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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sky Castles: Book One: Blue and Silver by Sue Perkins



Sky Castles: Book One: Blue and Silver by Sue Perkins
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Fantasy
Length: Full
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Approaching the airborne estate by transport gave Caishel a superb overall view of the grounds and showed the magnificence of the huge stone castle. She’d read in one of her ‘borrowed’ scrolls it was supposed to be a true copy of the buildings from the home of the ancients, but that was stupid! Nobody knew where the ancients had come from all those centuries ago, so how could they know what their homes had been like?

A flicker of white caught her eye and she gasped. A figure in white flowing garments hovered next to the wing of the transport. The spirit’s face turned towards her, its eyes a brilliant green. The white lipped mouth opened in a circle of shock and the figure suddenly vanished. Caishel smothered a gasp of amazement. This had to be the spirit who had made the attempt on Sire Ailan’s life. The only difference from her forest friends was the colour of the eyes!

Blue and Silver plunges into action immediately, as young Caishel is caught thieving. Turnabout happens fast though, and she steps up to save a member of Duke Robard’s court. She doesn’t manage it on purpose, and she quite spur-of-the moment creates the persona ‘Cail’ and becomes a royal page. Caishel makes an effort to maintain the appearance of a street person, which intrigues us from the start. She does adapt well –and cleverly - to her rapidly changing circumstances. Sire Ailan, not actually a help to her at start, reveals a more kindly side almost at once.

Perkins absolutely hooks her readers at chapter one, and wherever we aren’t intrigued, we find ourselves enchanted.

Caishel, whatever her guise, makes herself fit in, as necessary. She’s something of a toughie, however, and her attitude sometimes overruns her insightfulness.

Creation of a world is a must in this type of fantasy, and it cannot be easy. In this case the story required the creation of two worlds; life on the streets and in contrast, the sheer luxury in the sky castles. Some of the descriptions are incredibly tantalizing:

Ardon Castle stood in the centre of rich green lawns, sur-rounded by flowerbeds ablaze with colour. Its turrets reached still higher into the cloudless blue, and a drawbridge crossed an artificial moat to the main entrance. The silver shimmer of a force field stretched from the edges of the park-like grounds and domed above the buildings, protecting the luxury from the atmosphere. Daith, the delicate pink day moon of the planet Hejmen, hung higher in the sky…

This story also required the plausible presentation of three distinct races, and a look back at a different time, as well. Indeed, a sense of the past, and of the impact of history hovers over this entire tale.

Blue and Silver is well visualized and described, presenting unique events and circumstances. It also presents all sorts of more recognizable – and enjoyable – things, like friendship, loyalty, and even love.

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