I have recently read Under the Empyrean Sky, by Chuck Wendig, the first in the YA cornpunk adventure, The Heartland Trilogy.
Chuck has mastered the art of the slow reveal. With each page, more information is released about the world and the characters. It’s not all backstory, though. Twists and suspenseful events are introduced in a slow and casual way that leaves you feeling like… WHAT?
For example, we find out quickly that Gwennie is absent from the scavenger crew that day because she is off preparing for Harvest Home. Nothing more is said about what Harvest Home actually is. I read it and locked it away in the I-know-this-will-come-up-later section of my reader’s mind. And it did. Surely. But when it did, it came with a huge THEY DO WHAT AT THIS THING! (Sorry, no spoilers. Go read the book!)
And so much of the book is like that. Cael and his family keep getting kicked in their teeth (figuratively and somewhat literally) and just when you think, oh, now he’ll have to give up because there is no other option, Cael turns around and does something surprising or something else huge is revealed (Like the thing his dad has been involved in!).
If you’ve ever read his blog, you know that Chuck is witty. More than witty, really. Pretty hilarious (even if somewhat vulgar). His storytelling in novel form is no less humorous.
But it’s also very action-packed. As I said, there’s ALL THE SUSPENSE. You’ll be chewing off your fingernails and flipping pages faster than you flip through your relatives vacation photo album at Christmastime.
My rating: 4 out of 5 = really liked it
Get Under the Empyrean Sky here.
Book number #2, Blightborn, can be pre-ordered here and comes out July 29. I already ordered mine! (Psst. There’s a bonus short story if you pre-order!)