I can count on two hands how many times an author has really truly surprised me. Anne Wheeler is now on that list. I read “Asrian Skies” at the beginning of the year and again over the last few days. It was true on the first read and truer on the second: Wheeler surprised and delighted me, which is exactly how I want to feel after investing hours in a story.
Wheeler is a real-life pilot and it shows.
There were multiple times throughout the story that I got lost in technical elements (for me – a hallmark of good science-fiction). Wheeler did her homework and brings her own experience as a pilot into the main character, Avery Rendon. Avery is believable in large part because of Wheeler’s subtle technical layering.
The main character is worth investing in.
Avery is also endearing, brave, and sometimes a little annoying and I LOVE HER for it because she’s real and entertaining. I’m tired of characters that seem confused, scared, oblivious, and otherwise boring. I didn’t always agree with Avery’s choices and I sometimes thought she was inconsistent, but that’s exactly how real people behave. Avery’s character arc, every high and every low, are enhanced by Wheeler’s affinity for understanding what truly motivates people. I predict you’ll be hooked by chapter four and fully invested by about midway through.
It might feel like a slow burn and that’s because it is.
Like a lot of people my age, my attention span feels smaller than ever. I wanted the story to pick up speed in a couple parts and then I got my karma when a plot twist ripped me from the couch. I read the last half of the book on my Kindle Fire until I finished at 2:00 AM. Wheeler sets up the climax of the story with the kind of patience and tension that are often lost with first-time authors. It’s a testament to her innate talent and her commitment to the craft.
Politics are only the tip of the iceberg.
The plot is impressive, complex, and well-paced. There are several plot twists and reveals as the story progresses. The reader will notice that while Wheeler doesn’t dwell in mundane details about the government, the story is political. Wheeler examines topics that are currently on the mind’s of Americans from a new standpoint and encourages the reader to think about things like faith, religion, and forgiveness.
There was a particularly poignant moment between Avery and a certain romantic interest that had me so deep in thought, so totally removed from reality, that I felt like I was waking up from a coma after looking up from the text. 😀
There’s a sequel.
That’s right. Wheeler released, “Unbroken Fire,” in June of this year (2018). It’s on my to-be-read list and I plan to update this review on completion. I might move it up the list because I’m already starting to have withdrawals from the world Wheeler created.
Title: Asrian Skies
Author: Anne Wheeler
Genre(s): Science Fiction > Futuristic > Christian
Print Length: 300 pages
Release Date: September 13, 2017
Purchase “Asrian Skies” – first in a duology, on Amazon.
Learn more about Anne Wheeler on her website.