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4.6 out of 5 stars66
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 August 2014
The story of a boy, Arturo Basilides, surviving in the slums of a war-ravaged city under the control of a ruling elite, and his attempts to bring down the established rule in a not too distant future is a fascinating foray into fantasy science fiction and a relentless read. And I mean that in a good way. Instead of the cliff-hanging ending, we have the cliff-hanging opening, a tense set-piece that sets out the novel’s stall in a few terse paragraphs. Not that I would consider calling this book a light read. More than competently written, it puts a few big names (that I could mention but won’t) to shame, finding a nice balance between minimalism and detail that puts one in mind of the likes of Philip Kerr as opposed to bestselling scribblers like Steve Alten (it had to be said). Short asides fleshing out the landscape of the story, snippets of news, drugs of choice, technological details, never feel intrusive or labored but add to the narrative and only make this fabricated world seem more real. This in itself presents an interesting dichotomy as drug induced visions threaten to tear at the very fabric of reality itself, a further reference to Philip Kerr’s writings (although narratively dissimilar, some of this put me in mind of Kerr’s The Second Angel). As the novel progresses so further complications creep in, not least the notion of the protagonist a terrorist (as opposed to the classic, untainted freedom-fighter), making us question Arturo's motivations and some of his subsequent actions. However, this only adds to the novel’s complexity and further lifts it out of the realm of simple space opera. Certainly, if you are looking for something a bit different but that retains the flights of fancy and a relentless pace that drags the reader along with barely a pause for a breath I can highly recommend this arresting read. If nothing else, it singles out Mister Hale as a writer to watch and I look forward to the next book in this series with interest.
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on 26 May 2014
So imagine that you could infuse "BioShock", "The Road", "Book of Eli", "Assassin's Creed", "Fallout", with a little flavor of "1984"/"Minority Report"/"The Fifth Element" style technology into one epic story, that's "Sky City (The Rise of an Orphan).

The story takes place in 2045, where immoral scientists have developed artificial brains and the military is employing devious tactics such as creating GMO gorillas to fight for them. They've even begun to reverse death, the longest successful duration being for Forty-six hours.

It's narrated in the present tense, so you are right there in real time as it's happening, and it makes you feel like an accomplice. The story is fast-paced and full of conflict and intense action. A must read for those of you looking to journey into a plausible future world environment that we had better wake up and prepare for before it's too late. Well done, RD Hale! Well done!
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on 15 June 2014
First of all let me start by saying I am not usually a fan of reading science fiction, as a horror author myself I am more predisposed to that genre. However, this book is not just a great science fiction book it is just a great book. The world that RD Hale creates is utterly real to the reader and so are the characters who reside there. I enjoyed the way the author infused the book with social commentary and philosophy, but without detracting for. The story at any point, or coming across preachy.

I was utterly absorbed in the world of sky city from the first page, and Hale's prose is a joy to read. I hope there is more to come for. This series, and this author. I highly recommend this book
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on 6 January 2015
I will say at the outset that I am not a sci-fi / fantasy fan, but found myself enjoying large passages of this tale. Imagery and general sense of place is essential to hold my interest, because if I find I’m reading about characters existing in a vacuum, I stop reading, unless of course the vacuum is a small part of the plot.
If I had one immediate concern about this story it would be a personal request I offer to many of the novice writers of this genre - please get out of the 21st century! In recent times I’ve read four sci-fi novels and three of them were set between the years 2040 - 2060. As I write this review, unless my calendar is broken it is now January 2015. Valid point?
Another area of special interest to me is dialogue and I’m keen to see how it develops in such a story. Language evolves, so phrases like, ‘no way,’ ‘whatever’, etc will be history by 2045. Again, I’m being picky, but if we’re reading about the future, I’d like to see new phrases, not the ones I hear in town every day in the present.
Characterisation was generally good in the haphazard world of this story. Why do I say haphazard? The main characters are young, disillusioned and for a good part of the time are looking for their next high. They’re not seeking to be appreciated or to be professional success stories - they are out for whatever they can get and if they have to take it, then so be it. I would have liked a little more depth to a couple of the main guys earlier on, but that didn’t spoil the journey.
Overall, there was a story, which is important. It got underway with a good intro and although the action was intermittent, it fitted in with the general thrust of the tale. My own view is that this author will have learned so much from writing this story, and from the many reviews, that he will make a superb job of the sequel; which I’ll be watching out for.
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on 2 February 2014
From wording to description, this book is phenomenal in all aspects. Aside from the originality of the work, we readers are thrown into this compelling fictional world that isn’t completely unlike our own. The immersion of the story, and the thought-provoking concept is really something hard to find in fiction these days. With the captivating names, the enticing sense of the dystopia presented, and the fantastic narration, this story is definitely something worthwhile. You'll be glad you picked it up. I know I was.
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on 17 December 2014
I read this book twice before reviewing and still I feel like I am unprepared to do so. But I will try.

The story starts quite simple: orphan Athuro lives more or less on the street with his "family" (his sister and some friends) and at the end of the day he just wishes for a better life for all of them. Just a good life with money, food, more money and fun stuff. Easier said than done. It starts with some not quite legal business...

From here on the pace picks up speed. A lot of speed. One thing following the next so quickly that I sometimes had trouble following. A strange girl with superpowers. A secret underground organisation to disempower the world leaders. A bit of future tech. A world (Earth? A paralell world?) in a time I could not pin down. Some things sound pretty much like Earth historie others do not... It fascinated me. Very much.

The charakters are brilliant. Bitchy, funny, sassy, clever, reckless and sometimes like the best of us plain stupid. Lot's of slang, which fitted the whole concept brilliantly.

You were waiting for it, the "but"...

But, unfortunately the pace gets to fast for my liking. In some places erratic. With a just that bit of too much action. The alcohol and drugs that were consumated seemed to have no lasting effect. No permanent harm or addiction. And I won't start on the Bigfoots...

So what do I think?

A great story. Brilliant characters. And a strange world that feels alien and like home at the same time. A lot of action (btw. I like action). Some ascpects (as the drugs for example) could have been used for more depth. The end felt rushed, a bit forced. Sadly, because I really really would love to give all five stars. I will definitely read the next book by R.D. Hale, because I think he's got talent and a lot to say that I would like to hear.
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on 2 February 2014
This is a most absorbing and enjoyable read, which is exceptional in a first novel. The author has created a futuristic world with strong characters and situations that are so real, it leaves one wondering whether this could happen. The text is well organised and flows at a good pace with the plot developing through vivid imagery and realistic dialogue. The conversations have a definite Northern English 'twang' to them, but are easy to follow and do not 'jar' the reader. The author has taken considerable pains to write and edit this book to a very high standard. Readers will NOT, therefore, be disappointed to find basic errors in grammar, language and spelling which is, unfortunately, so often the case in e-books today. Summary: A Good Read at a Fair Price and Recommended.
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on 27 May 2014
I recently purchased this book on a whim. Not normally a sci-fi enthusiast, I was first attracted by the authors voice in the free sample. The other reviews also led me to believe that the story would be just my cup of tea. I think one reviewer mentioned it being a slum dog sort of tale. I was not disappointed.The telling of this story through the MC's eyes gives us a real, intimate perspective on this dystopian world as the hero and his friends battle through day to day living. The characterizations are really well done, as is the dialogue. But what really made it for me was the carefully crafted descriptions that really brought this futuristic world to life. A thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish that I have every confidence recommending to others.
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on 4 September 2014
In the not too distant past, Europe and the US contemplated attacking Syria. Now, Syria is a potential ally in the war against jihadi extremists. The US and Europe backs the Kurds fighting against the extremists, but not too much - the Kurds want independence from Turkey, a major ally. Old enemies the US and Iran are now friends, holding hands, at least, because both back the Shia government in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the rich, while getting richer, remain hidden in gated communities and on yachts the colour and style of battleships. While the poor look out on the apocalypse.I don't know if that is what RD Hale had in mind when he penned Sky City, but hidden in the subtext of his futuristic distopia is the fear that faces us all, that the society we know is falling apart.

Welcome to Medio City, where Arturo Basilides lives the marginal life among the beggars and drug addicts, while 'superior' beings (surely a metaphor for the rich with access to health, food, exercise and education?) oppress the underclass. Will Arturo score the girl of his dreams? Will the downtrodden shake off their fears and addictions (tabloid newspapers, soap TV) and reclaim their humanity? A mixture of sci-fi, fantasy and social comment, RD Hale weaves together a tale that will keep you interested until the last page and gives you an ending that you may expect, but not in the way you expect it.
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on 14 September 2014
My review of Sky City: The Rise of an Orphan
Written By R.D.Hale
PLOT
The story is set in a dystopian city in India in the year 2045 and follows the conflict; struggle and efforts of young male protagonist, Arturo Basilides and his comrades who seek to overthrow the extremist and corrupt ruling elite in a desperate attempt to save what is left of humanity.
The biggest questions throughout the plot are will Arturo and his army of teenage orphans succeed to overthrow the extremists? And if so at what cost? Or will their rebellion fail?

Dialogue
“Shit, we're in trouble! We need Ivor to arrive before the gunner droid or we’re dust!”
It’s a difficult thing to portray Northern English dialogue, yet Hale manages to do this in such a way it’s flawless and flows naturally alongside the plot.

Writing
Although a work of fiction Hale successfully highlights some of the current conflicts that are going on in the world today with regards to social inequality, the civilisation that humans, technology and advances in medical science can create in this thought provoking fast paced Sci-Fi thriller.
Hale is a master of depicting things of an unnatural nature and encouraging the reader to root for the underdog.
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