Skybound Sea by Sam Sykes – Review
After the misadventures of the first two books Lenk and his companions must finally turn away from fighting each other and for their own survival and look to saving the entire human race. A terrible demon has risen from beneath the sea and where it came from thousands could follow. And all the while an alien race is planning the extinction of humanity. The third volume in the Aeon’s Gate trilogy widens the action out dramatically. TOME OF THE UNDERGATES was based mainly on a ship, BLACK HALO moved the action to an island of bones, THE SKYBOUND SEA takes us out into a world threatened with a uniquely imagined and terrifying apocalypse.
The Skybound Sea is the exciting conclusion to the Aeon’s Gate Trilogy by Sam Sykes. Lizardmen who are sworn to death from birth, psychotic voices, an invading army from another dimension, and a horde of demons set to raise their Queen – Skybound Sea has it all in spades. It starts right where we’ve left off in Black Halo and doesn’t stop until everyone has their ending, be that for better or worse. Sykes manages to craft a beautifully written conclusion that evoked some of the most visually stunning imagery I’ve had the pleasure to read.
Despite the impending doom that is associated with the release of Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen, the main challenge in the final book remains Sherpatus and his army of emotionless, violence-crazed Netherlings. The Netherlings remain one of my favorite aspects of this series. Completely removed from what constitutes “normal life” these dimensional aliens that crave violence and combat were some of the most interesting sections to read. The motives and plans of Sheraptus, their leader, is given new light as you come to understand just what sort of person rules these Netherlings.
Much of the book takes place on a new island and I have to say I loved the otherworldly island of Jaga, home of the Shen. It is the place where the sky and the sea are one which leads to some of the most evocative and visually pleasing imagery of the series. Which says nothing for the secrets that lay buried on the island of the Shen, fierce warrior lizard-men who are sworn to death for oaths given long ago.
Perhaps most impressively is Sykes revelations of new information and his character’s pasts. Details of Lenk’s increasingly dangerous mental condition, the history of the Shen, Asper’s arm, and more are all revealed. I’m happy he chose this route as it made me feel as though I worked for the information, becoming acquaintances with these adventures before truly becoming friends and learning about their past.
Out of every mystery in the book the secrets surrounding the voices in Lenk’s head were the most intriguing to me. Was he merely insane? Or is there a far more supernatural answer? Regardless I am pleased to finally have closure as to what these voices meant and their ultimate fate in Lenk’s destiny.
Skybound Sea does not end in a tropey fashion like so much other fantasy out there. Sykes does a remarkable job at crafting a realistic ending to a series filled with realistic characters responding to supernatural situations. I applaud Sam Sykes and his writing and eagerly look forward to his next novel. Until the world has need of a human, a schict, a dragonman, an assassin, a wizard, and a priestess (which sounds like a bad joke) we’ll be forced to relive and reread the Aeon’s Gate Trilogy again and again. It’ll be worth it.