Review Blog

Jun 06 2014

Take back the skies by Lucy Saxon

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408847657.
Tellus is a world where storm belts isolate countries and limits communication between the island states. Catherine Hunter is the privileged daughter of an Anglyan government official and as her 15th birthday approaches she decides to run away before her father marries her off for political advantage. Her mother is bedridden but urges her daughter to make her own decisions even though she risks her father's wrath. Children of poorer families at this age risk being 'collected' by the government to be trained as soldiers to fight a war with neighbouring countries; their families never see them again. Cat, as she now calls herself, cuts her hair and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer disguised as a boy. She is soon discovered but is allowed to join the crew and their rebel cause even when she is found to be a girl. Gradually the government's deceptions are revealed, the war is actually over and the children are being used in diabolical experiments with the full knowledge of Cat's father. At the same time Cat is falling in love with fellow crew member Fox and their romance flourishes throughout the battle to oust the government and save the children.
Written when the author was 16, this is an entertaining first novel; however I found the imagined world a bit thin at times. Middle school readers will enjoy the love story and action and some might like the idea of discovering themselves and creating their own destiny rather than being bound by their upbringing. Students who enjoyed Claire Merle's The glimpse would like this.
Sue Speck

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