Skyfarer. Book Review

Skyfarer by Joseph Brassey
Angry Robot, p/b, 384pp, £8.99
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming

The Axiom Diamond has the power to show its bearer the truth they most want to know. The Grey Sages have hidden it for centuries, but the Eternal Order, magic wielding knight-mercenaries, will stop at nothing to own it. Lord Azrael has been tasked with its recovery with the authority to send those hiding it to oblivion.

Aimee du Laurent is an apprentice portal mage on her first mission aboard the Elysium. Her first attempt at opening a portal to move the Elysium through space goes awry. Her and her crew and she is thrust into the fight to protect the Axiom Diamond from Lord Azrael.

This is a captivating book from the first page. The world building is flawless. Skyfarer is set in the Drifting Lands, a glittering jewel of fragmented lands where once there had been planets. The descriptions create gorgeous images, bright and vibrate, a feast for the imagination. The part I enjoyed the most was the different government systems operating in each of the galaxies. There is no overarching ruling system. Each galaxy has it’s own government and alliances with other galaxy governments.

There are two magic systems used by the characters. Aimee has studied for years to be a portal mage. She needs words, gestures and intent to cast any magic. Azrael has inherent magic, he just needs strength of will. He isn’t capable of doing some of the larger spells that Aimee can, but she isn’t as fast as Azrael and he has more experience. They cancel out each other’s magical advantage which is an interesting element.

Without giving anything away, this is a fantastic example of want verses need. Everyone wants the Axiom Diamond because of the truth they believe it will show them, but the truth it shows is not what is expected. And the person ultimately wins the Diamond will have the power to protect the Drifting Lands from the Eternal Order.

This is the first book in The Drifting Lands series. Throughout there are well-placed hints to a bigger plot, with shadowy demonic figures controlling people and prophecies of magical swords. We finish knowing these things are important but not why. But, there are plenty of answers which means I felt satisfied at the end while hungry for more.

The race to the Axiom Diamond is fast paced. Skyfarer is non-stop action from start to finish. Definitely one of those “one more chapter before bed” books which keeps you up until 3 am. My version had the next three chapters of the second book, The Dragon Road, which can’t come fast enough for me.