Skies of the Empire

Book 1 of the Dreamscape Voyager Trilogy

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
431 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Matt Lebois for Readers' Favorite

Adventure takes to the ‘Skies of the Empire’. In this adult fantasy novel from Vincent E.M. Thorn, humans live a life aloft to remain safe from the omnipresent threat of the Fae. Humans thrive in airborne cities anchored to mountaintops by protective iron, and some people live and work on airships, completely untethered. The first mate on the Dreamscape Voyager, Cassidy Durant is one day forced to commit a capital offense against her empire: making an agreement with a Fae. This act exposes her to new threats, but with the support of her captain and crewmates, it will lead to unexpected outcomes. Meanwhile, Zayne, mercenary and captain of the Scorpion, has his own mission, one that will have far-ranging effects for the entire empire, if not the whole world. When Cassidy and Zayne cross paths, more than just sparks will fly.

The opening chapter, featuring an airship battle with a dragon, left me breathless and full of questions about this new high fantasy setting. I loved the worldbuilding, with new details presented naturally through the characters’ experiences: the 26-hour days; food sources in a sky-bound world, where farming is the most dangerous profession; iron being literally more valuable than gold; the many uses for parts of dragons; songs, history, and technology all well thought-out. While the main conflict and stakes were slow to emerge, I found the setting continually intriguing, and the camaraderie of Cassidy and her “found family” crew was consistently a joy to read and held my interest while darker events were slowly unfolding. Younger readers should be aware that this book contains swearing and acknowledges the existence of sex, but otherwise I think all ages will thrill at this adventure. Sequel, please!

Keith Mbuya

Captain Elyia Asier’s crew aboard the Dreamscape Voyager bravely fights a dragon and eventually kills the vicious beast. It’s always their custom to seize some parts of the beast’s anatomy that they find precious, among these being the dragon’s Firelands and scales. It’s during this event that Cassandra Durant, alias Cassidy, is attacked by a Fae; a plant considered to be evil in the whole empire because of the nature of the spirit it possesses. Going insane or ultimate death were the destinies of Fae-touched people. However, Cassidy seems to be an exception. It all starts with something a fortune teller says to her while in Revehaven, and then the deal the Fae Spirit makes with her. What exactly will happen to Cassidy? On the other hand, Zayne, the captain of the ship The Scorpion, is sent on a suicidal mission to the Imperial Palace in the city of Revehaven by his mistress Dardan. What exactly does Dardan want with or from the Imperial Palace? Will Zayne and his crew make it out alive? Read more about this in Vincent E. M. Thorn’s Skies of the Empire: Book 1 of the Dreamscape Voyager Trilogy.

Have you ever been so intrigued by a story that you lose all sense of time and forget everything around you exists, and all you care about is knowing how the story ends? That’s how spellbinding Vincent E. M. Thorn’s Skies of the Empire was to me. Thorn slowly drove me into the world of fantasy with his professional and magnificent style of writing. The book begins with great and entertaining action. His imagination left me in awe because, with close to four hundred pages, he maintains the fast pace of his story with scenes that are nothing but thrilling, adventurous, entertaining, amazing, engrossing, and more. The book is packed with suspense, tension, romance, feuds, humor, deceit, secrets, so much agony, and more. In fact, I loved how he kept me guessing about the next move in the story. I was at the mercy of his words. He gives the story a setting of the world’s future, to be more precise, the age of spaceships, except that the technological advancements are quite moderate. His choice of words and the vocabulary he uses richly emphasize this setting. They also aroused a lot of sentiment in me, making me laugh yet at the same time bringing me to the edge of tears. The level of character development is terrific. I loved how boldly they were portrayed. Albeit not the protagonist, Zayne was my favorite character. I could not get enough of his ruthlessness, bravery, cunning, intelligence, and composure. He always seemed to attract trouble and somehow escaped from it. This is a magnificent piece of work. I cannot wait to read more of Vincent E. M. Thorn’s work.

Stephanie Chapman

Skies Of The Empire, by Vincent E.M. Thorn, is a futuristic story where land is not safe any longer. Cassidy lives on an airship, Dreamscape Voyager, that is led by her mentor Captain Asier. When the crew kills a dragon and begins to recover valuables from the body, an attack from Fae in the form of a thorn injures Cassidy. Cassidy falls into a feverish sleep where she dreams of Hymn, a beautiful Fae. When Cassidy speaks to Captain Aseir about the dreams, Asier recounts her past encounters with Fae. Cassidy dreams about Hymn again, and the Fae offers a deal of protection. Suspicious, Cassidy questions Hymn until she starts to face an entity that threatens to kill her. Meanwhile, Zayne Balthine is being sent by a mysterious person, Dardan, to carry out a suicide mission. When Zayne’s airship is attacked by harpies, the crew of Dreamscape offers aid. Cassidy likes Zayne but dismisses her feelings when she notices that Captain Asier is noticeably disturbed.

Vincent E.M. Thorn did an excellent depiction of the world settings in Skies of The Empire. The narration alternates between Cassidy and Zayne. I couldn’t help but feel hopeful that Zayne, despite some of his unsavory actions, would accomplish his personal mission. In several situations, Zayne showed he cared about the welfare of others to the point of risking his life. I disliked how Hymn gave Cassidy an unfair advantage in her altercations with others. When Cassidy spars with crewmate Miria, Hymn shows Cassidy ways that she could increase her strength and speed supernaturally. Cassidy acted on emotions rather than rational thought, which made her increased abilities dangerous. There is a lot of suspense built into this story, as what Hymn needed protection from isn’t fully clear. The discovery of Hymn by the crew of the Dreamscape seems to indicate that a possible uprising against Cassidy could occur. The end of the book is a cliffhanger that made me extremely anxious to read the sequel. This is a very detailed fantasy story that addresses social issues like discrimination, as Fae were considered dangerous and those that sided with them were killed. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a mysterious fantasy story with a lot of detail that allows envisioning events to unfold in their minds.