Sky village by Monk and Nigel Ashland

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Kamira Book 1. Candlewick Press, 2008. ISBN 9780763635244 hbk
(Ages 10+) In China, 12 year old Mei Long's mother has been kidnapped by meks, strange intelligent machines. In desperation her father has sent her to live in the Sky Village, a wonderful linked group of hot air balloons, while he tries to track his wife. Meanwhile in the ruins of Las Vegas, Rom struggles to find his sister who has been taken by beast meks. The pair discovers that they share the Tree book, which allows them to reach out to each other and tells them that they carry the Kaimira gene, a mixture of beast, mek and human DNA.
This is an innovative first book in the Kaimira series where people, animals and intelligent machines are at war. Mei Long and Rom are both appealing characters and the reader will identify with Mei Long's curiosity and sense of adventure and empathesize with the difficult decisions that Rom has to make about his family.
The themes of genetic engineering and nature vs technology also are absorbing and carry the plot along as the two young people have to take on responsibility and discover how to use their amazing powers to rescue their family members.
Teacher's notes are available and a website has been devoted to the series.