A sprawling, genre-defying epic. In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies.
It’s a mesmeric world, comic in the way teenage voyages of self-discovery inevitably are, but with an undertone of menace, horror, even hints of allegory. Satire, too ... Fantasy, sure, but recognitions flare. Ms. Smith’s imagination is inexhaustible. The Sky Is Yours is a great and disturbing debut, which colonizes a new realm of the magic city.
Rather than a genre mash-up, this is a genre car crash: kinetic, explosive, and uproariously messy. That mad energy is infectious ... Smith's gifts of imagination are staggering. Her world-building is a tangled sprawl of past, present, and future, a wickedly satirical synthesis that underlines just how fractured our own realities can be during periods of fear, unrest, inequality, and instability. But she does far more than hold up a cracked mirror to our world. In language that punches and caresses, she dwells on ugliness and beauty in equal measure ... The Sky Is Yours filters youth through a warped yet poignantly canny speculative-fiction lens. At the same time, it's funny as hell, full of madcap detail, firecracker dialogue, and a healthy dose of absurdism in the face of darkness.
Chandler Klang Smith has unleashed her own slipstream, genrefluid monster of a book—that also happens to be fun, visceral, heartbreaking, and genuinely funny. The Sky Is Yours is bursting with ideas and characters, and I’d advise you take a break after reading it, because other books are probably going to seem a bit black-and-white for a while ... Smith’s language is incandescent, but more important it’s fun ... There were times I realized I was reading so fast that my brain couldn’t catch up with my eyes, and I finally had to force myself to slow down and reread an entire section—any book that can capture me that much is one I’m going to recommend ... The Sky Is Yours may be a rollicking adventure, but it also has a bracing, honest heart.