[505]: The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn

University of Queensland Press | Paperback, 304 pp.
Publication Date: July 24th, 2013
Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

The worst has happened. Nuclear testings between two unnamed countries brought on nuclear winter that changed the landscape of the world as we know it.

Somewhere in Australia, Fin woke up in a dark, cold world without his dad and stepmother. In his care was his younger brother. Days and weeks go by. Food became scarce. The military stopped giving rations. Desperate, people succumb to their basest of instincts. They steal, they maim, and some even kill for food.

As they realize the hopelessness of their situation, Fin and his brother banded with the school outcast and the girl Fin likes to find their mother – the only person that could offer hope, shelter and answers as to why the government had abandoned the rest of the continent.

Reminiscent of Ashfall series by Mike Mullin, this book shows the story of survival among four kids when the world is blanketed in a perpetual winter. It shows the slow decline of civilization and humanity when resources, infrastructures, and basic necessities slowly diminished. It is whatever horror you could conjure up in your nightmares in a slightly lesser degree than that of Mullin’s Ashfall series.

It’s hard not to compare the stories as it shares a couple of similarities: one is the setting (winter), and two is the male perspective for which both stories were told. Fin showed incredible calmness with every peril he’d encountered; and calculating intelligence with every decision he’d had to make. The readers see him adapt a different set of values driven by survival instincts. He is forced to grow up in a dangerous place where he would have no choice but to be his brother’s defender, provider, and saviour.

The isolation of a group of individuals “worth saving” was a plot point that was interesting to me. It reminded me of “the lottery process” in that movie, Deep Impact, wherein the government selected specialists and professionals in their fields to be saved as Earth prepares for an extinction event. In this book, anyone trying to cross the Inner Sydney border would be killed, and anyone harbouring “outsiders” are cast out.

The Sky So Heavy was an interesting book. A thought-provoking piece that will give readers pause. Considering how stubborn some countries are about the way they are handling their stash of nuclear weapons, this book will at least make you think about the precarious situation we all live in. Zorn captured this doomsday scenario pretty well, and have chosen a realistic narrator in Fin.


  • This sounds pretty interesting. It is strange I’ve never read a book set in Australia before. I like the sound of this one and I think I’ll give it a try! :]

  • Set in Australia! Fist pump! Sounds like a different read, glad you liked it!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  • This actually seems like soemthing I’d like!
    Great review (:

  • I loved this book, it sounds like it was a bit too similar to another one for you though! I’ve been recommended Ashfall before, it sounds like it will be totally up my alley if this one is similar. Great review Joy!

  • Not my usual type of a read, but I’m glad you enjoyed it despite some flaws.

  • oooohhh this one sounds interesting! I noticed last year, these survival/nuclear type of books were a big trend, I kinda don’t like it, but this one sounds interesting. Glad you liked it and got a review up!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

  • Gorgeous review Joy. <3 So happy you liked this book, despite not loving it 😀 I think the cover looks pretty gorgeous. Sigh. And the book do sound pretty good too, though maybe not for me :p but happy you enjoyed it 🙂 Thank you for sharing about it sweeie. <3

  • Managed to squeeze in a read in the middle of a motherland vacay. I’m impressed! Share pics okay!

  • I need to step out of my zone, and maybe this could be the book I start with. I don’t dislike dystopian or apocalyptic novels — whichever this book falls under, but I noticed I steer clear of the genre. I’m not sure if it’s because the stories are usually repetitive, or if the books I’ve read in the past kind of tainted my view of this genre. Probably a little of both for me. It has pretty good reviews on goodreads, so I’m definitely going to consider picking it up.

  • Oh, wow. This sounds intense. Killing to survive? Sounds like the characters are in dire circumstances. I personally have never read a doomsday novel, only seen movies that cover the topic and I do remember that Deep Impact reference you mentioned. This sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing. Great review 🙂

  • This definitely sounds like a thought-provoking story. I always wonder how doomsday scenarios where a chosen group is allowed to survive would play out, and while this sounds like a dark read, I am really curious to try it! Awesome review!

  • Wow! This book sounds kind of dark, but I’m certainly intrigued. It does sound like I’m going to have to emotionally prepare myself for it, but I’m definitely tempted to give it a try.
    Great review, Joy!

  • Reminds me of a book I read in middle school. It was about part of a family huddling inside a bunker after a nuclear war. I don’t remember the details but I just remember it being rather terrifying. I couldn’t wrap my mind around living underground in a bunker for years. There was nothing on the radio, no mayday or search signals; the family was utterly isolated. The outside was eternal night and ash. Seriously, what was that book even doing in the school library?

  • I love a good thought provoking read every now and then! Wonderful review!!

  • I get the some are worth saving, but on the other hand, not cool

  • Hmmm I confess that I don’t really know, I’m not that appealed by the basics of the story so not sure I’ll try it one day…