Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley

There are some books that are simply beautiful. And Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley is one of those. Once I started reading, I could not put it down, I was so immersed in its world and I pretty much read the whole thing in a single sitting and yelled at all my friends that they needed to read the book IMMEDIATELY. This book is magical and I love it a lot.

Massive thanks to Hanna Waigh and Rebellion Publishing for sending me an ARC, all opinions are my own.

STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶


SUMMARY: Skyward Inn, within the high walls of the Western Protectorate, is a place of safety, where people come together to tell stories of the time before the war with Qita.

But safety from what? Qita surrendered without complaint when Earth invaded; Innkeepers Jem and Isley, veterans from either side, have regrets but few scars.

Their peace is disturbed when a visitor known to Isley comes to the Inn asking for help, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future.

Did humanity really win the war? (from Solaris)

OPINIONS: I have rarely read a book that is written as beautifully and engrossing as Skyward Inn. It is weird in a good way – although I’m not sure I fully understood everything that went on, and will have to reread it soon. This is the sci-fi-coffee-shop-AU book of my dreams. It is a slice of life found-family narrative that depicts life after war. Skyward Inn is not a grand narrative, it’s a cosy character-driven book. It’s tagline is “This is a place where we can be alone, together.” And really, I couldn’t imagine a book that would resonate more with me right now.

The characters are odd and cranky, in strange relationships with each other and most of all wonderful and nuanced. They think, they interact, and they live their lives. A book this magical doesn’t need big mysteries, or a fast-paced narrative. It is slow but immersive, drawing the reader into its world, and the tensions between humanity and Qita, the relationships between Jem and Isley and Jem and her son Fosse. Part of me wishes that Skyward Inn were longer so I could have spent more time in its world, but another part knows that it was just right the way it is.

If you like philosophising about what happens after an explosive narrative ends, and imagining cosy coffee-shop AU’s, Skyward Inn is the book for you. Add it on Goodreads here, and pre-order it from Bookshop here. (affiliate link)

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