Rebecca's Reviews > Fly by Night

Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
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's review
Jan 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: adventure, children, fantasy, young-adult
Read in January, 2012

Mosca Mye lives in the Fractured Realm, which has no king or queen. Various guilds hold the cities together in uneasy alliance, and past religious tension may not be quite as past as people think. Mosca just wants to escape her depressing village and the resentful family members who were forced to take her in when her father died. She and her irascible pet goose Saracen find their escape with a traveling ne'er do well and wordsmith, Eponymous Clent, who does his best to get rid of them at every opportunity. They finally arrive at the city of Mandelion, where tension is rife between the Locksmith Guild, the Stationers Guild, the mad Duke who rules the city, and his sister, who thinks she would do a better job. Soon Mosca is in it all about as deep as she can be, with no idea who to trust.

This is more akin to alternate-world historical fiction than fantasy, since there is no magic, and the author says it is somewhat based on early 18th century England. I thought it was well written, but I didn't love it because political scuffles with death involved are just not to my literary taste, and not many of the characters are particularly likeable, including Mosca. I did like that the reader, like Mosca, never knows whom to trust and that the author didn't ever get didactic about Mosca's choices--she let Mosca and the reader come to their own conclusions, and often there are several right answers or possibilities. I also liked Mosca's choice at the end.

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