[ARC Review] Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin

3 Things About This Book
| Studio Ghibli Vibes | Paper Magic, Shikigami, Flying Cities and Ships | Unexpected Revelations and Betrayals |

Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin
Series: Rebel Skies, #1
Published: 2022 by Walker Books
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Book Depository

A strong debut that reminds of me Studio Ghibli’s films, Rebel Skies tells the tale of Kurara, a young servant girl who later becomes a Crafter on a flying ship to hunt wild shikigami in a world that also has sky cities and paper magic.

There are so many things that I love in this book. The first of which is obviously the amazing magic system and the blending of Asian culture and mythology. We’ve Crafters who are born with the ability to bring paper to life, and shikigami which are conjured paper beings that can potentially go wild. Though we don’t learn entirely of the rules to the paper magic, I think its introduction here allows the reader a solid enough understanding while leaving room for future learning and for the magic system to grow (both of which I’m hoping for as Rebel Skies will be part of a trilogy!).

Another aspect of the book that I love is definitely the rich imagery that brings the Rebel Skies world to life. Every part of it feels magical here and you can easily tell how much love and effort has gone into the worldbuilding. However, I’m sad to write that this doesn’t extend to the characters.

Although we’ve a wide cast of characters with distinct personalities and characteristics, they, unfortunately, don’t develop or change much throughout the story. The characters and consequently, the relationships between them, fall flat in comparison to the lush worldbuilding, acting much like devices just to bring the story forward. Sure, I did feel for them, especially when it came to the unexpected revelations and betrayals, but other than that, I didn’t care much for them. Nevertheless, there are still two other books left in this trilogy so I hope that the characters will grow, become more complex and have more depth and realism later on.

As mentioned earlier, Rebel Skies is a strong debut. It has potential to be better with its upcoming sequels and I have high hopes for the sequels. If you’re a fan of Asian-inspired fantasy, I’d recommend giving this book a read, though definitely keep in mind that this book is targeted towards teens/the younger side of the Young Adult category so the ‘sound’ of the narrative reflects that.

Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin is available at all good bookstores.



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