Every Sky a Grave

Skybound. (Ascendance, Bk. 1). Jul. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9781982107758. $27. SF
Elyth is no stranger to impossible tasks. As an acolyte of the First House, she has used the Deep Language to bend minds and destroy planets, all to keep the Ascendence’s power secure. But when she is sent by the Paragon to the planet Qel to eliminate a possible corruption of the language, nothing goes as planned. Her ship is shot from the sky, she is hunted through inhospitable forests, and the planet resists her efforts to cause its demise. The source of the corruption she seeks is a man, and meeting him shakes the foundation of her beliefs. Posey (“Legends of Dustwalker” series) sets up a galaxy controlled by a government whose military and mystical arms distrust each other. The language-based pseudo-magical abilities that the First House wields allows agents like Elyth almost too much power, but the dangers she encounters still feel real and suspenseful.
VERDICT Fans of Frank Herbert’s Dune and Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit should enjoy this series opener that has plenty of action and skillful worldbuilding that doesn’t lean on heavy exposition.
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