In a distant future, civilization as we know it has been destroyed. Cities lie in ruin. Nomadic tribes move from place to place, relying on magic rather than science, fleeing the ever-present threat of “sky demons”, who come and take people for whatever purpose into the sky with them, never to be seen again.
As events in this book unfold, we are introduced to the main characters and learn not only the identity of these so-called demons but also of a world far more complex than you would imagine starting the book.
We learn more about Shuran, the flying city that exists due to a combination of magic and science, as well as its people, the regime and what exactly motivates them to make the choices they made and act the way they do.
Contrary to many novels, this gives the villains depth and allows the reader to see both antagonist and protagonist as real people.
Etched in Soul and Skin has a bit of everything: people fighting to overcome tyranny and to do the right thing, human tragedy, drama, suspense, adventure, even a little bit of romance.
The one thing that is always prioritized is the story itself, making for an extremely well-balanced book that will want to keep you reading to the very end to know just what the characters will do next and what the outcome of all the events will be.
Joshua Legg did an outstanding job creating a book that combines many of the elements of steampunk we’ve come to love and yet making the universe completely his own. It has that sense of adventure to it, regardless of how bleak things get for the characters, that marks all great steampunk tales, and I am quite confident that it will prove to be an excellent read to many of my fellow steampunks.