Once an alchemical researcher with the dark scholars of the
Technic League, Alaeron fled their arcane order when his
conscience got the better of him, taking with him a few strange
devices of unknown function. Now in hiding in a distant city, he’s
happy to use his skills creating minor potions and wonders—at
least until the back-alley rescue of an adventurer named Jaya
lands him in trouble with a powerful crime lord. In order to
keep their heads, Alaeron and Jaya must travel across wide seas
and steaming jungles in search of a wrecked flying city and the
magical artifacts that can buy their freedom. Yet the Technic
League hasn’t forgotten Alaeron’s betrayal, and an assassin
armed with alien weaponry is hot on their trail...
From Hugo Award–winner Tim Pratt comes a new fantastical adventure set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
I'm only now about 60% finished with this book and I can already say that is my favorite of all the Pathfinder Tales entries to this point. I had some trepidation about the protagonist being an alchemist but the story hooks you from the very beginning. I can only hope that Paizo commissions Mr. Pratt to write further adventures involving Alaeron.
Some stories are like a well - small and ver confined, but tou can delve deeper and deeper into them just for the delight of finsing out when will you reach the bottom. This book is more like what and ice skating stadium would look like after the ice melts. Sure, it will be the size of a like but the depth of the water would only be about a couple inches.
I have stated my expectations out of Pathfinder Novels in other reviews - to be short, paltable, self contained, action packed stories. While other books in the line that Iv'e read certainly deliverred, City of the Fallen Sky fell way short.
Not a single character in the story is "real" in any way. They are shallow cardboard cutouts. The one character that had potential to create suspense and interest was a rouge in service of the villain, who by circumstances found himself working with the good guys. For the first couple of chapters it looked like he was going to have a complicated relatinship of mutual mistrust with the other members of the group while still being forced to work togather, he quickly turns out to just be a Nice Guy. That reduced a lot of the possible tention and mind-games potential in the story.
The main character, while presented as a super genuis, cunning alchemist, is really stuipd. He never comes up with any good idea and his companions - unaducated as they are - outsmart him at every turn. He is constantly put to shame and finds himself the last to realise many things during the journey. He's almost never the one to save the day. I guess that bothers me because I was expecting the POV to actualy be what he attested himself to be, but as it stands I just think he is really unlikable and unintersting.
The book has many, many "cool" elemtns - Numeria and the Sky City being only a couple of those. The story is packed full with unique environments, unusual magic items and bizzare monsters. I like that, except for the fact that the cool elements are delivered in such a "meh" fashion that they failed to grab me. The book never quite provokes the sense of wonder that it should about those "cool" factors, and that really brings the expirience down.
All in all, the weakest novel Iv'e read in quite a while.
This was a outstanding read. I enjoyed every moment. I loved the dungeon dive at the end, and travels through Golarion. All of Tim Pratt's characters were great, but Skiver was my absolute favorite! I would love to see him get his own story.
Another very well done entry in the Tales line that aspires (and succeeds!) to be more than simple shared world fiction. Pratt does an excellent job drawing interesting, complex characters while playing in and expanding the Golarion sandbox.
He also deserves massive kudos for introducing an unapologetic gay character who just happens to be a menacing, unapologetic rogue. The lovelorn, haplessly heterosexual protagonist Alaeron is well-done, as is the more-than-damsel-in-distress Jaya.
The story expands considerably on Numeria, the Mwangi expanse and the lost civilization of the Shori. I particularly liked the handling of Numerian artifacts. Can't wait for another by this author, whether involving these characters or others. Bring on the Skiver sequel.
I really enjoyed this book. To start with the characters are well thought out. Each has a unique personality and seem quite authentic. I was a bit skeptical of a book written in regards to a alchemist. Alaeron's background as unique and much grander than what i expected. His companions with their personalities and umm lifestyles.. were also unique..