Disclosure: A couple of years ago, I read an ebook by a female author about transdimensional travel associated with a big, bad Company. I thought it was well written, but not quite my thing. When I saw this book, by a female author, about transdimensional travel associated with a big, bad Company, I thought it was the same writer, and figured “Hey, I’ll give her another try.” Turns out, not the same person. The names aren’t even all that similar. But I didn’t know that until, halfway through the book, I checked on my supposition that this was the author’s first book. Why did I do that? Because, even with as little as I remembered of the first author, I was surprised by the sudden drop in writing quality. Had I realized the error earlier, I might have given up on the book.
Bright of the Sky starts weak. The concept itself is okay, and the plot starts with something of a bang. If plot is adequate, the writing is distinctly disappointing. The human world is nicely described, and comes across distinctly, as a very urban, stratified society. The alternate world is much less clear, both physically and culturally, though the alien Tarig are clearly in charge. The intrigues and substories are interesting on the cultural level, but on the character level they’re sketchy. For example, once Titus has crossed over, he spends a lot of time with Anzi, who’s just dying to know what Earth (the Rose) is like. But she never asks him any questions. I don’t buy it – as if here’s your chance to find out everything you ever wanted to know about fairyland, and instead, you talk about the local bus schedule and how to get to the mall.
While the worldbuilding is generally good, there are a few careless details – e.g., an airship that’s reluctant to take passengers, but appears to have no other reason for being. More troubling to me were the character issues. There are some key episodes of unexplained, irrational behaviour – the way key character Sydney treats sycophant Akay Wat, or the key-plot-driver crime committed by Titus toward the end. I didn’t find the actions well enough supported. In addition, Titus’ returning memory is far too often used as a magic ex machina wand to provide information or escape.
All in all, it’s an adequate story with successful worldbuilding, but characters that need work. It won’t hurt you to read it, but it won’t leave much impression. I won’t be going on to the sequels.