In Wild Sky, Lexi Rees’s follow up to her debut novel Eternal Seas, Rees expands the story while maintaining the charm of the first.
Wild Sky, The Relic Hunters #2
After delivering the pearl, Finn and Aria thought life would return to normal.
But with the survival of the clans still in peril, they must continue their quest.
Can they find the next relic before the forces of evil?
Not everyone is who they appear to be, and time is running out …
Eaternal Seas was a lean fantasy adventure novel that kept the mythology vague and the pacing brisk. (you can read our review of it here) Wild Sky on the other hand leans heavily into the mythology of the world and uses it to propel the story into unexplored territory. There is a Da Vinci Code/National Treasure vibe that pervades through parts of the story which is by no means a complaint. Rees is a gifted writer who manages to play with familiar tropes while eschewing the more cheesy elements. (She’s also a lovely person whom we interview for her fist book which you can listen to here. )
Wild Sky quickly moves on from the seafaring motifs that were the linchpin of the first book. It is a bold move that pays off. Some of the best aspects come from the Himalayan settings with farm villages and old monasteries that are as vividly realised as they are intriguing.
This change from sea to land captures the same balance of ancient fantasy and modern dystopia that worked so well in the first novel without treading over old ground. Once again, Rees’s skill shines through as she manages dystopian tropes without morose pessimism prevailing. Her characters are as empathetic as they are heroic – which is refreshing and endearing. The heroes Finn and Aria manage to forgive betrayals and mishaps based on their own experience with hardships and failure. Reese keeps these moments from being too preachy or saccharine sweet.
Despite the mystical elements of the story, the first book often felt quite grounded, in part due to its focus on the characters. As those characters now explore the world more freely, the book delves deeper into the magical nature of the Relic Hunters saga. These new elements are far more fantastic than the previous adventure and would have felt jaring if not for Rees’s mastery of the craft. The story moves with the ease of a classic adventure story. And is a fun tale from beginning to end.
Wild Sky picks up moments after the first novel ends, which brings up my only complaint. The novel could have benefited from a bit of recapping in the first chapter. The reader feels a bit lost trying to remember who everyone is and what has happened to them. It eventually evens out but the outset is a bit rough and you feel yourself grasping at straws.
The audiobook is once again a treat. Chris Devon is a joy to listen to and a natural born storyteller. His voice work is even better in this second outing. We were fortunate enough to interview Chris several months back and if you enjoyed his performance in this or any of his other works (or have an interest in becoming a voice actor/narrator) it’s a must listen. His inspiration for his take on Pippin, one of the main characters here, is nothing short of genius.
I wrote two things in my review of the first book, Eternal Seas, that have been totally vindicated by listening to Wild Sky. The first is that I compared this saga to Avatar: The Last Airbender. It wasn’t just the controlling of elements that the stories share but rather the use of good characters, mingling cultures, and heaps of heart in the storytelling. My son made the same observation this time around. Unprompted or coached. Seriously, if you enjoyed Avatar this is a great way to scratch that bending-itch.
The second had to do with Chris Devon’s performance. I was listening to Wild Sky while cooking dinner and my wife walked in. “Oh you’re listening to my future boyfriend.” She smirked.
I raised an eyebrow at her, not sure what she meant (this was clearly neither Paul Rudd nor Benedict Cumberbatch.)
“Isn’t this David Tennant?” She asked.
I also remarked how similar the two sound in my first review. But it is more than just the sound of their voice – it is the quality of the work. Devon’s skill with voices and finding the rhythm of the book equals that of the time-lord turned thespian. I have started adding Devon’s work to my Audible wish list (hint hint to anyone doing the office Secret Santa this year)
I am not sure how this really adds to the review – it just feels good being right and I wanted you all to know that.
This is an easy recommendation. Get the book. Get ’em both. And get them on Audible. This is a lovely fantasy story that is criminally underrated. It is short and fun. You won’t regret it.
Win the children’s adventure series, the Relic Hunters, on Audible, including both Eternal Seas PLUS Wild Sky. Total listening time of almost 8 hours.
Free UK or UK audible code.
Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures brim full of witch-doctors, fortune-tellers, warriors and smugglers, combining elemental magic with hints of dystopia. She also writes fun activity books for children.
Her fantasy adventure, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids. The sequel, Wild Sky, is available now.
She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.
In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.
Social Media Links –
Twitter: @lexi_rees or https://twitter.com/lexi_rees