Book Review – “Sky’s End: Book One in the Cassiel Winters Series” by Lesley Young
A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe’s future at stake.
Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth’s new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command’s top pilots and her only family, who’s been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition’s fierce, and she’s already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once.
Even the station’s most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can’t help Cassiel pass the second time around—so why is he so interested in her progress? If only one of her freaky déjà vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide.
When Cassiel’s manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all.
Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother—even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or’ic, the cold-as-steel Thell’eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.
Sky’s End is an engaging and stimulating point of view of the intergalactic frontier sprinkled with a dash of mystery, intrigue, and romance. As a fan of the sci-fi genre, I was more than a little intrigued given the fact the book is written by a woman. Most of the sci-fi I’ve read has been written from a male perspective. And the romance aspect of Sky’s End also fascinated me. After having read too many lewd and lusty scenes from another series of books I just finished, I found the more gentle approach to the young heroine Cassiel Winters’ virtue—which remains intact—refreshing.
Young does a great job of creating this pseudo world where a future Earth has become desolate and prone to alien invasion. To protect the planet from intergalactic raiders, a large space station known as Earth Space Exploration (ESE) has been constructed to recruit and train soldiers to fight against potential alien attack. What intrigues me is how Young describes everything to help you better relate to this new reality. While I’m usually opposed to overly descriptive visuals as I prefer to use my own imagination, I appreciated the author giving me basic, yet vivid descriptions to help aid my creative mind’s eye in imagining this ginormous space station floating 568,000 miles from Earth.
Cassiel is a likable character with many flaws—her quirks are realistic and very relatable. While she is fiercely dedicated to finding her brother Daz, she pines for a man, Lt. Damian King, who isn’t really worth her time. From the moment we’re introduced to him, I dislike him and immediately sense something is awry. But Cassiel being young and inexperienced doesn’t know any better. What irritates me is her inner monologue. I’m not sure if its Young’s writing or the editing, but it becomes difficult at times to decipher what’s in Cassiel’s head or what she verbalizes. Aside from that, the story is compelling and had me staying up into the wee hours of the night to finish a chapter. I finished the book in about three days and would have finished sooner but life gets in the way sometimes.
There are other sub-characters important to the story, but I think their usefulness may come in the other books in this series. The vital characters in Sky’s End are Cassiel, Lt. Damian King, Daz, and the aliens knowns as Thell’eon, especially Prime Or’ic and several of his Thell’eon Kirs. The most intriguing part of this first installment is Cassiel’s abrupt introduction and subsequent capture by the Thell’eons. It seems their interaction with humans have been few and far between. The main aspect is how coveted female humans are throughout the universe. Even on ESE, there are only a few female cadets and from what nuggets of information I’ve gathered in reading, there aren’t many human females left. So when Prime Or’ic meets the feisty and beautiful Cassiel, he’s more than a little intrigued, especially after he saves her from dying due to a head injury. I’d love to try what he did with her – symbiosis. I won’t say anymore but he was in her mind with her and experienced things as he would if they were both conscious.
Cassiel’s unique gift of déjà-vu is more important than she ever realized. Her abilities continue to evolve throughout the chapters and she begins to see how valuable she really is. Even though she tries to escape the Thell’eon warship, she exasperates me in her self-loathing. I understand she’s had to keep her déjà-vu a secret most of her life, which may have contributed to her misconception of being different as a negative, but even with Damian, Daz, and Or’ic giving her encouragement, her guard is up, afraid of letting anyone in.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sky’s End and I would read it again (actually, I am while waiting on book two…ahem, Lesley Young.) The thrill of Cassiel’s first love with Damian is sweet and starts butterflies flittering in your stomach, but the passion Or’ic ignites in Cassiel is unrivaled. She fights it because Or’ic isn’t human and feels like she’s betraying Damian but she’s not promised to anyone. Her fear of being different and caring for someone equally as different prevents her from experiencing what she know is true love. I’m eagerly waiting for book two to find out what happens!
For more information on the author and to read chapter one of Sky’s End, go to http://lesleyyoungbooks.com/
© 2013, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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