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Sci Fi Romance Review: Sky Raiders by Michelle Diener

Sky Raiders by Michelle Diener (Sky Raiders #1)

ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
When the people of Barit first saw the sky craft, they felt awe. Then awe turned to fear and they found a name for the mysterious newcomers. Sky raiders.

Garek's one year of duty as a guard walking the walls of Garamundo was extended to two when the sky raiders appeared. Two long years away from home and his lover, Taya. When he finally returns, the town is empty. While Garek was protecting Garamundo, the sky raiders were taking their victims from his hometown.

Taya can't bear looking into the night sky. All she can see is Barit, her home planet. Impossibly, the sky raiders have brought her and their other victims to Shadow, the planet that shadows her own, and looking up makes her aware of everything she's lost. Garek is out there somewhere. She knows he'll look, but he'll never find her.

She and the other captives have to find a way to escape. Without the food and clothes the sky raiders bring them from their raids on Barit, they'll starve on the almost barren wastes of Shadow. And when they've given the sky raiders enough of what they want, that's exactly what the sky raiders will leave them to do.

She does have an idea of how she can break free--the sky raiders have brought them to Shadow to mine for ore. A very special ore which Taya has worked out is as dangerous to the sky raiders as it is valuable.

What she doesn't realize is she'll have some help with her plan. Because Garek isn't giving up. And he's even more resourceful than she could ever have imagined.

Nothing is going to keep him from Taya. Not even space itself.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Book Depository


* * *
 While I was a little bit disappointed that Sky Raiders wasn't connected to Diener's previous space opera series, it was still a very entertaining read. A clash of high technology with a medieval magical world made for a fascinating story.

Garek has an affinity for air, one of the strongest there is, which means he is a hot commodity and has been serving as a guard on the walls of Garamundo for way too long. There is a girl waiting for him back home and he is determined to go back, grab her and start a new life somewhere else. Only when he arrives, his whole village is abandoned as most of the people were taken by sky raiders, and Taya disappeared with them.

Now Garek is plotting the impossible and is determined to get his beloved back. It's actually really fun to watch him figuring out the technology of sky raiders, and he finds an interesting accomplice along the way too.

Taya, who is classic Diener's heroine is an absolute pleasure to read about. She has been waiting for Garek to come back to her for 2 years when the sky raiders come and take a group of the villagers to Shadow, the moon planet of her own Barit. They are forced to mine an unknown mineral with dangerous properties along with tribes taken from different points of Barit. It's hard work, and there are inevitable cultural clashes among various groups in the camp. 

Taya takes on one of the leading roles with her decisive, concise and resourceful personality while plotting an escape for them all. She isn't afraid to speak her mind and stand up to bullies, and she forces others to do the same. In short, she makes things happen just like Garek.
It's a very well-written space opera with great pace and a sweet romance which doesn't overwhelm the rest of the plot. Diener's sci-fi reminds me of R.L. Smith, just as a much gentler version.

I enjoyed the characterisation and the world-building while secretly wishing for a longer novel. It felt a bit simplistic at times,  but I hope further books in the series will expand this fascinating world and answer my burning questions.


* * *
Хоть я и была немного разочарована, что Небесные Рейдеры оказались не связаны с предыдущей серией НФ от Дьенэ, читала я эту книгу с удовольствием.

Концепция, хоть и не нова, но развита интересно: столкновение между примитивным средневековым миром Барита, где некоторые люди рождаются со сверхъестественными возможностями и миром высоких технологий, представители которого похищают баритцев в рабство.

Гарек, талант которого заключается в манипуляции воздухом, возвращается в родную деревню, отслужив 2 года стражником в Гарамундо в качестве дани, и обнаруживает её пустой, так как практически всех его соседей похитили небесные рейдеры. Вместе с ними исчезла Тайя, его наречённая.

Но Гарек так просто не сдаётся, решаясь на невозможное: похитить сбитый корабль рейдеров и найти Тайю.

Тайя работает в шахтах Шадоу, планеты-луны Барита, добывая неизвестный минерал с опасными способностями, к которому сами рейдеры не могут притронуться. Классическая для Дьенэ героиня, она решительна, говорит по существу, смекалиста и не боится противостоять несправедливостям. Она заставляет окружающих реагировать на события вместе с ней, вместо того, чтобы их игнорировать. Беря на себя роль одного их лидеров лагеря, она помогает объединить баритцев с разных частей планеты, чтобы разработать план побега.

В этом отношении парочка хорошо подходит друг другу!

Небесные Рейдеры - хорошо выписанная космическая опера c милой любовной линией, не подавляющей сюжет. Мнен книга показалась коротковатой, в которой построение мира не успело развернуться, но я надеюсь, что автор ответит на мои вопросы в следующих книгах серии. Стиль напомнил мне Р.Л. Смит, только гораздо мягче. 

В общем, понравилось. Рекомендую.
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