Sky on Fire Review (Part II): Getting Hot in Here

By Christina Ladd on

About Christina Ladd

One of the Books & Comics editors at Geekly. She/her. Sailor Rainbow. Glitter and spite and everything bright.


Ever wanted to ride a hurricane without leaving your home? That’s kind of the experience of reading The Sky on Fire, both figuratively and, in a couple of instances, also literally. This is a pulse-pounding novel that never stops chasing bigger and bigger storms, beginning with a fugitive hunt but somehow escalating from there to crises that affect whole cities and eventually the whole world (and maybe even universe?).

We start twice, once in the citadel atop a mountain as a dragonrider and his dragon demand the return of a presumed-dead traitor to the dragon empire. The reception from the guests tells us right away that the dragons, while badass as hell, are maybe not the most beneficent rulers. There’s political trouble brewing atop the peaks. There’s also trouble below, where we then go on to meet Anahrod, who has a special connection to animals. 

Whatever you’re thinking about Anahrod’s powers, it’s probably wrong. Unless you were thinking these animals are not bluebirds or sweet woodland creatures, but gigantic six-legged megafauna that bear close resemblance to dinosaurs–in which case, congrats, how did you know about Overbite?

Somehow, Lyons does manage to make a six-legged multi-ton beast sort of adorable. Anahrod is also sort of adorable, but that comes later, as the sweet and sexy relationships (yes, plural) have a chance to develop. At first, we see the tough-as-nails Anahrod, who manages to survive not one, not two, but fully three separate kidnappings. It’s honestly incredible, and that barely even touches on the central hook of the book, which is the heist. 

If you’ve read Jenn Lyons before, you know full well that none of her books is ever one thing. Every entry in the Chorus of Dragons quintet is a matryoshka doll, and this is no different. The action never stops, and it also never stops revealing even more intricate motivations and consequences at the next level down. This is one of the things I love about Lyons’ fiction: there are always deeper levels, always hidden motives that fit perfectly within the story that the book seems to be telling at the beginning, so that by the time you hit the end, you still have that amazing outer story, you just also have all kinds of other amazing stories, too.

There’s still a great heist. There’s still a hugely cool dragon society. There’s still awesome magic. But there are also hidden cities, hidden kingdoms (or…democracies?), and hidden elements to the magic system and religion, whole lost histories. And it all fits together. 

I want to say more about other aspects of the worldbuilding, specifically the social custom of using rings to immediately indicate facets of identity like gender, job, and sexuality that I wish existed in our world, but I know my co-hosts also have a ton to say on this any the many other incredible details in the world of The Sky on Fire, so I’ll just say that there is so, so, so much packed into this book for you to appreciate and enjoy. 

Leave a Reply

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