Creating an unusual world for a fantasy trilogy can prove
difficult in today's glut of stories from which to
Jason Chabot manages this in BELOW, the first installment
of his Broken Sky Chronicles. This world is comprised of
Above and Below. Above is a world of islands that drift
through the clouds; the people are ruled by twin emperors;
and the Imperial Guard keeps order. Elia works in the
palace laundry and lives with her poor family near the
border of an island. Those who live Above are afraid of
scavengers who attack anyone who comes to close or falls
off the edge toward Below.
Below resembles more the remnants of a world with plains
grasslands and a city ravaged by time. With only access to
clouds and no sun, Below gets endless amounts of rain.
lives Below with his fox, Nym. He was exiled from the city
six years ago and can return after four more.
But everything changes when Elia and Hokk meet after
island plummets and too close to the edge, she falls
It's interesting as the two compare their perceptions of
each other's world, but there's more afoot. Strange
appeared in Elia's laundry, and secrets are being kept in
both places. The two will try to figure everything out as
the tale progresses.
Chabot does a wonderful job explaining the world, and I
found it intriguing. I'm interesting in the two main
characters although I don't necessarily like either of
them, but perhaps they need more development before
evoke the necessary emotion I need to truly fall into a
Chabot has some nice plot twists, but some events appear
too coincidental akin to the teenage girl going into the
basement in the horror movie. My favorite character at
point is an alleged villain, but he has the most facets at
this point. My quibbles may have to do with this being the
first book in a trilogy. Hopefully, we'll get to know our
protagonists better in the following two novels and see
more depth of character. Then again, maybe I'm asking too
much of a young adult story which I will definitely finish
as my need to know how things end will prevail over any
The first volume in this thrilling trilogy opens on the
barren plains of Below, where Hokk and his fox sidekick,
Nym, live in exile amid the remnants of our modern age.
Overhead, on the floating islands of Above, Elia is trapped
in a life of endless toil and drudgery as a laundress for
the Mirrored Palace. To Elia, the islands’ edges are borders
that no one dares cross until the ancient ritual that
delivers the dead to Below. But a series of natural
disasters rumbling through Above sends Elia’s world crashing
into Hokk’s—and she falls Below.
Their journey together will propel them across endless
plains and through shattered cities in a centuries-old
battle for the very earth and sky around them . . .