Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce
I’ve raved about Curtis Craddock’s The Risen Kingdoms series since he first dazzled us with his debut An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (which I reviewed here) and A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery (reviewed here). Now he’s taking us on the final, most swashbuckling adventure yet in The Last Uncharted Sky.
After you get over the initial disappointment of learning this is the final book in the series, now revealed to be a trilogy (sob!), you’ll find yourself setting sail with Capitaine Isabelle, Musketeer Jean Claude, Marie, Major Bitterlich, and a handful of new faces as they head for the ends of the earth aboard the airship Thunderclap. Taking up the mission introduced in the final moments of Book 2, they are searching for the Craton Auroborea, a mysterious landmass in uncharted territory, to claim it as a new colony for l’Empire Celeste.
Of course, other factions have interests of their own, and the mission of grand exploration becomes a race to save the world. Fending off enemy warships, religious fanatics, and treachery from even closer quarters, Isabelle, Jean-Claude, and their allies take us on a journey to parts unknown and dangers unimagined, all in Craddock’s sure and sprightly prose. Every character—old and new—gets plenty of attention and development. Characters grow, relationships deepen, secrets are uncovered, and almost everyone lives happily ever after—but you’ll have to see for yourself exactly how Craddock brings his adventure to such a satisfying close.
The Last Uncharted Sky depends a bit more on past books’ events than the first two volumes, which stood solidly on their own. It would be worth picking up books one and two for a re-read (or a first read!) before diving in.
Craddock continues his sensational world-building and the evolution of his wholly original magical systems. It would be an enormous shame for all of this brilliant work to go untapped, so I sincerely hope that, even as we leave Isabelle and Jean-Claude behind, Craddock plans further stories in this fantastic world. He has hinted at such a fascinating past, present, and future for The Risen Kingdoms that fans of his writing will sign on for anything he serves up next.