Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig
I look forward to future books in this series. While some parts were horribly cliche and tired, the depth and allusion to that which is not quite right in our own world left a lasting impression. Amazon granted me an early viewing of this introduction to the Heartland Trilogy. I suggest that everyone go pre-order a copy today (it is on sale currently for $3.99; a fantastic price to get introduced to a fabulous series). While you are reading it, pay very close attention to how your life will end up if we do not take agriculture back into our own hands. Science is not God; we were not meant to manipulate genes to our liking.
Cael could be any teenager in any part of the world. His character is basic and his wants are human. His trials of transitioning from youth to man a little stereotypical. That is what makes him such an easy character to connect with and bond throughout the story, though. We all know it and have felt it and therefore can truly relate on the emotional level. Wendig creates the bond early in the story so you are on Cael's and the Heartlanders' side. This could be our own story.
I was not entirely pleased by the end. The pacing of the book was just right. I managed to read the entire thing on a Saturday camped out on my deck chair drinking in the first sunlight in a month. (There were probably many other yard related items I should have been doing, but this book was just too hard to ignore.) I hated the characters I was supposed to and rooted for the underdogs along with the narrator. Most of the omniscient narrator's focus is on Cael's story, but every now and again he popped into the view of his best mates. I thought it was a little clunky with no appropriate segue between the views, but it didn't hamper the overall experience so much I stopped reading. I also could have lived without the big reveal at the end from one of the crew. It just seemed incredibly misplaced and completely unnecessary (though I feel that way about all token characters that people deem required by PC).
Even with all the "cons," I would classify this book a success. I am certainly interested to see where the story line goes (and hope it is not completely in the obvious direction) and how the characters all fit together.
Here is to rejoining the fallen angels!