Review – With Eyes Turned Skyward


With Eyes Turned Skyward

Overall review:3 Stars (3 / 5)

With Eyes Turned Skyward is set in a Post-Apocalyptic Earth where the land mass is greatly reduced due to “The Drowning” (rising of the seas).  The human race survives in small enclaves perched on mountain ranges or in other undrowned areas – some are beginning the struggle of reclaiming emerging land which has been taken over by “amphibious seaweed” (a feature I found highly entertaining) and vicious, mutant creatures.

However, other humans have taken to the skies in huge zeppelins that follow trade routes from settlement to settlement for profit.  These zeppelins not only carry passengers and merchants, but their own military forces (to fight off pestiferous sky pirates).  They are basically floating fortresses cruising at 14,000 feet – people are born, live and die on these airships, rarely touching dry land throughout their lives.

The protagonist of the story, Sage Bazmon, is an orphan who was born and raised on the Zeppelin, Artemis.  He becomes a soldier, a pilot and the savior of the world.  He earns the nickname “Saber” because of his bravery and skills as a fighter pilot (the dogfight scenes are very well done).

I really liked the story line of this book when I read the sample from Amazon.  It sounded fresh and interesting, a completely different take on post-apocalyptic fiction, which quite frankly has been done to death.  I also loved the book cover – very slick and professional looking, fitting the story line nicely.  The prose is written in first person, present tense, which I believe takes a certain amount of boldness, not to mention skill.  It gave the book a sense of immediacy and engagement which I thought fit well with the work as a whole.

However, like so many independently published works, this book is greatly in need of a really good editor(s) –  a good line/copy editor with some input on content improvement could make a huge difference.  I also found the electronic formatting inconsistent.  I don’t know how the formatting was done, but it didn’t do well with all my Kindle devices – when I tilted my tablet(s) I would get crazy indents etc.  Have no idea what caused it.  The pagination was also strange.

The Worldbuilding was weak – I found myself wondering about a lot of details i.e. where did they get the fuel for the zeppelins and other machines, where did they grow food etc.  Characters also were a bit one dimensional, except for the protagonist.

So, if someone can live with the editing issues I think it is an overall good story.   However, I found them incredibly distracting and had to force myself to finish once I got about half way through.

Nice effort for a first book, but it could be much better.

Story Line:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Characterization:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Readability:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Writing Craft:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Cover Art:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Worldbuilding:2 Stars (2 / 5)


  • Gregory Stravinski

    Thank you very much for the review Nell! I think it’s spot on, especially the points concerning content editing and formatting. I’m struggling to figure out the best way to submit my book to Amazon, and was curious what format you chose for yours? Otherwise, thank you very much again for the kind words and the feedback to help me get to that next level!

    • nellwal

      Gosh – it has been so long since I published my book I can’t remember what I used – the MS was done in Microsoft word. Right now my WIP I’m doing in MS word 2013 – my standard style (Times New Roman – 12), double spaced – with styles set for Title, chapter and normal typeface. Seems like I just changed it all to single space – insert page breaks after each chapter.. I did have to fuss with it a bit. But that was in 2011 and I bet things have improved since then.

      On the Kindle forum there will probably be people who can give better insight into the electronic side of it – more current info.

      Thanks and keep writing!

      • Gregory Stravinski

        Thanks Nell!

        I’ll see what I can do. I just purchased a copy of you’re book as well, so I’m excited to dig into it.

        Quick question for you, did you purchase the book before May? If so, you may be reading an older version of it that has many more mistakes. If that’s the case, I would love send you a paperback pro bono as an apology and a thank you for your feedback.

        • nellwal

          No. I purchased it recently. The electronic version. And my book is a hot mess so don’t use it as a guideline!! I am trying to learn from my mistakes! Two people that I admire greatly as independent authors are Andy Weir and Hugh Howey. They are the two I look at as complete successes.

        • nellwal

          Oh – and don’t worry about the paper back. Just keep writing – but thank you for the offer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *