Thursday, 5 June 2014

Review: Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

Author: Lucy Saxon Website|Twitter
Published: 5 June 2014 (Bloomsbury)
Format: Kindle e-book (ARC)
Pages: 496
Buy the book: Amazon|Hive|Waterstones
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Received a free copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Bloomsbury!

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Hugely energetic and entertaining fantasy adventure from an amazing 18-year-old author. The first in major sequence of novels.

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 . . .

My Review:
I'd seen a few friends talking about this book so I decided to request a review copy because it looked very much like my kind of thing. Take Back the Skies follows Catherine as she escapes her controlling father and finds refuge with the crew of a skyship.

The beginning of the book took a little while to get in to. I was weary of the amount of description which was slowing the pace down a bit. I wanted to be straight into the action! It picked up pretty quickly, though, and soon I was hooked.

The story follows the main character Catherine, who soon becomes known as Cat after running away and disguising herself as a boy. I quickly sympathised with her as she's escaping a rich, powerful father who doesn't seem to care about his daughter's happiness or desires, and her mother is sick and helpless. I really liked that she still had a bit of innocence and naivete about her as well. She's come from this rich background, so when she's thrown into a life of little she has to adjust, but she never comes across as spoilt or horrible. She's instantly likable, but she still goes through a lot and learns from her experiences.

The rest of the characters were utterly charming as well, especially the mysterious Fox. Cat is drawn to him pretty much from the moment she meets him so there's some romantic interest there, but it didn't overpower the story and I loved the way the relationship between them develops slowly as they suss each other out. With Cat disguising herself as a boy, it was great to see her mix amongst some male characters. I also loved Alice, the skyship cook, who provided the motherly figure to Cat as a nice balance to all the boys.

What Take Back the Skies managed to achieve was something pretty special with me. It nailed that sense of adventure perfectly so that soon I swept away with Cat as she travels the skies and meets these wonderful people. I became so wrapped up in the story that it was the perfect bit of escapism I needed. I loved seeing the challenges Cat had to face and the new experiences she goes through, both physically and emotionally. My favourite scenes were definitely those on the skyship.

I think this book will appeal to a wide range of people. For anyone who loves adventure it's a must, and the sci-fi elements of the story are fantastic. There's also a great political side to the story for those who love a bit of uprising against the government. The book is the first in a planned series, and I'm pleased to hear there'll be more. This book has an epilogue which sort of rounds up the story, but there's definitely potential to explore the world more. There were parts that were only touched upon that I was left wanting to know more about.

Overall I was really impressed with Take Back the Skies and will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: This is the 1st in a planned series
Books like this: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Echo Boy by Matt Haig

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