Rebel skies by Ann Sei Lin

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Living as a servant in the immobile sky castle, Midori, Kurara keeps to herself and only her best friend, Haru, knows that she can manipulate paper to become animals, stars, basically anything. They live a quiet life serving throughout Midori, then a Crafter finds her – Crafters are those that control paper, and Kurara is one of them. Escaping the Midori, she joins an airship whose main purpose is chasing and destroying rouge Shikigami, giant monsters made out of paper. Learning how to become a proper Crafter, Kurara travels with the crew across Mikoshima and faces a whole new world full of adventure and intrigue.

Told from multiple perspectives throughout the story, Rebel Skies is about young Kurara learning more about the world and more about herself. Set in a world full of skyships, flying cities and paper spirits, this book feels like a Japanese anime with action, adventure, humour and cultural aspects including clothing, character names and weaponry. At the start of the book, there is a map showing land cities and sky cities, as well as a few illustrations to assist readers in understanding the world that the author has built. This fantasy novel is the first in a new series of the same name, and readers will find the book is evenly paced with a nice steady flow of story. With a wide variety of characters, those reading the book will find some characters relatable and others annoying, which gives a nice depth to the story. Fans of Studio Ghibli anime will enjoy the book, as would fans of manga.

Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Japan, Dystopian, Action, Humour, Relationships.

Melanie Pages