Sky Curse

The Chosen Five

Fiction - Science Fiction
393 Pages
Reviewed on 10/04/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Janet Kravetz (also known as her pen name Topaz Ruby) is an award-winning Canadian author, poet and artist. From practicing law to conducting research and policy analysis to writing poetry and science-fiction in a world that constantly keeps changing, her character arc keeps evolving. She has been living in different worlds, watching them prosper, struggle or even collapse (Ukraine aka former Soviet Union, Israel, Canadian province of Nova Scotia). When asked about her cultures, traditions and languages (Russian, Hebrew and English) as well as her wishes for world peace, she refers readers to her 2014 Beverly Hills Book Awards winning poetry book Reaching Beyond Ourselves: Leading A Spiritual, Peaceful and Diverse World (Amazon Books). When asked about her thoughts on Earth’s prospects of survival, she refers readers to her near-future debut sci-fi and fantasy novel series Sky Curse (40 Years Press).

Kravetz aims to educate readers and start a public discussion about the interconnected topics of environmental sustainability, technological advancements and mental resilience. Sky Curse series is a highly entertaining educational piece as well as a call for action to debate the most pressing questions of the next decades: Would people live, work, compete, collaborate and integrate with machines? Would humans become interplanetary species? Will people face climate chaos and severe climate anxiety? Will there be new world wars over natural resources? Will the collective mental health of humanity only deteriorate with time?

You can follow her updates on her Facebook page @AuthorJankra or connect with her on LinkedIn.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Brian, Jamal, Alex, Kev, and Cecilia are The Chosen Five in the titular series by Janet Kravetz. Book one, Sky Curse, introduces Cecilia Miller, the young female protagonist in a dystopian future where Earth's population has ballooned to an unsustainable level. Natural resources have been destroyed through overconsumption, greed, catastrophic climate change, and advancements in AI superintelligence that have expanded economic divisions to life-or-death scenarios. Titan is considered to be the salvation of humanity, but not everyone can afford to get there. Truer still, not everyone wants to. Told from the point of view of a dream coder in a revolutionary world where humanity's survival depends as much on people being artificially satisfied as it does on alternative living arrangements, Cecilia becomes part of the Five who intend to “use in good faith the power of technology for the betterment of humanity.”

Exceptionally well-written, creative, and utterly unique, Sky Curse by Janet Kravetz is the modern YA genre's equivalent of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The book turns Huxley's use of Soma, sleep-learning, and psychological manipulation into something that could be genuinely helpful, at least at first...and it works in the context of Kravetz's brave new series. The novel is written in prose most suitable for older teens and younger adults, but the intelligent advancements and themes that Kravetz brings to the forefront are expansive enough to tickle those with more exacting tastes in literary technicalities. I liked Cecilia. Some might find her portrayal as a blonde, blue-eyed character a little trope-y, but she is intelligent without being infallible and feeds well into the authenticity required to bring a protagonist to life. There are some real twists involved in the plot, including revelations that exonerate her in satisfying ways. The Chosen Five is a series I will be following and look forward to whatever book two has in store for us.

Jamie Michele

Sky Curse by Janet Kravetz is the first book in the dystopian science fiction series The Chosen Five. The world built by Kravetz is a futuristic view of Earth in ruins. Humanity's promise to suck everything it can from the planet has happened and humans are now wholly dependent on Frankenstein technology and have even decided transforming into cyborgs is a good idea. In this man-made mess is a young protagonist named Cecilia, who is a single cog in a massive machine doing her job as a 'dream coder' and cracking on with everyday living. But unknown to her, Cecilia has a deep well of power within her and through the dynamism of a crystal, as one of The Chosen Five, this single cog becomes the possible savior of Earth and all humanity.

Sky Curse is a slow-burn starter but it feels like Janet Kravetz does this intentionally to allow readers to find their footing on a terra firma that has completely changed. Sky Curse is dystopian hard science fiction but there are fantasy elements, and if we removed it from any of those genres it could easily be labeled solid eco-fiction as well. Cecilia is initially an unremarkable character in a really remarkable world. I like books that highlight economic disparity and Kravetz weaves the theme in with the off-Earth colony of Titan, the irony being that the worst ecological offenders in the destruction of the planet are the patricians that can afford to leave it behind as a mess for the plebs. The other four of The Chosen Five are Alex, Brian, Jamal, and Kev; all developed well enough to be distinguishable from any of the others. Very highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

Sky Curse by Janet Kravetz is the first book in The Chosen Five series. This young adult novel is set in the year 2045 when humans have exhausted Earth’s resources. Cecilia Miller is one of the few who still believe Earth has a chance of surviving and supporting life. A coder of artificial dreams, Cecilia is one of the localists who want to stay behind while the Universalists abandon Earth for another habitable planet. She believes technology can help in their predicament and works toward the salvation of whatever is left on the planet. All Cecilia needs to do is work hard and fast before everything is lost forever.

While 2045 may seem quite near, the future depicted in Sky Curse is a possibility. With the way we have lost touch with our humanity and abandoned nature, it won’t be long before our planet takes its revenge. Janet Kravetz paints a convincing picture of what is to come. The narrative is futuristic yet at the same time realistic. I was transported to a depressed Earth alongside Cecilia and was holding my breath as she worked through different hurdles to make things turn in humanity’s favor. The world-building is fantastic and was so real at times that I felt uneasy. While Cecilia is the true hero of the story, Tony is the comic relief and a trusted companion that Cecilia relied on. Their chemistry is fun and relevant to the story. The pace is fast without interrupting the flow. Jamal is my next favorite, with Kev not far behind. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next installments and watch these characters reach their full potential. This is a great introduction to the series.

Pikasho Deka

Sky Curse by Janet Kravetz is a sci-fi thriller set in 2045. Climate change has almost reached the point of no return, the global population has surpassed unprecedented levels, and the mental health of the general populace has steadily declined. The majority of the human population (Universalists) is preparing to leave Earth and pioneer Titan into their new home. Cecilia Miller, a young cyborg, is desperate to help people through her therapeutic dreams start-up company when she is approached by Duncan Macdougall, a Localist, who wants Cecilia and four other Chosen candidates to prevent an ancient Mayan prophecy from coming true and save Earth and its people. The Chosen Five travel to Mexico and retrieve five Mayan crystals with the technology to save the planet. But first, they will have to overcome their greed and selfishness. Can Cecilia and her friends prevail?

Author Janet Kravetz touches upon some increasingly relevant topics that impact how humanity carves its present and future on this planet. Sky Curse is a cautionary tale showcasing how human activity is threatening to change the planet's ecosystem and climate. And if necessary steps aren't taken in time, the future looks quite bleak indeed. Despite the heavy themes incorporated into the story, Kravetz ends the book on a hopeful note. It will leave readers with a sense of emotional catharsis and optimistic enthusiasm that will encourage them to do their part for future generations. Cecilia is a likable protagonist and easy to sympathize with. You will soon find yourself rooting for her. Overall, I enjoyed the book and the message the author intended to convey. Recommend to readers who love stories set in dystopian worlds.

Vincent Dublado

Sky Curse: The Chosen Five by Janet Kravetz is a powerful young adult science fiction novel about artificial dreams and new world colonization. At the heart of this tale is Cecilia Miller. As a coder of artificial dreams, she works with androids at Dream Information Transfer Technology Corporation, the only workplace in the future that offers special opportunities for her skills. Cecilia is part human and part machine, a woman with bionic brain capabilities that allow her to directly connect with machines with ease and to program dreams that help others. Climate chaos threatens human health at an alarming rate, and the twenty-five billion population increase isn’t helping. Humanity has been divided between the Universalists, those who are planning to leave Earth and colonize a new world, and the Localists, who still cling to hope for Earth and humanity. As a Localist and through the help of technology, Cecilia exhausts all means to become a positive force in the universe and help others achieve that goal as well since Earth faces insurmountable challenges.

The Chosen Five is the first of the Sky Curse series and is an enterprising and promising new project. This book is full of provocative ideas and interesting characters that include an android named Malee, who is Cecilia’s confidante. From start to finish, the story will keep you thinking about climate change. Janet Kravetz handles the genre skilfully. It may be highly speculative, but nothing feels too strange or too convoluted. It has a dramatic effect as the reader begins to think that what they are reading may well be the kind of future we are leaving for posterity. This is the power of Kravetz’s narrative. She has a strong command of her theme and chutzpah whenever necessary. If you are planning to invest reading time in a new young adult series, this is the one to go for.