Saturday, May 31, 2014

ARC Book Review: Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

Take Back the Skies

Lucy Saxon

ARC Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way by the publishers to review this book favourably. The review is my own honest opinion (Whether or not it is agreed with).

Publication Date: June 3rd 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 384

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Young Adult

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .
Take Back the Skies was written for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) when the author was sixteen. That bit of information is enough to make some people want to stay as far away from it as possible and others it causes them to pick it up immediately. As for me, I hadn't found out till I was about halfway through the book, but I personally had no trouble judging this without needing to involve her age in it.

The book has an intriguing world, a mixture of Disney's Treasure Planet and fantasy. It's got a pretty unique base. I can see bits of adventure, bits of contemporary, bits of fantasy, bits of historical and bits of science fiction. However, when it all comes to down to it, for me this book screams ADVENTURE.

And I have to say that's what Saxon did best in the book, the adventure. Even when things didn't make sense, or seemed rushed, or not exactly realistic (which did happen a few times) I found myself unable to get annoyed, because I was dragged right along the adventure of the story. I found myself rooting for them, holding me breath and wishing everything ended up okay.

The characters were a bit of a mixed bag. I didn't dislike any of them, and none felt terribly written or anything like that, but only some of them did I truly connect with, like they were missing something. It's hard to explain. At times it feels like this book is somewhere between professional and amateur. There are some parts to the writing that are absolutely brilliant, and other parts that feel unnatural or forced. The ending especially felt that way.

I guess if I judged it on the level of the author being young and thus lowering the bar then it's absoultely amazing. As it stands, I'd be very surprised if Saxon doesn't continue to improve. She is hands down an author to watch and I will certainly be picking up her future writing. There is just something about it that ensnared me.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an Adventure story in the YA voice. There are definitely Treasure Island vibes during parts of the first half of the book. And, while this book might not be for everyone, I did enjoy the read quite a lot.



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