Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

The Heartland.  It’s a cruel place, where the only crop allowed is corn.  But the corn in Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky isn’t the corn we’re familiar with.  This is Hiram’s Golden Prolific, genetically modified to be incredibly aggressive, taking over everything.  It takes almost everything the Heartlanders have to control it.  But that’s life in the Heartland.

Cael McAvoy is the captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, the second best scavenging crew of Boxelder.  Cael’s crew flies over the corn, looking for things they can scavenge and sell.  But the mayor’s son always bests him, coming out ahead even though Cael knows his crew is better.  But when you’re father has a direct line to the Empyrean, the elite who live high above the ground, there’s not a whole lot you can do.  But being second best is the least of Cael’s worries; in a few days, the Empyrean will announce his arranged marriage and he’s worried he’s going to lose his first mate and the love of his life to someone else.  And his father doesn’t seem to care about any of it.  But that’s life in the Heartland.

Or at least it would be.  But Cael’s getting sick of it all.  And when he finds a secret, illegal garden, Cael’s determined that the garden’s going to change his fortunes for the better.  If only he can find a way to sell all the produce without the Empyrean elite finding out…

As Wendig’s first foray into young adult fiction, Under the Empyrean Sky has it all: mutant corn, hobos, and the trials of growing up under an oppressive government in the sky.  What’s not to love?Under

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