Wednesday, October 17, 2018

#Review - Roar of Sky by Beth Cato #Fantasy #Historical

Series: Blood of Earth # 3
Format: E-Galley, 448 pages
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Fantasy / Historical

In this stunning conclusion to the acclaimed Blood of Earth trilogy—a thrilling alternate history laced with earth magic, fantastic creatures, and steampunk elements—the young geomancer Ingrid must find a way to use her extraordinary abilities to save her world from the woman hellbent on engineering a war that would rip it to pieces.

Thanks to her geomantic magic, Ingrid has successfully eluded Ambassador Blum, the evil genius behind the plan to achieve world domination for the United Pacific. But using her powers has taken its toll: Ingrid’s body has been left severely weakened, and once again she is on the run with her friends Cy and Fenris.

Hoping to learn more about her magical roots and the strength her bloodline carries, Ingrid makes her way across the Pacific to Hawaii, home to the ancient earth goddess Madame Pele. What she discovers in this paradise is not at all what she expects—but perhaps exactly what she needs to find the strength to face Blum.

But Ambassador Blum comes from the same world of old magic. She is a kitsune with near-mythic power. And if Ingrid cannot defeat her once and for all, she knows Blum will use that power to take the lives of everyone she holds dear before igniting a war that will bring the entire world to its knees.

Roar of Sky is the final installment in author Beth Cato’s Blood of Earth trilogy. The best way to describe this series is Alternative history & fiction mixed with reality. Roar of Sky picks up shortly after the end of Call of Fire. In an alternate world 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China which has been left utterly devastated.  

Protagonist Ingrid Carmichael has seen more in one month, than you or I will see in a lifetime. No hyperbole. This series actually started with Ingrid surviving the San Francisco Earthquake along with her mentor & father figure Mr. Sakaguchi. In the process, she learned that she is an exceptionally powerful Geomancer with the ability to hold energy; the only woman in history to be able to do so. The problem is that Ingrid is not only a woman, but also a woman of color with a mix ancestry of Mexican, Indian, and Filipino.

Ingrid's adventures began in earnest after she met pacifist Cypress Jennings and his partner Fenris Braun who own a steam driven airship called the Palmetto Bug. Cato twists her story to include one Theodore Roosevelt as one of the 12 powerful Unified Pacific Ambassadors. In case your history teacher failed to mention it, Roosevelt was the leader of the Rough Riders, the 26th President of the USA, and oh by the way, the driving force behind the Progressive Era in the US.

Ingrid is suffering from the high costs of staying hidden from Ambassador Blum who has put a rather high bounty on the capture of Ingrid. Blum is a cunning kitsune and dangerous bureaucrat who wants to use Ingrid’s formidable powers to help the Unified Pacific achieve world domination. To stop them, Ingrid must learn more about the god-like magic she inherited from her estranged father. The man who set off the quake that obliterated San Francisco. 

Hawaii is where we find our trio, as well as a large group of Sylphs who just love to eat all sorts of goodies. (By the way, I adore the Sylphs, and if you read the series itself, you will too!) Hawaii is where Ingrid meets her Grandmother the Goddess Pele. But, it is not where the story ends. Nope. Cato takes her group of characters on a action packed adventure across the country. From Los Angeles, even to Phoenix, Arizona where the trio attempts to stop Blum and her new war machine named Excalibur. Will there be a reunion between Ingrid and Lee Fong who was last seen with Mr. Sakaguchi? Or, will Blum catch up first and ruin the reunion?

Ingrid is a wonderful character who is not only powerful, but now has some physical restraints that really hinder her movements. But, if you think the limitations will slow her down, forget about it. She can also recognize fantastics, which are beings like sylph's, fairies, and Qilin. The qilin or kirin is a mythical hooved chimerical creature known in Chinese and other East Asian cultures. With help from Cy, a brilliant inventor, and Fenris, a MacGyver like character who can fix nearly anything, the adventure is anything but boring.

Cato’s characters are richly diverse, and are underdogs fighting social injustice and prejudice. Cato doesn't hesitate to use sexism and racism to tell her story. Something that is actually a breath of fresh air and accurate for this era, especially towards the Chinese and women. The  Blood of Earth trilogy is ideal reading for both historical fiction and alternate history/fantasy fans. It also has the coming-of-age elements YA readers love.

1 comment:

  1. Palmetto Bug. lol The colors jump off that cover. Glad you enjoyed it.
    sherry @ fundinmental