I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Bloomsbury, and was intrigued by the concept. So I decided to give it a go. I'm really glad tha...moreI was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Bloomsbury, and was intrigued by the concept. So I decided to give it a go. I'm really glad that I did.
Catherine Hunter lives in Anglya. She's the daughter of a government official so she's living a privileged life while the common people suffer hard lives. This also means she's never considered for Collections, which other kids thirteen and over are forced to face. Except, her life isn't as peachy as most think. She might have pretty, clean clothes, food to eat and a lavish home but her father is a strict, mean and violent man. He barely tolerates her, and is anticipating marrying her off to the son of a fellow government man.
Her mother has been sick for years, bedridden and always sleeping. So the only real companionship she has is with the family servant and mecha, Sam. She maintains him and has conversations with him, but doesn't have much interaction with anyone else. That's why she spends most of her days sneaking out of the house and looking for adventure in the streets of Anglya.
The day her father is going to make her arranged marriage official, she decides to run away. She chops her hair off, takes a few belongings and stows away on a skyship called the Stormdancer. When she gets discovered, she pretends she's a boy and the crew actually welcome her onboard. As long as she's willing to help out, there's a place for her with the small crew. As the days go by, she starts to really like and even care about the crew members--especially the handsome scoundrel, Fox. But what will happen when they find out she's really a girl?
On her travels with this smuggling crew, she visits another country. One that is supposed to be at war, and that's when she figures out that the propaganda being broadcast back home is all a lie. The government is manipulating the news and by telling the people there are ongoing wars in other parts of the world, they keep the common people poor and take their children for Collection to serve in this fabricated war. But if there isn't a real war and they're still taking kids, what are they really doing with these children?
That's when Cat's adventure leads back to Anglya. In a desperate attempt to find out exactly what the government is hiding, they sneak into the building and discover not only the horrifying truth about the kids, but that her father has a deeper role in all of this than she could have ever imagined...
I got into this book right away. Cat might have been born into privilege and wealth, but her struggle is one anyone can relate to. She just wants to belong, to help people and feel like she's a part of something bigger, something that really matters. And when she meets the crew of the Stormdancer, it's almost like everything she's ever wanted to achieve clicks into place. Not only does she find a new family, adventure and danger, but also discovers love.
A bunch of strangers willing to give her an opportunity to prove her worth teach her more about life, love and truth than her father ever did.
It's just a shame that in the end, she's forced to once again face the one thing she was trying to escape. I'm not going to say any more than that, but I will say that Lucy Saxon does something in the conclusion of this book that is very brave, because some authors would have shied away from the heartbreaking events. But it's written very well, and winds up affecting the reader as deeply as the characters.
Take Back the Skies was a fun and wild adventure into a fantasy world that becomes more vivid with every new word. It's a fast-paced story filled with tension and danger, one that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could because I wanted to see what was going to happen next. The cast of characters is great and the worldbuilding strong. Cat is such a likeable character that I felt her heartache when her adventure comes to an end and she comes full circle.
This is an interesting, well written retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story, with futuristic and steampunk elements. I liked Jolie &...moreThis is an interesting, well written retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story, with futuristic and steampunk elements. I liked Jolie & Hauk, especially Hauk.
While I enjoyed many of the elements, I had some issues with the overall story. Still worth a read, though.(less)
This is a freebie I picked up for my Kindle, and I really enjoyed it!
Mina and James Stark live in Drummond and run an inquiry agency. The city is fill...moreThis is a freebie I picked up for my Kindle, and I really enjoyed it!
Mina and James Stark live in Drummond and run an inquiry agency. The city is filled with dark creatures, and James loves to investigate strange occurrences. So when a wooden puppet knocks on their door and needs their help, the couple set out into the dead of night to help him.
I found this story really charming. It hooked me in, was very interesting, featured a lot of dark creatures, a stange mystery involving dark magic, and an unexpected twist at the end.
Yeah, I really liked this one. And would love to read more stories featuring this married couple.
My only problem was with the actual formatting of the eBook. I'm not sure why it was all in bold, except in some places where it wasn't. Strange, but not enough to take away from the story. :)(less)
This is a book that I'd been meaning to get to sooner, but things just kept getting in the way. I picked it up last week and was hooked right away.
Whe...moreThis is a book that I'd been meaning to get to sooner, but things just kept getting in the way. I picked it up last week and was hooked right away.
When Tish accidentally steals a ruby locket from an estate sale, her life gets turned upside down. All of a sudden, she's in a strange land called Sang, where vampire-like people called the Blud live in a steampunkish world full of wonder, and she can see people's futures by touching them. It's also where she meets the very mysterious and alluring Criminy. Without intending to, she gets involved in this wonderful and wicked world where not only is her life at stake, but so is her heart.
I absolutely LOVED this book! Everything about it was fantastical and amazing--the concept, the mishmash of genres that was very well done, the colourful characters, and the writing. I love the dark and dreary world of Sang. Oh, and I enjoyed going on this adventure with Tish, as she starts to not only trust herself, but also others. Criminy comes across a bit strong at the beginning, but we soon get to find out why.
Yeah, this was one awesome book! I can't wait to read Casper's story, because I was totally intrigued by him.(less)
I wanted to read this prequel novella before The Girl in the Steel Corset--which I already have on my bookshelf--and I'm really glad I did!
Finley Jayn...moreI wanted to read this prequel novella before The Girl in the Steel Corset--which I already have on my bookshelf--and I'm really glad I did!
Finley Jayne isn't like other girls. She seems to have another side, and is very strong. She also likes to think for herself and doesn't take any crap from anyone. That's probably why she keeps getting fired. Still, she's got a supportive mother and stepfather.
The day Lady Morton approaches her to become her daughter's companion, Finley can't believe her luck. The job pays well, she has a lovely room, plus Lady Morton and Phoebe are great. Her friendship with Phoebe grows very quickly, which makes it that much harder when Finley finds out that the man her friend is engaged to isn't quite what he seems.
Soon, Finley finds herself in the role of bodyguard as she tries to get to the bottom of what this inventor of automatons really wants with young Phoebe...
I actually read this novella in one sitting and had a blast with it! Seriously, it's awesome. I loved the main character, and the steampunk world she lives in is fascinating. I can't wait to read more.(less)