Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy, #1) by Chuck Wendig

4 stars

So here we have a trilogy with evil, mutant corn!


But really the story is about Cael and his family and friends, who are basically no more than slaves and animals to the Empyreans. The Empyreans are the elite controllers who live on flotillas in the sky. The dirty mangy humans live on the ground, where they are expected to farm the mutant corn, which gives them tumors and birth defects.

The corn isn’t even edible. It’s used to make fuel for the flotillas and as additives. The Empyreans control seeds and do not allow anyone to grow fruit trees or vegetables or even have animals that don’t eat the corn. If they see a farm animal without tumors on it, they kill it. Yes, they’ve evil. McDonald’s would be the equivalent of an organic nutritious feast to these people.


Once a year, there is an Obligation ceremony, where the 17 year olds are promised to one another for marriage, randomly of course. You don’t get to pick your mate in this world. Pffft.

There are similarities to other dystopians. You’ve got the male lead character who is repressed and seeks a way out to better himself and his people. His romantic interest is taken from him. I mean, if you read YA dystopian novels, you will draw comparisons. However, I think this was an enjoyable read and I want to see what happens next. The supporting characters were really good – Proctor Simone Agrasanto is the type of villain you just want to die a horrible death, same for the Mayor and his son.


Cael’s family and friends are likeable and I found myself rooting for them. Cale himself was a little meh, but we’ll see what happens.

I think it’s fairly safe to say this is sort of a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of GMOs (Monsanto) and a worst case scenario involving that subject. I personally find that a compelling argument, so that was another positive factor for me. I definitely want to find out what happens next. This ended up being a page-turner for me.

I received a copy of this from Netgalley and Skyscape for an honest review. Thanks!

Review also found at Goodreads.


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