oh my goodness, where to start?
I guess I'll start with my first impressions of the author, William Amerman. I absolutely loved working with him! Bill has been very engaged, friendly, and funny in every step of our correspondence regarding his book. It's been great! He opened our conversation not with the download link for his book or any description of the "product" I was to review... instead, he included several comments on my blog (and this post in particular) and made me laugh out loud at my screen. He also let me babble excitedly to him about my wonderful, amazing, perfect spring break, so he gets all the points. It has been a joy and a pleasure to write back and forth with him, made even more so by how excited I was to read the first installment of The Sky Series, Foundation! Just wait until you hear about how cool this book is!
Okay, so I guess you don't really have to wait. You guys know how I am with the patience thing! You NEED to read this book. I cannot even get over how cool it is! I know the above blurb might make it seem like I'm biased, because I wish the author was my mentor/family member/best bud, but erase that thought from your memory.
This book has shot up to my favorites list.
This is not a statement I make lightly.
The Sky Series is a wonderful mix of post-apocalyptic/dystopian and a spy thriller. I love both of these genres, and I must say that Foundation combines the best parts of both! There's even a mafia-style "family!" It is written in such an incredibly engaging manner... to the point where I've gotten lost in the plot and stayed up far too late (like I haven't since the last Harry Potter came out), just to find out what happens next. It moves fast, with so many twists and turns, which are especially dizzying because the narrative is delivered by several points of view! Despite the wonderful craziness which might leave you reeling, no part of the plot is confusing and everything is amazing. Oh my gosh, I've seriously never been so excited to share something with you lovely readers!
Okay. Breathe. Official, non-babbling review, coming your way!
So, basically, the main premise is that the "world" (as the characters know it), is comprised of levels stacked one on top of the other...after a city walled itself off from the rest of civilization 700 years ago. The standard of living gets better and better the more levels you climb (and, inversely, worse and worse the lower you fall). We start on Ground 134, but keep getting sneaky hints of the horrors of Ground 43, also known as Muldoin. Everything is about upward mobility, but not everything is as it seems.
One of the main characters, Nick, is a journalist currently living on Ground 134 with his wife and son. Nick experienced Muldoin, but every time the events there come up in his thoughts, he shuts them down and locks them away. He wrote a book on it and planned to expose the happenings to every Ground in the world, but it was confiscated. Mysterious, no?
Nick and his best friend, Storme, are part of a rebellious group trying to emigrate illegally with the help of a corrupt stock broker. On the other side of this transaction, there's a parallel storyline- that of unhappily married couple Dirk and Anna. Dirk's a sleazy character, as you could probably guess from my saying "with the help of a corrupt stock broker." He's a cheating, lying son of a beeyotch and I hate that he's married to Anna because she's not. She was military on Muldoin and is still a badass strong female character when we meet her. She's also college-level educated, which doesn't seem all that commonplace. She describes herself as "one twisted, torqued-out chick" AND I LOVE IT!
The greatest thing about all of these characters are their flaws. For example, Nick is by no means James Bond. He messes up "the plan" (what little he knew of it) multiple times. He and his wife, Jane, have some serious marital problems. Like, neighbors called the cops and then the cops asked Nick if he needed counseling, in a turn of typical gender dynamics. Despite these fundamental facts of the plot, Nick manages to create new options for himself and his band of misfits while being an upstanding father and family man (despite numerous gouges from Jane's fingernails). They are all so real and very little about their relationships could be termed "perfect" by any stretch of the imagination. That's what makes it my favorite dystopian novel. Yes, you read that right- Foundation has surpassed The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the whole legion of other books in this category that I have read and loved. You know why? Because the main point of the story is not romance. It's action and thrills and edge-of-your-seat what's-going-to-happen-next. PLUS it ends with a huge cliffhanger and I NEED to read the next installment, Detritus Machine, pronto (Thankfully for my impatient self, it comes out for e-readers this month!). Seriously, get yourself a copy of Foundation now- like, right now- so that we can freak out over The Sky Series together!