Sky Pirates (The Chronicles Of Light And Shadow book three) by Liesel Schwarz (book review).

‘Sky Pirates’, the third book of ‘The Chronicles Of Light And Shadow’, chronicles the further adventures of Elle Chance. She lives in a world in which, centuries ago, the spheres of Light and Shadow were one and the creatures from both sides, Nightwalkers, faeries and humans lived in harmony but the Romans chose science and logic over magic. That tipped the scales of the world and chaos ensued until balance was restored by dividing the world into Light and Shadow. Supernatural creatures and magic users chose the Shadow and this division has held until 1903 when ‘The Chronicles Of Light And Shadow’ begins.


With her husband Hugh missing in the Shadow, Elle has turned back to piloting her airship, the Water Lily, taking on commissions across the world. On one such mission, she rescues the female archaeologist, Dr. Bell, who brings her new hope: The ruins of Angkor Wat may reveal a way to rescue Hugh from his existence as a wraith but, before she can deliver her new friend to London, the Water Lily is captured by sky pirates. Elle tries to fight them off but succumbs in the end. She is lucky though to have secured Dr. Bell’s diary with the map to the lost ruins in Cambodia. The pirates are led by an old acquaintance, none other than Captain Dashwood, who previously lost his airship to Elle. Despite wanting to get his vengeance on Elle, he agrees to help her, believing she knows the way to an enormous treasure.

Meanwhile, Elle’s old nemesis Patrice rears his ugly head. Now a formidable master of magic, he takes control of the council of warlocks and starts his search for the only prize he needs to bring his plans for world domination to fruition. He sets a terrifying creature from the Shadow on Elle’s trail and puts a bounty on her head. Now Elle and Dashwood have their hands full evading pirates, traversing a hostile jungle, finding some long lost ruins and fighting off a hound from hell.

‘Sky Pirates’ is well-paced and by no means a slow read. As in the previous books, a lot of the time is spent travelling. The reader is guided well through the plot which is all in all delightful to read. The world-building is okay, despite some minor issues (not sure Cambodian jungle hut doors are actually built strong enough to be slammed shut, but maybe I’m wrong…). I might be mistaken here, too, but it seems the epilogue contradicts the way Elle resolves the end fight. Apart from that, the main characters are well-defined and easy to differentiate and the cast is expanded by adding Captain Dashwood and some of his crew. Elle will most likely have some support in her future adventures apart from Hugh and Countess Beladodia.

This time around, we do get a proper ending, not a cliffhanger like in ‘A Clockwork Heart’. To the delight of the fans of Liesel Schwarz, there are nevertheless enough unsolved story lines left. The romance once again takes central stage and the result is an urban fantasy love story with some steampunk elements. If you liked the first two books, do read on. If you are interested in romance with a fantasy touch or urban fantasy, give this series a try.

Sven Scheurer

December 2015

(pub: Del Rey/Random House, 2014. 384 page small hardback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-091950-72-9

pub: Del Rey/Random House, 2015. 400 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-091950-73-6)

check out websites: www.delreybooks.com, www.delreyuk.com and www.lieselschwarz.com

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