Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy) Paperback – June 24, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
Adult author Wendig (The Blue Blazes) launches the dystopian Heartland trilogy featuring a group of teenage scavengers at odds with an oppressive government that dwells in luxury up in the sky. Cael McAvoy, leader of the Big Sky Scavengers, is dealt a severe setback when a rival crew led by the mayor's son sabotages his land-boat, which he needs to safely navigate the hostile fields of genetically modified corn that hold the Heartland in a stranglehold. When he discovers a secret garden of illegal fruits and vegetables, he sees a chance to get ahead by harvesting and selling them. Instead, he and his friends are drawn into a bloody fight for survival, which turns into open rebellion. Wendig conjures up an atmospheric and brutal world full of pollen storms, aggressive plants, and terrifying tumors, and populates it with memorable characters, while withholding enough information about the Empyreans to maintain intrigue. This strong first installment rises above the usual dystopian fare thanks to Wendig's knack for disturbing imagery and scorching prose. - Publishers Weekly August 2013
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–In the Heartland, the corn has been genetically modified until it can be left to its own devices, leaving those who work the fields with few tasks but harvesting the crop that funds the flotillas, which hover high above the land and house the elite ruling class, the Empyrean. Cael and the others in the Heartland toil endlessly to keep the corn and the mysterious illnesses that accompany its growth from their lives. When Cael’s sister sneaks onto the flotilla, the consequences for her and her family on the ground are severe. And after Cael’s first love’s family wins the lottery to be relocated to the flotillas, he knows he has to go after her. Through all these trials, Cael realizes that the only way to save the Heartlanders is to challenge the idea that corn must be king. Wendig convincingly illustrates the kind of culture and environment that might be the result of today’s agricultural practices and genetically modified industrial crops. The dystopia that arises from this projection is believable and chilling, but it never overpowers the stories of the characters that live in this world.–Anna Berger, formerly Literature Consultant, Piper City, IL --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 75%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This one, I really liked. Set in the Heartland, an analog midwest, where the farming folk now work for the Empyrean, a group of hoity toity rich folk distant from the ordinary folk in the same as as the Capitol from the Hunger Games and hundreds of other young adult dystopian visions. What keeps that from making me roll my eyes though, is Wendig's visceral descriptions and character dynamics, especially for the main character, Cael. Seriously, that line describing someone's eye being destroyed? (shudder) Wonderfully awful.
Also in the tradition of dystopian young adult, we have a contrivance which means that young people have to marry the person selected for them instead of their heart's choice. Those artificial structures are one of my pet peeves with the entire genre, but once again props to Wendig for getting me past that by centering me fully in the emotions of the moment for Cael and his love, Gwennie. The relationships were complex, as real ones are, full of jealousies and sense of duty and attempts to do what is expected intermixed with dreams of getting away.
All in all, quite a good story, and I will probably be back for more in the series.
I read recently that Wendig considers himself a horror writer. I don't know if I would say that for all his work, although some definitely has a creepy aspect. This dystopian tale perhaps walks a line that comes close to horror, with its not-quite-sentient-but-certainly-aware engineered corn, and the Blight, a disease that turns people into almost plants. It's quite an interesting concept, and touches on many of today's controversial issues in both climate and food production. And it paints a somewhat scary picture. But not one without hope. That sliver of light does exist to push Cael and his friends on, even when they don't realize it.
The plot moves quickly once it gets going. It is a bit slow at the front end, but once the story is set-up, it gains momentum. Characters are well written, if not exceptional. The setting is the star here, at least for me. The Heartland is bleak and unfriendly. The people who are little more than forced labor for the Empyrean rulers are hard and tough. Most have a fatalistic attitude about everything. The Empyrean flotillas are like distant stars- too far to touch, a dream of wealth and power that most on the ground can never achieve. There is some mention of sex, but nothing explicit. The books are aimed at older teenagers, so that is not unexpected. There is also a fair bit of cursing, but, again, teenagers do curse, and, if you have read any of Wendig's other books, the language should not be a surprise.
All in all, this was a good read and sets up the next book nicely.
UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY is a sci-fi Dust Bowl story without the dust. Chuck Wendig's version of a futuristic Oklahoma isn't ravaged by drought or wind or New Deal farm policies, but by an aggressive, corrupting strain of corn called "Hiram's Golden Prolific" that has supplanted every other growing thing except people and rats, and the people aren't doing so well.
Unlike Steinbeck's Okies, the Heartlanders of Wendig's tale don't have a California they can pack up and go to. The only escape is to the flotilla of space stations overhead, which can only be reached by a rigged "Lottery" - or, as is implied, through other, less savory means.
UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY goes to great lengths to highlight both the scrappy-underdog nature of his main characters, and to make the mysterious residents of the space flotilla as unsympathetic as possible. (They've banned baseball, the scoundrels have.) The storytelling hits you over the head maybe once too often--and that's not a metaphor; almost all the plot twists seem to involve a massive cranial injury to the protagonist's skull.
Having said that, Wendig's lean and unsparing prose is perfectly suited to the material. His creative vision is marked with the sensibility of someone who has been poor, who has had to save junky old parts for jury-rigged repairs, who has had to worry about where their next meal is coming from. The Heartland always feels like a real place, although one on the verge of social collapse. Many of Wendig's characters seem like stock characters, but he writes about them with furious fellow-feeling, miles away from the detachment of the Empyreans, who see them as Steinbeck's working-class Americans see their Okie neighbors.
UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY was, the author tells us, written as something of a joke--having corn as the leading factor in an apocalypse, instead of fire, ice, or marauding eighty-foot clones of the Michelin Man. It is a bit heavy-handed in its politics, and more than a bit unsubtle in its plot and characterization, but it's entertaining, imaginative stuff.
Most recent customer reviews
I recommend this author.