I received a copy of “Children of Earth and Sky” courtesy of NetGalley.
I found the book… frustrating. Lots of things are going on in the story, and it’s a wonderful tapestry of borrowed history and political machinations, but I was never invested in any of the characters. Boatloads of possibility there, but it seemed that more went into redefining the history from our world to fit this created one than went into delving into the characters. They are mildly interesting, though I had a hard time discerning their goals with only two exceptions.
The prose is complicated and flowery. Lovely descriptions give a real sense of being in the scene. The setting closely parallels the history of the Ottoman Turks, Venice, Dubrovnik, and etcetera. It is easy to see that a lot of intensive research went into the tale, even if the names are somewhat obvious (Djanni as Janissary, Dubrava is Dubrovnik, Osmanli for Ottoman).
The fantasy element showed all-too-briefly as the deceased grandfather of one of the main characters talking to her, and twice interfering in things that are about to happen.
The shifting point of view sometimes leaves characters behind (at the 30% mark in my Kindle we had yet to return to the guy who opened the story—and whose name I couldn’t help but forget), but we are given a view of cultural differences and customs that beautifully details the peoples and the challenges they face in dealing with one another.
I am curious to know why the point of view of a single character was written in the present tense. I found it jarring. There is rambling about religion, scenes or information redone in another person’s point of view (almost word for word), and some unfortunate repetition.
There is also some regrettable crassness. Do some people just never grow up, or do they think this is actually amusing? Or necessary?
And why do we get a preview of Life After This Story for some of the characters? It seems an awkward way of answering the question of what happens to this (fairly minor) character when you remember he didn’t appear again.
One quote worth taking away: “You had to grow into your own significance—or come to terms with the lack of it.”