Thursday, 24 September 2015

'Take Back The Skies' Review

'Take Back The Skies' by Lucy Saxon
Review by Laura Ashforth


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 . . .

For a debut author, Lucy Saxon's first book is pretty good. She certainly has a lot of potential which I’m sure will improve as she writes more.

The plot of TBTS is fairly good, it has a dystopian, ‘overthrow a terrible government’ feel to it but different and in a completely new world. However, at the start of the book, Cat’s objective is to escape her life, but we don’t get enough detail on it to know exactly what she’s escaping from; she dislikes her father, but doesn’t every teenager at some point? And her mother is ill; doesn’t she mind abandoning her? I felt it needed more on her father's cruel behaviour so that she felt forced to leave rather than seeming like a stroppy runaway.

After Cat leaves, there is too big a gap in the plot where nothing really happens. She just lives happily on the Stormdancer with nothing building in the background and you wonder what the rest of the story is going to be about. It leaves you bored just waiting for the plot to pick up.

Once things do pick up, sometimes you’re left thinking, really? The main characters have snuck in to a secret government building and to avoid being caught hide in a cupboard, where they begin talking. Surely, they couldn’t be at all surprised when they’re shortly after discovered and hauled out?

The characters, I think, could’ve been better developed with more stand-out, individual characteristics compared to the stereotypical enigmatic male with a dark past he doesn’t wish to speak of. He didn’t seem different to past heroes. The heroine was a typical, stubborn girl who wants to escape her life and ends up falling in love with the first boy she encounters. 

The language was unnatural and forced almost. The dialogue just didn’t flow but seemed disjointed; it needed to be more conversational.

The world building was good; Lucy has built an odd and new world with opportunity for later books set in it. It was easy to slip into the world and imagine it and want to be aboard the Stormdancer. 

The end of the book I feel isn’t satisfying; you’re left hanging and angry. After finishing, I liked that the end was different and sort of angered me because it made it stand out but I felt saddened by it in an already quite dark book. It didn’t change and end lightly, which was surprising. 
Rating: 3/5 Stars  ★ ★ ★ 

Laura is a blogger who started reviewing for the Guardian’s Children website before starting her own blog and joining the YAfictionados. She loves to read everything and anything though fantasy is her favourite (probably, she thinks, because of her childhood love of The Lord of the Rings). Her favourite books include the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.

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Laura Ashforth

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