High above the sea, floats the pristine city of the Heliana. Home to winged-lion shapeshifters―the Leonodai―and protected from the world of humans by an elite group of warriors, the Heliana has only known peace.
After years of brutal training, seventeen-year-old Rowan is ready to prove her loyalty to the city and her people to become one of the Leonodai warriors. But before Rowan can take the oath, a deadly disease strikes the city’s children. Soon the warriors―including two of Rowan’s closest friends―are sent on a dangerous mission to find a fabled panacea deep within enemy lands.
Left behind, Rowan learns a devastating truth that could compromise the mission and the fate of the Heliana itself. She must make a decision: stay with the city and become a warrior like she always dreamed, or risk her future in an attempt to save everyone she loves. Whatever Rowan decides, she has to do it fast, because time is running out, and peace can only last so long…
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher via netgalley & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.
In the floating city of Heliana the Leonodai, people who can shape-shift into Lions, roam free. After years of training Rowan is ready to prove herself and become one of the elite warriors that protect the city from the humans below, but before she can take the oath a plague hits the city affecting only the young. When warriors are sent to the human world to look for a cure, Rowan is left behind and non too happy about it. She soon discovers that not everything the warriors were told was true, and she receives some vital information that they need to know, but telling the warriors means going against her orders and travelling to the human lands alone. Rowan needs to decide whether she is willing to pay the price for her desertion, especially when the fate of Heliana lies in the balance.
I so wanted to love this book, and there was quite a bit to like about it. Unfortunately, the characters seriously let it down and made for a read I had to push myself to finish. The Endless Skies is told from three alternating POV’s: Rowan, a trainee warrior who comes to learn a truth that could save her kingdom. Callen, her lifelong friend and the boy shes’s unsure of her feelings for and Shirene, Rowans sister and a member of the Kings Sentinels, the council of Heliana. At times I really struggled to tell which POV I was reading from, there was no obvious differences in tone and they all ended up bleeding into one. I also really struggled to bond with Rowan as a character, she made some crazy decisions, and spent far too much of her time thinking about the two boys she was torn between. Instead my favourite character ended up being her sister. Shirene was much more well rounded out as a character and I really enjoyed her arc in the story.
The whole idea of shape-shifting was really well thought out and brought to life in the book, as well as the Leonodai there are creatures who shape-shift into the likes of horses, bears and mer-people. I would have liked a little more backstory on these other races, as they are only really mentioned in passing. The idea of having these beings pitted against the humans was great, just not that well thought out. I’m not sure if the author was attempting to show how humans treat people they see as lesser/other, but she just didn’t really give us enough backstory/history for it to make much of an impact onto the story.
There was a love triangle in this that was just so badly written & took up far too much page time in the book. A good 50% of the MC’s, as well as Callen’s inner thoughts were about the romance arc and by the first 25% of the book I was already over it. Because there was little to no character growth, I just really struggled to get invested in any of the characters outcomes, and really think the author could have spent a little less time on Rowan’s inner turmoil over which boy she should pick and spent more time creating characters with a little depth to them.
I genuinely think this book would have been better as a duology. We could have got more world-building, a better understanding of the other races that inhabit this world as well as a history as to the issues between the humans and the shifters. It all just felt a little rushed, and there were a few story lines that played a large part of the book that just came to nothing. I just really struggled to get myself invested in the story, and found myself powering through to the end because I was interested in how it would all turn out and boy did I feel like it was a wasted journey, the ending was incredibly rushed and some events happened that just seemed to be put in for shock value than to actually add anything to the story.
Overall, this was a pretty underwhelming book for me & I would rate it 2.5 stars. The magic system and little world building we got really saved the story, but the characters were the biggest disappointment for me.