Author: Lucy Saxon
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s USA
Publication Date: June 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Fantasy
Series or Stand Alone: Series Book One
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Catherine Hunter is desperate to escape an arranged marriage and get away from her father, a very controlling and possibly evil man. Disguising herself as a boy, she escapes aboard the Stormdancer ship, and through a series of events, she learns more about the world away from her sheltered life than she ever thought possible. A world where lies are told, children are kidnapped and an army is rising.
There’s a lot of great things about this book. The world is a lot of fun, with different feelings for each place that Cat and the crew visit. The characters are all fun with distinct personalities. I like the creativity and the tone, the worlds and the descriptions. There are a few things in there that were pretty cool (like what is really happening to the children) and some heartwarming scenes between the crew (when they find out Cat is actually <gasp> a girl!). I loved all the time on the ship and the interactions with the crew.
Cat is pretty fun, though she is supposed to be very young (thirteen or fourteen I believe) and when she finds out that the government has been lying to the people for so long, she tells the crew that they have to do something about it. And this crew, who are pirate smugglers but mostly good, decide that she’s right. Okay, here’s the point where I’m not totally sure I believe this. This young girl convinces a group of adults to risk their lives to expose a very highly organized and lethal government. And the only thing they have going for them is Cat, who may know some secrets about the place they need to infiltrate and is also disguised as a boy so no one will recognize her. I’m sorry but I don’t really buy this scenario without a greater motivation for all of these crew members to hop on board to certain death.
Now we get to the characters. Cat is strong willed, very sheltered and looking for adventure. She’s rash and ambitious and kind of a pain in the ass. But I liked her fine and didn’t want her to end up, you know, dead. Fox, the love interest, is cute and flabbergasted whenever she’s around. He is also quite young and there’s a lot of instalove going on here. When a love triangle is laid out, I’m sad to say that there’s too much instalove for me to believe any of it.
This is the debut for the author and Saxon wrote it when she was sixteen. The narration does sound young but that’s not a bad thing. It also has so much creative energy and cool ideas, I would happy continue reading the series to see how the author has grown. (Saxon is currently 19 and working on more books in the series) So while this book may not make my favorite of the year, there is so much potential to Saxon and her writing and this series, I’m looking forward to reading many more books by her.
Overall, I think readers will enjoy the world building and the creative steampunk ideas, the little twists and surprises, and the adventure. Saxon is an author to watch! And I’m excited to see where this series will head!
Thank you for stopping by Lucy!
Be sure to check out her video here where she talks about Take Back The Skies.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’m not sure, to be honest! There was no single point in my life where I did/saw something and was like ‘oh wow, I want to be a writer’. I started writing because I was bored, realised I enjoyed it, and gradually started to think it could be a career for me!
What was the last book you read?
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, and I loved it.
Kiss, Marry, Kill: Heathcliff, Mr. Rochester, Mr. Darcy. Why?
Marry Darcy, because he’s not so bad under all the grumpy (also if he looks like Daniel V Gordh from Lizzie Bennet Diaries then YES).
Kiss Heathcliff, because *gasp* I haven’t actually read Wuthering Heights. I’m sorry.
Kill Mr Rochester because I have read Jane Eyre and let’s be honest I do not want to end up locked in an attic. He’s kind of a creeper.
There are so many fun things happening in your book- Pirates, danger and disguises, breaking into places and artificial intelligence. When you were writing the book, what one thing really stood out to you that you knew you had to include in the story? (I particularly like Sam, the mecha.)
Skyships. Skyships were really the main starting point for the idea, and I knew that whatever I wrote they would play a pretty large part in the book. Plus, skyships are awesome.
What sparked the idea for Take Back The Skies and the subsequent series?
The idea for Skies itself was a half-dream involving a girl in steampunk clothing stood on a skyship (hence wanting to include the skyships) and then as I started thinking that out, I started worldbuilding as at the time I wasn’t certain just how much of the world she would visit. When it came to pass that a lot of the world wasn’t really explored in Skies, I got a few ideas for things that might happen in the other countries, and it all escalated from there.
In this series, each novel will be set in a different land within the Tellus world. What worlds will be explored?
All of them! Book one is, obviously, Anglya. Then book two hops over to Siberene, three in Erova, and four, five and six are Mericus, Kasem and Dalivia respectively. And maaaybe a few surprises in there too!
Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you draw inspiration from?
Of course, JK Rowling is a huge favourite of mine. My list of favourite writers is huge; when I find someone I like, I tend to read everything they’ve written. Rick Riordan is one of those, also Maria V Snyder, John Green, Cassandra Clare, Sarah J Maas, I could go on for hours!
Who is your favorite character and why?
Of my own, or in general? Out of the characters in Skies, my favourite is probably Ben. I love all of them, Cat and Fox especially, but I’ve had a huge soft spot for Ben the entire writing process. I don’t really know why, to be honest, I just love him a lot.
I don’t want to give anything away but that ending is very powerful and open ended. Will more books follow Cat on her new adventures or will other characters take center stage?
Cat’s story is fairly cut and dry at this point; without giving anything away, it’s pretty clear from the epilogue where her life is headed. So while she will be mentioned in a couple of books, there will be a whole bunch of other characters with stories to tell for the rest of the series. But I eagerly await the fanfiction from those not satisfied with the epilogue!
How do you like your potato?
Depends what I’m eating it with! But to be honest, I’ll eat potato in most forms.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Reading, Youtube, video games, and a lot of sewing. Cosplay takes up like 80% of my non-writing free time, it’s kind of an addiction.
Lucy thanks for stopping by! You are a great talent and I’m very excited to read the next book in the series!