August 15, 2022: the Tycho, the most advanced interplanetary craft ever designed by the human race, launches from Earth on an expedition to Mars. The Tycho carries four passengers, soon to be the most famous people in human history.
February 19, 2023: The Tycho loses all communication with Earth while orbiting Mars. After weeks of determined attempts to reestablish contact, the Tycho is declared lost.
2027: Journalist Gabriel Southern receives a message from a mysterious caller: “Mars.” Ezekiel ben Zahav isn’t talking, but he wants Southern to accompany him for something– and he’s dangling enough money under his nose to make any amount of hardship worth it.
SKYLIGHTS is the story of the second human expedition to Mars. Their mission: find out what happened to the first.
Review of Skylights by Luther M. Siler
I had a lot of fun reading Skylights. The narrator, Gabe Southern, has an engaging voice, and it was kind of like embarking on a journey with a friend – a really cool friend who takes you to space! There were times when I wanted to run back home and promise never to set foot on a spaceship again, but I adapted quickly, thanks to an excellent team and, unexpectedly, a monkey! That’s how real it felt – how vivid the pictures were in my head. Gabe’s humour and uncanny observations just drag you right into the story. There’s a mad scientist or two, a skilled pilot, an engineer, a medic (who’s also the chief scientist) and some extremely cool technology.
The novel has something for every fan of the genre – enough science to get your geek on, but not enough that you’re overwhelmed with jargon. It’s clever that way – some readers will catch more references than others, and that’s okay. You never feel like you’re missing something. It makes it ideal for readers who are new to science fiction.
The pacing is great. It allows you to stretch out, to get to know the characters, and to enjoy the ride. One of my favourite parts is the build-up to the mission. The mystery element, not to mention the growing anticipation, serves to pull you in and keep you there. The action also takes a thrilling turn when the group arrive at their destination. Here, Siler’s excellent sense of timing comes into play.
The humour in Skylights, especially the banter and natural camaraderie, was a highlight for me. Zub and Gabe’s relationship stood out in particular, but it didn’t dominate. This is due to the excellent characterization of each member of the team – including the monkey (did I mention the monkey?)
Which leads me to one of the strongest elements in the novel – the descriptive prose. The worldbuilding is truly thrilling, and I loved the interpretation of the skylights. I won’t say too much about that though, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise!
The cliffhanger is shockingly good. While managing to leave you hungry for more, it also provides a resolution – an answer to the questions raised at the beginning. So, where one journey ends, another is sure to follow!
Luther kindly agreed to an interview, which I will be posting tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d like to share information about his new release, The Sanctum of the Sphere, which I can’t wait to read!
“Go rob that train.” Nice, normal. An everyday heist.
But nothing is ever normal for Brazel, Grond and Rhundi.
A simple act of motorized larceny quickly explodes into a galaxy-spanning adventure for the two thieves. Blade-wielding elves, a fast-moving global war, a secret outlaw space city, incomprehensible insectoids and one impossibly lucky human are just the start of their problems. And that’s before they learn that someone from Grond’s past has gotten the Benevolence involved…
What is happening on the ogrespace moon Khkk?
Who are the Noble Opposition?
And what is the secret of THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE?
Luther Siler was born in 1976 in northern Indiana, where he currently resides along with his wife, three-year-old son, two cats, and a dog. In his spare time he works at a school helping other people be awesome. he writes about space gnomes and Mars.
Don’t forget to return tomorrow to learn more about Luther and his work, in an exclusive interview.
Thanks for stopping by.
9 responses to “Review – Skylights by Luther M. Siler”
I love sci-fi books that aren’t too heavy on the jargon and that focus on good worldbuilding, so this sounds great! 🙂
It’s highly entertaining 🙂 I had tremendous fun!
[…] Barker-Simpson does a nice write-up of SKYLIGHTS over at her place. Tomorrow: another […]
Great review! Thanks for sharing this with us! Looking forward to picking up the book! About how long was the read?
Thanks 🙂 I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. It’s around 298 pages in length, if that answers your question?
I try to write for a quick read, if that helps any. And SKYLIGHTS is roller-coastery. 🙂
Thanks so much for the review, Melissa!
It’s my pleasure 🙂