Review: Under This Forgetful Sky by Lauren Yero

Category:

Sci-fi

Rating:

Introduction:

Sixteen-year-old Rumi Sabzwari has spent his entire life behind the armored walls of St. Iago, which protect citizens of the Union of Upper Cities from the outside world’s environmental devastation. But when rebels infect his father with a fatal virus, Rumi escapes St. Iago, desperate to find a cure.

In the ruined city of Paraíso, Rumi meets fifteen-year-old Paz, who agrees to guide him on his journey. As they travel together, Rumi finds himself drawn to Paz—and behind her tough exterior, she begins to feel the same way. But Paz knows more about Rumi’s father’s illness than she’s saying and has her own agenda. With the powerful forces at play in their cities putting them at odds, can the two learn to trust in each other—enough to imagine a different world?

Review:

Under This Forgetful Sky by Lauren Yero is a young adult sci-fi/fantasy standalone that is set in a technologically advanced dystopian society.

Looking at all the five star ratings on Goodreads I am definitely wondering whether I read the same book as others because from my perspective, Under This Forgetful Sky by Lauren Yero fell short in numerous aspects and failed to meet my expectations, leaving me with a sense of dissatisfaction. Undoubtedly, there are aspects within this book that shine brilliantly. Nevertheless, it is my sincere belief that the negative aspects significantly outweigh the positives, resulting in an imbalanced reading experience.

Lauren’s prose in Under This Forgetful Sky is lyrical, showcasing considerable promise as a debut author. Her writing style exhibits a captivating and expressive quality that draws readers into the narrative. Moreover, I found her commendable efforts to shed light on South American cultures and languages to be particularly noteworthy. By incorporating these elements into the story, she brings diversity and richness to the literary landscape. The pacing of the story was good and had it’s moments of intrigue and suspense.

However the book’s world-building lacked cohesion and often left significant gaps for readers to fill with their imagination. Understanding the concept of Upper City and Lower City and their co-relations proved to be a challenge, and it wasn’t until I reached approximately 60% of the book that the author provided a somewhat inadequate explanation of their separation. I couldn’t help but question the rationale behind building an impenetrable wall around a city and isolating it from the rest of society, unless the city was entirely self-sufficient. Unfortunately, the book didn’t offer any evidence to support this self-sufficiency claim. Or was there a network system among the Upper Cities around the world to help each other out? I’d never know! Additionally, the vast distance between the two cities, requiring weeks of travel, makes it difficult to comprehend how both can genuinely be considered parts of a single entity.

Throughout the book, the author repeatedly emphasized the technological advancement of the Upper City. However, I must admit that I found it challenging to fully embrace this claim since there were few instances or details to substantiate it. The mentioned aspects such as specs and digiclothes, unfortunately, were not adequately explained, leaving me somewhat perplexed about their functionality. Additionally, the presence of holograms and heliocycles further supported the notion of advancement, but it seemed insufficient to convincingly portray the comprehensive technological prowess attributed to the Upper City.

Paz’s character and story arc resonated with me, and I found her journey in the book quite compelling. However, I couldn’t help but ponder the author’s specific decision to portray Yumi as Pakistani. It seemed that his nationality didn’t have a profound impact on the overall plot, unlike the significance attributed to Paz’s background. I mention this because author made the decision to make Yumi, A Pakistani, possibly a Muslim, consume alcohol at a certain point in the story. I am wondering whether there was any significance in that scene the author was trying to convey. Also the only male Yumi I know is the Persian poet Yumi. All the other Yumis in my life whether they are from East Asia, South Asia or Middle East, are actually females, as it happens to be a common female name now. Given the story is told in first person perspective, I seriously would have thought Yumi was a female character unless I had read the book blurb first where I encountered his pronouns.

I found it commendable that the author attempted to bring attention to the Spanish language by integrating it into the narrative. However, I noticed that at times, the author forgot to provide translations for complete sentences in Spanish. Personally, I could manage with my limited high school Spanish knowledge, but my South Korean friend, with whom I was buddy reading this book, faced significant challenges. She frequently had to rely on me for translations or resort to using online tools, which ultimately disrupted her reading experience. Consequently, I fully understood her decision to stop reading the book, as the language barrier became a considerable distraction for her.

These were only a very few good and bad things among many I noticed as I read Under This Forgetful Sky which I can talk about without giving out spoilers. In conclusion although there are certainly good things to be said about the book my personal overall experience with it was bad.

Rating:

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