#RRSciFiMonth: Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna
Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Oh The Books and Rinn Reads this year, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction! From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it is intended to help science fiction lovers share their love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Book 1
Publisher: Pyr (October 7, 2014)
Author Information: Website | Twitter
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed Falling Sky a lot more than I thought I would. That’s no meagre accomplishment, considering how many books are out there in the market these days involving zombies in a post-apocalyptic type future. But Rajan Khanna did not have to resort to any gimmicks or convoluted methods to make his novel stand out. All he did was come up with an awesome premise – that when a virulent epidemic broke out two generations ago and turned most of the population into mindless Ferals, humanity managed to survive by simply taking to the skies.
That means airships. Entire cities that float. People like main protagonist and narrator Ben Gold feel most comfortable off the ground, because that translates to safety from coming in contact with the tainted blood of Ferals, and in turns means being able to live out another day. Ben, who has always been happy on his own piloting his airship Cherub, finds a way to make money by working with the intelligent and headstrong Miranda, leader of a group of ambitious scientists hoping to find a cure for the Feral virus.
But then Valhalla strikes, and the skies are no longer a safe haven. A faction made up of savage pirates, Valhalla is bent on conquering and stealing from other settlements by employing the most depraved measures – like airlifting infected Ferals and dropping them into defenseless cities. After being caught in one such attack, Ben’s life is forever changed and he is forced to make some difficult decisions. He’s the kind of guy who’s always lived by the motto “Every man for himself”, but for the first time in his life he realizes there may be bigger things to fight for.
I don’t think I would have enjoyed this book so much if it weren’t for Ben. I loved his voice and took to his casual and devil-may-care attitude right away, and I found that the first-person narrative in the present tense worked surprisingly well for the story. Ben isn’t exactly someone you can admire or point to as a good role model, but I liked him all the same. Somewhat self-serving at times and frequently having a short view of the problem, Ben doesn’t always mean to screw the people around him over, but his impulsive nature usually leads him to do it all the same. But he’s got a good heart, as proven by the many times he’s gone out of his way to try and repay a favor or make up for his mistakes, and I find that admirable. And fine, I’ll also admit he’s got a bit of that roguish charm which I find irresistible.
You also have to love the mood of the story. One might expect a post-apocalyptic zombie book to be on the dark and grim side, but I would describe Falling Sky as more an adventurous and action-filled novel. That’s not to say the world that Ben lives in is without its grit and despair, because in fact, the author does a good job illustrating why a future infested with Ferals is not a very pleasant place to be. Mindless and violent beast-like zombies aside, so much technology has been lost and a lot of the crucial supplies like ammo and fuel from two generations ago have been depleted. But humanity has had enough time to deal with aftermath of the epidemic, and the tone that I get from the story is that life continues moving forward. Certain facets of society and culture have eroded away and things may be done a little differently, but people like Ben still have their sense of humor, and others like Miranda and her scientists have their hopes and dreams.
My main complaint is that the ending came and went too quickly and suddenly. We are literally dropped into the conclusion, and…scene. All I can say is, I really, really, really hope there will be a sequel. The story may be more or less wrapped up, but because of the abruptness of the way things ended, I just can’t help but think it’s not over. If there’s a book two though, definitely sign me up for it.
A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Pyr Books!
I’m glad you had a good time but when I read your review I see all the things I struggle with when it’s about Sci-fi so I don’t know but I also know that I can have a great surprise sometimes.
But zombies and airships!
Ok you totally sold me because of saying it wasn’t grim like you thought it would be, more adventure style sounds refreshing and hey come on, airlifting the zombies and using that as a tactic sounds pretty dastardly but cool lol.
Yep, totally took me by surprise. I expected something heavier and darker. It worked out well.
It definitely had that “adventure” feel to it. I loved that Ben wasn’t perfect, even though he drove me nuts sometimes:-)
He was charming in his own way 😉
Interesting… A post-apocalyptic society based on airborne vessels…
It sounds like a totally new take on the trope! Added to the list 🙂
Yep, airships and air battles/air pirates without much of the steampunk 🙂
I did have my eye on this one 😉
I really like the sound of this. It amazes me that we keep having more zombie books and that some of them still succeed in a really saturated market! I like the idea of taking to the skies though and also that this wasn’t too dark.
And, sometimes you just love a character with all their flaws – I think Dug is a great example of that. Definitely flawed but I enjoyed reading about him all the same.
I will keep a note of this one.
Yep, sometimes there are characters whose flaws make them better…hopefully without making them intolerable, of course! 😛 Faults can make a character more realistic, more relatable.
Oh, so glad to hear this one worked. I’ve been curious about it.
I don’t recall if you had this one. Hope you get a chance to check it out 🙂
Missed this one somehow. Unique take on zombies though? that is getting harder and harder to do.
I would say, not so much a unique take on the zombies themselves, but on the post-apocalyptic zombie virus ridden world. Very cool.