Pathfinder Tales: City of the Fallen Sky

4.30/5 (based on 27 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: City of the Fallen Sky
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Secrets of the Ancients

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.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-418-4
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-419-1

City of the Fallen Sky is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

City of the Fallen Sky is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (270 KB zip/PDF).

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Average product rating:

4.30/5 (based on 27 ratings)

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Most enjoyable

4/5

athfinder Tales have been shockingly reliable for an RPG fantasy franchise. They regularly recruit high quality writers, and have done so again with Tim Pratt's City of the Fallen Sky.

An alchemist on the run, an ancient ruin, a greasy cutthroat and a beautiful rogue. Sound fun? It is.

Pratt does a very good job in this book of incorporating his (and Paizo's) world-building into the narrative in a very smooth and natural way. I never felt like the narrative was pausing to unleash an avalanche of information on me for the sake of context. It all slots into the plot and characterisation very deftly.

And the characterisation is good. Pratt is smart enough to not give up everything about his characters (except the main one), and I was really happy to see a gay character, where the... gaiety was just another aspect of the character rather than a Big Deal - which is often the case when books like this attempt it, and really end up with a wan kind of tokenism.

The action (of which there is plenty) is also well-written. It's very clear what's going on and doesn't descend into action move pyrotechnics.

On the whole, this was one of my favourite Pathfinder books so far, and I do hope Pratt is up for a sequel.


For those who like to play the more subtle characters

5/5

This is fun read about an alchemist, thief and roguish archer on a fairly epic adventure in search of relics in a lost city. As a guy who loves to play the characters who do not charge into every battle, I found it very enjoyable to read a book with a protagonist who thinks and does not even carry a sword.

I also recommend reading the web fiction by Tim Pratt. If you like to read stories in their in-world chronology, I would read them in this order:

1) A Tomb of Winter's Plunder (WF)
2) Bastard, Sword (WF)
3) City of the Fallen Sky (N)
4) Liar's Blade (N)


Surprisingly good

4/5

A good read!

Pros:
- Funny! Not just a little funny, but I laughed frequently without feeling like the story was frivolous. Well done
-Unique characters. I actually got this book because there were no other pathfinder tales in the store at the time so I reluctantly picked this one up. An alchemist protagonist? Sounds boring, but Pratt does a fantastic job of making it interesting and fun. I actually can't wait to play one the next time I play!
The support characters are also unique. I had strong feelings based on most of the characters. There was one support character, however, that I found totally unnecessary and annoying. He even saves the day when he's introduced the first time and it feels disappointing.
-Good sentence structure. I'm picky with the clunkyness of words and sentences when I read. I must say this was pleasant to read.
-Good locations
-Battles were not overdone, although a little more action on the part of the protagonist would have been cool, but so much better than too much action

Cons:
-Sagging middle. Or more like sagging third quarter. It's not too bad, but I wasn't as entertained during that time as I was for the other parts.
-A really annoying unnecessary character (see above)
-Just a touch more action on the part of the protagonist would have been nice. It felt as if I never really saw the extent of his power, or the payoff of his studies.

All in all it's a fantastic adventure with some awesome moments. Pick this one up


Excellent First Experience

5/5

This was the first book of the Pathfinder series I have read and I have to say I really enjoyed it. The characters were interesting and you really get a sense of the alchemist style. Excellent exploration of locale and over all a very fun read!


Great characters and pacing

5/5

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.


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Contributor

I just finished reading this, and I gotta say, I loved the idea of a science geek (and the idea of chemistry + magic as a scientific discipline is fine we me) as the protagonist is awesome. The sheer "absent minded professor" flavor of Alaeron is delightful. The way he gets sidetracked thinking about the whys and hows of the world around him, wondering about the properties of every bit of fungus and slime... I know people like this, worked with people like this... Love it!

I tend to focus on characters when I read, and the main three in this novel hooked me... Well done, Tim, and I hope we see more of Alaeron!

Grand Lodge

GeraintElberion wrote:

Tim Pratt won a Hugo for a sci-fi short story, which is better than I could do.

However, he does not appear to understand that alchemy is something other than modern science. This novel is littered with anachronistic language which undermines the story. Tim's writing is often cumbersome and disrupts his expression of ideas.

As such, this is simply, mechanically, the worst piece of writing I have seen from Paizo: far below that of Gross, Cunningham, Jones or Sutter.

** spoiler omitted **...

So long as I am immersed in a story, I would hardly stop to scrutinize the writing in such a way that it would not only take away from being entertainment (Fantasy Novel, ahem..), but instead become something similar to work. This book was great, I liked the characters, and most importantly, it entertained me. I didn't buy it expecting a new milestone in literature. There was absolutely nothing in this book to warrant such a review - especially for potential buyers, as you're throwing harsh accusations simply because it goes against what you would've wrote - but you didn't. Tim Pratt did.

Sovereign Court

Ametheus wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:

Tim Pratt won a Hugo for a sci-fi short story, which is better than I could do.

However, he does not appear to understand that alchemy is something other than modern science. This novel is littered with anachronistic language which undermines the story. Tim's writing is often cumbersome and disrupts his expression of ideas.

As such, this is simply, mechanically, the worst piece of writing I have seen from Paizo: far below that of Gross, Cunningham, Jones or Sutter.

** spoiler omitted **...

So long as I am immersed in a story, I would hardly stop to scrutinize the writing in such a way that it would not only take away from being entertainment (Fantasy Novel, ahem..), but instead become something similar to work. This book was great, I liked the characters, and most importantly, it entertained me. I didn't buy it expecting a new milestone in literature. There was absolutely nothing in this book to warrant such a review - especially for potential buyers, as you're throwing harsh accusations simply because it goes against what you would've wrote - but you didn't. Tim Pratt did.

SO, my opinions are not valid because they do not match your expectations?

And you accuse me of being harsh?

Wowser!

The point you may have missed is that it did break my immersion, so maybe I am just different to you, and equally allowed to my opinion?

I actually find it really sad to see someone imply that fantasy novels should not be held up to the standard of other novels.

I didn't expect it to be a new milestone in literature and I don't think I have suggested that: so why would you suggest that I have suggested that? Isn't it quite rude to put words in another person's mouth just because they had a different response to a work of art than you did? I think it is.

I regard my review as honest, not harsh: Pathfinder Tales have already established a standard (Gross, Cunningham, Laws, Sutter, Merciel) and I don't believe that either City of the Fallen Sky or Song of the Serpent are of sufficient quality to stand up amongst the other books in the Pathfinder Tales line.

City of Fallen Sky is, to my mind, particularly poor. You may disagree but I think that the novel did warrant such a comment, which is why I wrote one.

You may note that I was gracious enough not to include my comments in an actual review, I don't think I was actually writing something comprehensive enough for that, but I stand by my opinions. They may differ from your own but such is life. We cannot all think and feel the same way, and the world would be a less wondrous place if we did.

Rather than pointing out that you and I read a book differently (which seems inevitable, us both being unique and richly complex human beings) perhaps you might support the novel by writing your own honest review? Rather than taking umbrage with me for seeing the writing in a different light to you.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I am about half way done, and I have to say this is a fantastic story. Kudos Tim!


It was a good read, but at times a bit wordy. I have super ADHD, and so I recognize it is difficult to hold my attention at times, but I could skip a paragraph or two at times and not miss a thing. I would totally recommend it, though
(can't figure out how to post to ratings)


I find it hard to believe that in a world like Golarion that they didn't develop the word adhesive a lot sooner than we did on Earth. Golarian is by necessity of design a very different universe from our own and only superficially resembles any epoch of real world history at best....it's almost improbable to me in such a world with real magic that we don't see a stronger and more exotic lexicon of descriptors than we ever have in the real world.

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