Editorial Review: The Wind Walker (Children of the Sky Book 1) by Simon Shugar

Editorial Review: The Wind Walker (Children of the Sky Book 1) by Simon Shugar

The city of Crater was built to exploit the plethora of exotic minerals with marvelous properties found at the bottom of its basin. It is here where Zephyr, a child laborer in the mines dreams of freedom. Crater is also the destination of Captain Bacchus and his eccentric crew of sky pirates who are on a high-stakes mission to recover a stolen treasure.  

The Wind Walker opens with a mysterious meeting that introduces readers to the sky pirate, Captain Bacchus, and his eccentric crew. Bacchus is offered a mysterious mission that would take him and his crew to the dangerous city of Crater. While it won’t be easy, the promise of a reward that is fifty times their usual rate makes it hard to turn down the mission. The perspective then shifts to Zephyr, a youth who works as a “Breaker Boy” in the mines of Crater while dreaming of freedom. For Zephyr and other child laborers, there is little hope for a future as few survive the perils of the job. However, Zephyr is determined to escape this fate and sets his sights on joining the thieves guild. His goal is to earn enough coin to buy his way out of the city, but fate has other plans in store for him..

The Wind Walker is the first book in the Children of the Sky series by Simon Shugar and also the author’s debut novel. As it is the first title in the series it features a lot of world-building, but the perfect blend of fantasy and steam-punk makes the scenes both fascinating and interesting to read. Shugar has a way of drawing readers into the story with vivid descriptions that make it easy to envision exactly what the characters are thinking and experiencing. The story is also very fast-paced, with rarely a dull moment. 

Zephyr is an entertaining protagonist who gets into all kinds of scrapes thanks to his cunning and youthful recklessness. It is hard not to root for him as he doggedly pursues his goals, but encounters all kinds of unexpected obstacles along the way. The sections featuring Bacchus and his crew are interspersed with Zephyr’s adventures and, while more brief, these are just as entertaining. The sky pirates are a motley bunch and their interactions with one another make them all the more memorable. While initially there’s no overlap between Zephyr’s adventures and the sky pirates' mission, their paths do cross eventually.

The steampunk fantasy world of The Wind Walker allows the author to feature some really neat inventions instead of having to rely on magic to explain everything that is unusual. Reading about the towering layout of Crater is fascinating and the flying airships, powered by skiilite are also pretty iconic. In addition, Zephyr manages to get his hands on an awesome gadget, called a “rat tail” that allows him to zip around Crater in an adrenaline-rushing manner. 

Overall, The Wind Walker is a great first entry to what promises to be a riveting series. The story also feels very self-contained. While it sets things up for further adventures, it doesn’t end on any major cliffhangers. Fans of fantasy adventures and steampunk will definitely want more of Captain Bacchus, Zephyr, and the rest of the characters introduced in this novel. 

Toni Cabell - A Tapestry of Fantasy, Romance, and Political Intrigue
FEATURED AUTHOR - Toni Cabell is a closed-door fantasy romance author who has published two complete YA romantic fantasy series. Soon to be released is her sweet, humorous, paranormal romance series. Her books reflect her Christian values, meaning they contain no swearing, no excess violence, and maintain low intimacy levels. Her novels have won multiple awards, including six B.R.A.G. Medallions, Silver and Bronze Medals in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, a Gold Medal in the Global Book Awards, and 1st Place in… Read more