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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Sky is Yours(2018) by Chandler Klang Smith


Image result for the sky is yours
Detail of cover art from The Sky is Yours (2018) by Chandler Kland Smith, features two dragons in a modified Ouroboros
Book Review
The Sky is Yours (2018) 
by Chandler Klang Smith

  I'm generally interested in literary dystopia- as supposed to the strictly genre YA dystopian fiction market- less obvious, not always featuring a YA protagonist, grappling with contemporary societal issues ETC.  It's an interest that ties in with a larger interest in the border between popular and critically acclaimed, and particularly, what are artists and works that are both at the same time.  I enjoy reading science fiction, or did, as a youth, and it's really only the merest pretext of literary aspiration in a review that's required to trigger my interest.

  So it is with The Sky is Yours- a Penguin Random House release from January of this year, by a first time author Chandler Klang Smith (a woman, just because you wouldn't know from the name.)  Reviewers have dropped comparisons to  David Foster Wallace in terms of her depiction of a realist-fantasy of American dystopia.  The twist, as it were, are dragons, a pair of them, endlessly circling a stand in the New York City, which has been burned to a crisp, and a hollowed out, leaving only the very rich and condemned criminals.

 In a cast of dozens, the major players are the Ripple clan- father, scion of one of the last remaining land owning clans in not-New York;  Son- Duncan- is a past-his-prime  his intended bride- Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg- the real star of The Sky is Yours, and her aged, gun toting bad-ass mom.  On the eve of his impending (arranged) marriage, Duncan is blasted by on of the dragons, and lands on a garbage island where he meets, beds, and falls in love with Abby, a feral girl-child with a secret past.  That is basically chapters one and two- and The Sky is Yours keeps on for about 500 pages.

  The Sky is Yours is NOT a YA title- there is sex and violence aplenty to merit an R rating.  At the same time Smith writes with such a vigor that it isn't hard to imagine a world where high school read it.  I would observe that Smith's prose really pops, and that The Sky is Yours is evidence of an author who can be popular and critically acclaimed at the same time. 

  I'm not sure that The Sky is Yours is, actually, a hit.   If it isn't, that's a drag, but you should still give it a spin on the off the chance that either catches fire or is picked up a for a prestige tv or movie version.  Not that a tv version or movie version is likely to be good.  I could well imagine it being terrible, since it is really Smith's deft touch and talent for layered references that would be hardest to convey in another medium.     

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