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All Our Shimmering Skies

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,077 ratings  ·  164 reviews
The bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton returns with All Our Shimmering Skies - a glorious novel destined to become another Australian classic. Darwin, 1942, and as Japanese bombs rain down, motherless Molly Hook, the gravedigger's daughter, turns once again to the sky for guidance. She carries a stone heart inside a duffel bag next to the map that le ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 28th 2020 by HarperCollins - AU
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Trent Dalton has written another book full of wonderful characters, all encased by a gorgeous cover bursting with colour. His writing is unrestrained and glorious, full of imagination, magic and wonder at the beauty of the world. In his main character, twelve year old Molly Hook, a motherless daughter of a gravedigger, he brings us another memorable character. A girl who loves poetry, talks to the sky and is full of grittiness and determination with a quest to right the wrong imposed on her fami ...more
I am going to admit straight out that I skimmed some of this book. Although it was beautiful and mystical and full of gorgeous descriptions it was also overwhelming - like too much frosting on a cake.

Nevertheless I loved the scenes of the Japanese attack on Darwin- so vivid and meaningful to view it at street level and learn how it affected individuals. There were also some great characters, my favourite being the Japanese pilot. He made the book for me, especially his awe at the Australian flor
John Banks
Oct 02, 2020 rated it liked it

Trent Dalton's All our Shimmering Skies is a solid followup to his incredibly popular (especially here in Australia) and much loved debut Boy Swallows Universe. For me though it just isn't quite as good.

There's too much repetition. The book needs a good edit and could be reduced by 100 pages or so. Some key characters are overblown caricatures that don't quite work.

For all that this is a big hearted and compelling story about a young girl, Molly Hook (from a family of gravediggers and gold pros
Ally Van Schilt
Oh no, I feel I might have an unpopular opinion on this one - I just couldn’t get into it. Felt flowery and overdone, and just lacking that certain something that made Boy Swallows Universe so special. The magical elements were still there and there were certain, incredibly moving scenes but overall it just failed to enthral me and I found that, at times, I had to force myself to continue reading. So disappointing!
2.5 (rounded down, because The Boy Swallows the Universe was far superior to this and, still, only garnered 3.5 stars from me).

I pushed through and forced myself to finish this - admittedly, I skimmed here and there.
I was hoping Dalton's second novel will be more to my liking, as I wasn't as charmed by his debut, although I appreciated some parts of it.
I'm sorry to say that this novel did nothing for me. I thought it was half-baked and I could see the writer's hand in everything.
Before page 10
Pauline [paulineisreading]
After LOVING Boy Swallows Universe, this book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and I know I’m not alone in that. I’m happy to report did not disappoint!

At the heart of the story, we have Molly Hook, a 12 year old girl who’s a bit of an oddball - she talks to the sky, digs graves for all her childhood and has a shovel as a best friend. As she runs away from bomb-ravaged Darwin into deep-country Northern Territory in 1942, she comes across Greta, a sassy actress from her h
Sharon Metcalf
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2020, owned
Molly Hook was a character for readers to love, to pour our sympathies upon and to cheer on.    When she was only seven her mother passed on some words of wisdom  before  saying goodbye and leaving this earthly world forever.   She implored Molly to live a grand and beautiful life.  To be poetic and to be graceful.    To be strong.   To know she is blessed regardless of what anyone else may say.    To know, and always remember, this place is hard but her heart is as hard as a rock, so hard it ca ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's only people, Molly. There are good ones and there are bad ones and then there's all of us nuts stuck in the middle.

This is so very different to Boy Swallows Universe, and yet similar at the same time. It's a completely new story in a new time and new place, but that Dalton voice is just as strong and descriptive and captive. It's kinda like an outback Wizard of Oz but with slightly less magic (or more depending on your point of view). Trent walks the tightrope between brutal and beautifu
Cass Moriarty
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those of you who are parents of more than one will know that feeling when your second child is about to arrive and you cannot imagine you will love them any more than you love your first. For Trent Dalton fans, it will be difficult to envisage feeling as much for anyone other than Eli Bell from his debut novel Boy Swallows Universe, but be prepared to watch your love expand, because Molly Hook has arrived. Dalton’s new book All Our Shimmering Skies (4th Estate Harper Collins 2020) gifts us anoth ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Trent Dalton's Boy Swallows Universe was one of my favourite books of 2018. Possibly my favourite book. I've long been a fan of Dalton's writing and though I avoid non-fiction, am generally riveted by his pieces in weekend newspapers. Articles or non-fiction essays about seemingly ordinary people and places, made extraordinary through his telling.

Dalton's second novel, All Our Shimmering Skies is quite different to his first. It's far more fantastic and mystical. It's deeper and requires more in
Anna Loder
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an epic quest. So different from what I was expecting. So much more than what I was expecting. Beautiful girls doing unbelievable things. It is such evocative language “knobs turning, doors opening, cupboards slamming shut...”. Such beautiful messages “I think we’re supposed to to find ourselves things to etch”; a world where gold rots and people are neither good nor bad. I loved it, it’s not boy swallows it’s all our shimmering skies
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Honestly could not get on board with this book. Loved BSU but this one just did not hit any of the marks for me. A little dull and meandering. Had to force myself through every page.
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is a fairytale, an odyssey, an adventure.

During WWII in Darwin, through the mysterious and mythical Australian top end comes the thrilling and magical tale of Molly Hook - a tough and precocious preteen - who goes on a journey (with the help of a few friends and Sky gifts) to beg an ancient Indigenous sorcerer to lift a curse that has turned her heart to stone.

A story that will enchant and delight even the most jaded reader. Have an adventure and discover pure gold.
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
This one fell short of my incredibly high expectations (I loved Boy Swallows Universe, and this book has been hyped alot!), yet Dalton's characterization and whimsical prose style continues to enchant me as a reader. I love the energy and fairytale aspect to Dalton's narrative style, and will continue to read future works by him.

We follow 12yr old Molly Hook, a motherless daughter of a gravedigger, and she is on an adventure to get to the bottom of a family curse in 1942 as Darwin is being bombe
It took a little while for me to get into this one and I found the first half or so pretty slow. But it grew on me and I felt rather attached to the characters by the end. It had a lot of the same elements that made Boy Swallows Universe so special (completely different plot of course, but the same feelings of hope and positivity despite seemingly awful circumstances, and plucky, resilient characters) but it was just missing a bit BSU’s magic I think.
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Trent Dalton became Australian writing royalty after one book! I did not read that book (Boy Swallows Universe) but understood there would be immense pressure to maintain a certain level of success second time round. I have just closed the final page on his new release, All Our Shimmering Skies and have to say, I think he has done it. With nothing to compare it to, I am critiquing what is before me and quite frankly, it is immense .... it is another breathtaking odyssey.

‘You ever wonder why thi
Ivana Dawe
Boy swallows universe is a hard act to follow !
Bad Goo
Im the only bookseller from here to Darwin who has not read Boy Swallows Universe so I don’t know if his prose is always like this (I can’t decide if Mr Dalton is an amazing writer who had a little too much LSD when he wrote this or a mediocre writer who is trying too hard to find flowery or poetic descriptions for everything failing to understand the power of brevity) any way I assume BSU is better than this because it wasn’t great and could have been 200 pages shorter and don’t get me starter ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You’ve done it again Trent Dalton 💕💕 - I just closed this breathtaking book, sat back in my reclining camp chair on my deck with it’s view of the Nightcap Mountain Range to just soak up the absolute beauty of your lingering words and a Birdwing Butterfly graced me with it’s fleeting presence in our world. A true treasure indeed, as is every word you write. Thank you - I can’t wait for it’s publication date to share my customer’s delight.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ALAS. I felt such shame for not revelling in this novel. What did I get wrong? I mean, of course it has to be ME, not HIM - rockstar author Trent Dalton, who swept us off our feet with Boy Swallows Universe. I mean, just look at the rave reviews on that exquisite cover..!?

Was it the impossible height of my expectations after BSU? That despite the vivid and spectacular setting, this story takes place somewhere less familiar than our beloved Brisbane? Was it the autobiographical element, which ma
Ellen McMahon
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No weights of gold to measure
Only scales of truth and lies
For we are living treasure
Under all our shimmering skies

Sadly I think this book is going to be heavily compared to Boy Swallows Universe, especially as it shares a lot of the same themes. And like BSU, there is a LOT going on in this one. The narrative takes many strange and twisted turns, culminating in a fitting (albeit tear-jerking) end.

And, although it's not as perfect as his debut (will anything ever be?), I will never tire of Dal
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fear not! If you thought nothing could top Dalton's first masterpiece 'Boy Swallows Universe', rest easy. 'All Our Shimmering Skies', dare I say it, exceeds his first foray into fiction.

This is a novel about love; the love of daughters, mothers, friends, lovers, land, country, Darwin, magic, faith, hope and self. Hope leaps from every page even as the brutality of the harsh reality of the broken and bruised threatens to engulf our senses.

It was wonderfully refreshing to read a novel with such
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I spent most of my time while reading this book reminding myself not to compare it to Boy Swallows Universe. After loving Dalton’s debut as much as I did, I was a little trepidatious about this one, and I’m not sure I would have picked it up if it wasn’t Trent Dalton who wrote it. The scope and subject matter of this new novel is entirely different; where BSU was gritty and real, All Our Shimmering Skies was whimsical and allegorical. Dalton’s writing is as beautiful as ever here a ...more
Hamish Grable
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#allourshimmeringskies @trentdaltonauthor

“Dig, Molly, Dig. Dig for your courage. Did for your strength. Dig for your truth”
Molly Hook, the gravedigger girl, heart full of wonder, ‘eyes on the sky’, is introduced to the reader bonded to her mother through the wisdom of ‘sky gifts’, which provide courage, strength and truth
Having been left to dig graves for a family owned business with her abusive father and uncle, Molly, with her history of walkabout, finds herself voyaging with the suppor
Rachael McDiarmid
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I must say I enjoyed this more than Boy Swallows Universe, which I thought was overrated (sorry but that’s what I thought). This one was a journey, an adventure, literature and poetry. A bit of suspense and a bit of mystery, wrapped up in a quest as such. And we know how much I like one of those....
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved BSU when it came out, and so initially was expecting a similar style of book. When I started this one, it did take me a little while to relax into it but when I did, I couldn’t stop reading. The vivid descriptions are beautiful and it has an amazing sense of place. The characters initially seemed, well, bizarre to me but as I read, I saw this book as a modern Greek myth with weird and wonderful places and characters during Molly Hook’s odyssey across the Northern Territory. It was very c ...more
Susan Austin
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a brilliant novel. Dalton is a master storyteller. He proved it with Boy Swallows Universe and he’s proven it again. Both books were so violent and grim that at times I questioned why I was reading them. But it is worth the perseverance. This would make a fantastic film, although Molly’s internal dialogue is an important part of the story.
Bek MT
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Words that sing once again. Beautiful.
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this so much. Boy swallows universe was magical to me but this... just feels like is lacking something. The missing X factor. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I didn’t care about the grave digger girl, I didn’t care about the show girl, I couldn’t summon much care for any of them. The lyrical writing that flowed and danced on the pages of BSW feels contrived and forced here. I suspect everyone will say they loved it because it’s TRENT DALTON (no judgement- I wanted to mysel ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: combine entries for Dalton book 3 9 Sep 21, 2020 01:19AM  

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Trent Dalton writes for the award-winning The Weekend Australian Magazine. A former assistant editor of The Courier-Mail, he has won a Walkley, been a four-time winner of the national News Awards Feature Journalist of the Year Award, and was named Queensland Journalist of the Year at the 2011 Clarion Awards for excellence in Queensland media. His writing includes several short and feature-length f ...more

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