Top critical review
I'll Take the Land Road
on 6 July 2015
The future can be a lot of things, but an odd Scottish fantasy/communism mashup? Not for me. ‘The Sky Road’ is book four of a popular series by Ken Macleod, but I for one just did not get pulled in. The world itself is very intriguing and different from most science fiction futures out there, but it is painted rather opaquely. You are given hints, rather than full explanations, as to what the relationships are between Scotland and the rest of the world. For those that read books one through to three, this may not be an issue, but I picked it up thinking it was a standalone book based in the Fall Revolution series and was lost. A book that wants to be part of a series, but also unto itself, needs to cater for both markets; Macleod seems to have missed explaining things to new readers.
The steep learning curve has happened to me before in novels and does not always end up being fatal, but for ‘The Sky Road’ it was just one of the issues. It was a little annoying that Macleod spent little time explaining what was happening in the wider universe, but seems to spend an inordinate amount of time having his characters look at a hill or loch. Things could still have been saved if there had been a compelling story or characters. Unfortunately, this was not the case as Clovis colha Gree is a bit of a wet blanket and not the most interesting of people to follow.
With a universe that was hard to understand, whilst still being allowing too much time to examine extraneous minutia, ‘The Sky Road’ ended up being a book that I actively stopped liking towards the end. Fans of the earlier books are sure to get something from this novel, but I could not recommend it to new readers.