The City of Five Skies

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
414 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Cyberblade: The City of Five Skies by William Z Stone is action-packed science fiction with sophisticated characters, a wonderful story for fans of Hunger Games and cyberpunk, with a dystopian setting that is intelligently imagined and well-written. Born in the Empyrean Republic, Alexandra Vulcan grows up to know the pain of being a refugee and an outcast. She is a part-time roboticist who has borne, together with her family and her kind, the brunt of the Graexian oppression. Lex believes that she can create a way for her people to be valued and to have a place among the rich in the steel skies. She is wrong because every door is closed to them. So, she decides to win the respect for her people the hard way — forcing the Graexian elite to acknowledge them or to sink with them. She is set for gritty battle, accompanied by her battle-droid. Follow her path of war and courage in a world filled with monsters, cyborgs, and invincible powers. Does she have any chance of success?

This is a fascinating story with a multi-faceted female protagonist. The story begins with action from the moment the simulation begins, and the reader is immediately introduced to the conflict, the key characters, and advanced technology. Lex is an underdog, and she wins the sympathy of the reader very quickly. From the moment I encountered her in the story, I wanted to see her succeed. I loved her grit, her intelligence, and daring will. William Z Stone creates this character to reflect the hurt and pain of those who live on the fringes of society, discriminated against, and labeled. She rises from the rubble like a star. Character development is impeccably handled. The world-building is strong, and the setting follows a world transformed by technology. The setting is a complex, dystopian world that readers who enjoy cybernetics will love to navigate. Cyberblade: The City of Five Skies is fast-paced, pulsating, packed with action and drama. A tale that offers great material for a movie.

K.C. Finn

Cyberblade: The City of Five Skies is a work of fiction in the science fiction genre, aimed at young adults, and was penned by author William Z. Stone. Set in the dystopian world of Neo Mars, the book follows a young robot builder born to a family of refugees. Faced with oppression from the natives of the world, the family (like all refugees) lives below a sky of steel with every opportunity denied them to rise above it. With no alternatives, our hero resolves to make their own path to the clean air of the world above - through violence if necessary.

Author William Z. Stone has crafted a very engaging novel that will be sure to captive the target young adult audience, and indeed those older readers looking for high-action cyberpunk fun. I love a good sci-fi dystopian drama, and this novel encompasses everything you could possibly want in that vein; from its immersive worldbuilding and cinematic, image-inspiring word choices to the deeper, thought-provoking echoes of the key themes, which stuck with me long after I had set the book down. The isolation is especially palpable, the empowerment truly thrilling, and the plot well-penned to keep you guessing and flipping pages for chapter after chapter. I was also deeply engaged in the dialogue style, which served to characterize Lex and the other personalities really well but also delivers plenty of much-needed exposition in an accessible way. Overall, I would highly recommend Cyberblade for adventure fiction fans seeking a truly accomplished, immersive work.

Pikasho Deka

Cyberblade: The City of Five Skies is a futuristic dystopian sci-fi novel by author William Z. Stone. Lex is a seventeen-year-old Empyrean teenager living in the Great Engine City ruled by the Still King. Often discriminated against by the Graexian rulers, Lex dreams of dragging her family out of poverty and moving Upstairs. But the death of her brother Michael forces her to form the vigilante group Night Legion to fight against the corrupt regime alongside her faithful droid Talos. Things get further complicated when she discovers her rare powers, which she must soon learn how to control. She embarks on her mission with help from some friends, but not everyone can be trusted as multiple factions vie for control over the Troejen stronghold of the Great Engine City.

Cyberblade: The City of Five Skies seems set to become the next big thing in the young adult fiction genre. The world that William Z. Stone has created contains all the ingredients necessary to become a successful franchise. Propelled by a fast-paced narrative, the plotting is impeccable. Lex's transformation from a helpless teenager to an inspirational leader that people look up to is one of the best character arcs I've ever read in young adult fiction. I was also pleasantly surprised by the small doses of humor in the book, and the banter between Lex, Hector, and Shmidt were my favorite portions of the book. I am eagerly awaiting the sequels and will highly recommend it to fans of young adult fiction.

Vincent Dublado

Cyberblade: The City of Five Skies is a well-written dystopian novel tailored for young adult readers. Author William Z. Stone takes us deep below the surface of Neo Mars, where we meet Alexandra “Lex” Vulcan. A student at Hera High, Lex comes from a family of Empyrean refugees who one day hope to earn their rightful place above the steel skies along with the well-to-do populace. Part of Lex’s education is loyalty to the Still King, Perseus Troezen the Ninth. With Lex’s ability to build killing machines that fit the mold of a Troezen girl, her family hopes that she could one day become an instrument of change who will rally the oppressed against Graexian rule. As freedom must be earned through blood and bone, those who put faith in her as the liberator will come to refer to her as Nyx the Night Leader. Still, with Darkblades, Unbroken Knights, glowhounds, battle droids, and a power stirring inside her, it remains to be seen if she can triumph against the formidable Graexian alliance.

As an initial offering for what could well be a promising series, Cyberblade: The City of Five Skies feels like a Mortal Engines and Hunger Games crossover with a myriad of characters in subplots that intersect to build the main conflict. You can imagine Lex as a sort of Joan of Arc as she takes on the mantle of a savior, and she can well be called the Maid of Neo Mars as well. Lex’s tale is somewhat bittersweet, given that many have to give up their lives for what is deemed to be a pyrrhic victory in the end. The City of Five Skies has plenty to offer the reader. William Z. Stone has a compelling imagination and his tight plotting conjures an adventure that will keep you absorbed from start to finish.