. I know that you don't always like to love the characters; in fact, sometimes, having characters that are despicable can be great. But I couldn't handle the vile acts. I'm not someone who is very sensitive and I can handle sensitive content but this time, I just couldn't deal with the way the author talked about women and people's bodies and rape. I understand that this was done for satirical reasons but ... just, no. Maybe this is a novel I can come back to at another time. But for now, I'm putting it away and I'm sticking to my rating of 1/5 stars.

It is really hard to describe this book, and too much description would probably spoil it anyway. Just know that it is decidedly weird with extremely imaginative world building. I had a difficult time getting into the story due to strange speech patterns and invented words that initially put me off. I'm glad that I persisted however because I wound up liking the book, more for its world and the characters rather than for the plot, which wasn't all that compelling and petered out at the end. In the post-apocalyptic ruined city of Emerald Island Duncan Humphrey Ripple V (Ripple) is about to marry Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg (Swanny) in an arranged marriage joining two wealthy families. For 50 years the city has been periodically torched by two dragons and a dragon attack causes Ripple to crash his flying vehicle and be helped by Abracadabra (Abby) a feral waif-like girl. When he is finally rescued, Ripple brings Abby home with him, basically as his sex toy. Part I of the book brought these characters together and described their families. It was my favorite part of the book and Swanny was my favorite character. Her first meeting with Ripple doesn't go well. "You are the most despicable chauvinist I could ever hope to encounter; it is as though you looked into my secret heart and answered every fear with your Neanderthal's 'hell yeah'. And while we're on the subject of each other's mothers, as we were a while ago, I'd like to express my admiration for the immigrant showgirl who gave you life. Digging for gold is exhausting work. I now know from experience. Thank you for the intoxicants. Also, I hate your dog." Ripple's assessment of Swanny after he gets to know her better: "It's a toss-up: that fem loves her crème fraîche, but there's also a heaping dose of murder rage squeezed into those ruffly plus-sized outfits." Part II of the book dragged a little and Part III felt rushed. Also, don't get your hopes up about the dragons because they are barely in the book and they really can't compete with the other bizarre stuff going on here. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

"Even in the best of times, a city does not love you back. We city-dwellers are a strange breed, lodging in cramped rooms, filling our lungs with smog. Our buildings block the sun; our lights weaken the night. Humans make a city, but a city makes humans tolerate the intolerable. We have always known this in our minds. Now we know it in our broken hearts. Empire Island will kill us in the end. But what would it mean to leave?" This is a quirky, complex tangle of a sci-fi novel, with lovely lyrical prose juxtaposed with the porn-influenced shallow thoughts of a spoiled teen brat. While it was completely not at all what I was expecting, the ride was intense. Yes, the characters all start out pretty unlikeable (looking at you, Dunk), but they do, gradually, grow and change over the course of the book. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this book since I finished reading it (especially that ending!) and I honestly can't say whether I liked the book or not. Regardless of that, I'm still going to recommend it, if only because I can't stop thinking about it!

This book was so not for me. The main male character is a "toob" personality (think Logan Paul) whom I hated. Most of the female characters were basically sex toys, the one who wasn't was described as "enormous". I guess it might have been a satire, but it just made me feel sad and tired. If I hadn't agreed to review it, I never would have finished it.

I jumped into this book immediately following Gnomon (also from PRH First to Read) thinking it would be a quicker, lighter read, but I was wrong. The Sky Is Yours is a fully-parsed, complex story packed with interesting characters under a backdrop of two dragons systematically destroying Empire Island (akin to NYC) with fire. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though I will admit I was turned off at first by the main character for being such a spoiled, misogynistic ass and later, at times, by some [ridiculously] far-fetched ideas. Fortunately, I kept reading and it was worth it. Klang Smith delivers a new take on our apocalyptic future and I was captivated by the prose with which she delivered it.

I tried on this book, I really did. I got through 53% before I had to give up. My big problem is the characters. Nearly all of them are rich, spoiled and whiny. The city is pretty much destroyed by dragons, yet they refuse to leave, clinging to past glories, and squabbling over money. The main focus is the heirs to two wealthy families, and their impending marriage, complete with all kinds of contracts. They're both completely unlikable, flawed and petty, terribly selfish and prone to why-me-ing at any tiny problem. The world is squalid and full of people taking advantage, with everyone else suffering. Everything is crumbling and falling apart. I skipped ahead to the end, and the character I sort of liked ends badly, while it seems like the ones I disliked are rewarded.

I did not finish this book. I have to admit that I was put off by a negative gender comment in the early pages of the book, but I pressed forward, assuming there were... reasons. I stopped reading for a few weeks to try to see if post-holiday reading would improve my take. But after getting to the halfway mark, I just found the characters unlikable. Coupled with a meandering plot, I found myself not even looking forward to my available reading time to continue. I have enjoyed complicated and stylized books such as those by Ada Palmer but here I feel like I just do not see this author's "point." Rather than post a negative review on Goodreads, I just marked it DNF. As a courtesy to the author, who has not published much, I am not distributing this review on social media. Thank you for the paper copy, which will be offered to another reviewer in my network to try to fulfill the purpose of garnering reviews.

I'm still kind of reeling from this book.  Chandler Klang Smith's The Sky Is Yours starts out like a commentary on the consumerism of society.  A society crashing and, quite literally, burning into oblivion.  However, it quickly becomes apparent that this isn't ALL that's going on.  Smith leads the reader through a rabbit warren of emotions with her characters. At the beginning, nearly all characters are rather detestable.  When your choices are between a spoiled teenager and a criminal boss, it's hard not to just throw your arms up in the air and call the whole book terrible.  However, something Smith does REALLY well is show how characters change and grow.  From Duncan to Swanny to Sharkey, and even Abby, you see very definite changes in voice and thought in all the characters.  You start to want them ALL to be redeemable.  You want them all to become the lead characters you expect out of books. Smith also paints a fairly desolate picture of a Postapocalyptic-style cityscape.  While the apocalyptic event isn't widespread and normal, the aftermath is very similar.  You have a privatized world where the criminals live in a walled city with no door.  The fact that any of the characters survive it is astounding.  However, Smith really sucks you in with descriptions of open markets, deserted streets, and smoldering ruins. She intersperses scripts, video game flow charts, and poetry in her prose, using them to illustrate how the minds of her characters view the world.  While this can be jarring for some, they generally introduce a new area of thought and are well-executed.  I really enjoyed the video game sequence toward the end. The ending will make you rage...or at least it made me rage.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that anything else just didn't make sense.  And even if we were spotty on some details, we have resolution for the MC...the rest of the characters are really a supporting cast and following them any further would feel more like Smith was prolonging the end of the book for the sake of prolonging it. This book evokes strong emotions about characters that are not (or are barely) likeable, and it will definitely make you think.

I’m sad to say I just couldn’t get into this book. I had such high hopes for it. Normally I’m a huge fan of the genre and writings styles similar to this one, however there wasn’t anything in this book that hooked me. I really hate not finishing books, so maybe I’ll give it another shot sometime down the line.

Upon reading the first page I thought, if the rest of the prose in this dystopian science fiction novel is like this, I'm all in. That said, it was a slow build afterwards, with shades of Vonnegut, Lethem, Kirsten Bakis's *Lives of the Monster Dogs,* Philip K. Dick. It features a decaying city, dragons, and weird, coming-of-age characters. The slow build eventually pays off.

I loved reading this novel and can't believe I waited so long to read this. It was gripping with adventure, love, and terror. It has dragons and a burning city -- who doesn't want to read that? But, the story only takes a book so far. Chandler Klang Smith's prose is gorgeous and lured me in from the first sentence onwards. Before I knew it, I was a friend among the characters of the book, reading frantically to see what awaits for them. Overall, I 100% recommend this book. The age preference, 16+ as there is mild language and sexual conduct.

I really enjoyed the futuristic world Chandler Klang Smith creates in her new novel “The Sky is Yours.” It was a little slow at the beginnjng for me, but I later realized that those early pages set the stage for creative characters, gritty landscapes, and scenes I felt I was watching in detail as I read through each page. Definitely would recommend and I look forward to other books Smith outs out in the future.

I'm trying to sort out what this book really is, and so I need to put a bit of a spoiler alert here. I'm trying to pull it together. I won't put plot details in, but I have a bit of fundamental setup. Duncan and Swanny are married at the outset of the story, both 18, both very reluctant, having met each other the previous day. Their parents have arranged the marriage as a primarily financial transaction. But their paths immediately diverge, each one having an affair with someone who is the result of a failed experiment. One experiment is a social one, a prison designed as a city, where children are born into captivity and live out their lives there -- the prison city worked for a few years but then went terribly awry. The other experiment is a biotechnology experiment involving animals and communication of a rather magical sort. Most of the technology in this story is very recognizable, so it doesn't feel very science fiction-esque. There are funny words for things that we see in everyday life. Most of the science fiction is in the biotech. It's set in a city well past its prime, which had several very recognizable economic problems before the two experiments tipped it into a dystopian existence. A few individuals are looking for ways to make Empire Island great again, but others are finding various ways to survive. The first third of the book feels like an interesting analysis of why those who stayed remain -- only the very poor and the very rich. The rich could afford to leave, but they don't, using their money to build higher and thicker walls between themselves and the world. This part of the commentary is thoughtful, and the city that Smith builds is intriguingly like our own, but miserable and medieval at the same time. There are two coming-of-age stories. All of this is well done. The biggest challenge for me was that there just weren't any characters I was rooting for. The whole thing remained interesting and thought-provoking, but not very personal or emotional. But I think it's important for me to include here that this sort of feeling is why I don't read much sci fi or fantasy -- precisely because I find the civilizations developed but not the characters. In this case, the characters were developed, just not relatable. I got a free copy to review from First to Read.

I am a huge fan of Cloud Atlas, Hitchhiker's Guide and other books in this odd genre mix. I struggled to get into this book. I found Duncan's character to be offputting at first, but was immediately drawn in once the Baroness and Abby were drawn into the story. There was so much content that had me immensely entertained. I would really be interested in seeing this on the big screen and would like to see this story continued in some form.

This was a book that hooked you from the start. It was clever in it's world building and you never second guessed for a moment that Dragon's are just part of the world now. From the first chapter it was a great way to escape the real world. The characters were interesting, if not as creative as the world that was going on around them. There was solid interest to see what would happen to the couples set in a scorched earth. Definitely a book I would recommend to those that are looking for something different to read.

I loved how colorful and exciting this story was, and I thought the world of Empire Island was wonderfully created and so rich. It kept me constantly engaged and I never knew what was coming next. My problems were all with the characters. I would have liked to see some more character development for Ripple and to see him progress beyond his misogyny. As Abby was portrayed as childlike and didn't have a proper understanding of sex/relationships, I found the emphasis on the sexual element of her relationship with Ripple really disturbing and think some of this should have been cut. I didn't like Ripple or Abby (although I did warm to Abby towards the end) and found them hard to root for. However, I loved Swanny and her relationship with Sharkey. Overall, there are some flaws in this book but all together I found it an excellent read. I would definitely be interested to read more from Chandler Klang Smith.

DNF. I just couldn't get into this book and found it difficult to read.

The Sky Is Yours is crazily creative and kept me intrigued from beginning to end. I really just loved everything about it from the quirky and interesting characters to the authors wonderfully inventive story telling abilities. It's one of those books you get hooked on and are sad when it comes to an end. The story starts off strange and only gets stranger as you read on. Duncan Ripple, a reality TV star, Baroness Swann Lenore Dahlberg- his betrothed and Abby, a strange feral girl who lives on an island where the cities trash is dumped, are forced to leave the safety of their homes and navigate the dangerous city. 2 Dragons soar above the city and unleash their fiery breathes unto the city and are constantly burning down buildings, damaging the earth and causing chaos in their wake for years. Most of the cities inhabitants have been long gone but some stragglers remain as well as the prison inmates who have been sealed inside the prison walls and forced to remain. The fire department has given up and disbanded and the police force is small and mostly focused on throwing the escaped prisoners back into prison. The three main characters set out together but quickly find themselves on their own separate journeys, trying to survive and find their places in the world. I love love love love love this book so much that I've already pre-ordered it and added it to my Amazon cart. Its an instant must have for my little at home library. Its one of those books that takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions as you navigate through the story. Its about love, friendship, survival, a strange girl who can talk to magical animals, dragons and its hilariously fake and real all at once. I love the way the characters morph and grow throughout the story and the different paths they are led down but are ultimately drawn back together. It was unique and well written to where i had no idea what was going to happen but i desperately needed to find out. I would highly recommend this book for someone tired of reading the same old plot line with different characters. I dare you to find me a more unique and interesting novel.

Chandler Klang Smith did a beautiful job on The Sky Is Yours. At no point could I guess what was going to happen. Most books at about half way through will give you a very good idea about how the book will end. But not this wonderful book. At no point in the story can you tell what is going to happen to Duncan, Swanny, or Abby. It was amazing. Despite the ending I am hoping for a sequel since I love these characters and would like to see what happens to them as they truly reach adulthood.

I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. It was extremely unique, to say the least. It took me a while to read this book, because it was so strange that I found it hard to really get into. That being said, though, I do appreciate how singular this story is - I've never read anything like it before and I can't imagine there's a similar story anywhere out there. Most of the characters were just a bit too unlikable for me, but I did enjoy Hooli, the rat, and Abby and their interactions. If you're looking for a very unique, very odd story, this will definitely fit the bill. I would recommend at least giving it a try, because it's a cool experience to read something so out-of-the-box and different.


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