Series: Take Back the Skies #1
on 5th June 2014
Click here to buy the book from Amazon •Booktopia • Book Depository • Angus and Robertson
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 . . .
Catherine Hunter has lived her life in luxury. Fine clothes, exotic cuisine and the best of what life has to offer. But when her father promises her hand in marriage to the son of a business colleague, the fifteen-year-old decides it is time to take matters into her own hands. No more being the trophy daughter of her government official father – Catherine would rather be homeless and free rather than the privileged daughter living in gilded cage.
And so Catherine Hunter becomes Cat, a homeless boy who stows away aboard a starship in attempt to flee Anglya and leave all means behind. But life as Cat brings its own set of complications. Pretending to be a boy is more difficult than Cat envisioned and the hold of those who run Anglya reach far beyond the borders.
This book has a lot of promise. The idea of a privileged girl being the one to lead a rebellion using inside knowledge is different from most of the dystopian novels I’ve read of late. And I liked the idea of the storms which fill the skies and the world in which this novel was set. However this book just fell a little short for me.
Cat was a hard character for me to like. I didn’t feel any sort of connection to her and despite all she goes though – it all felt a little easy. From the moment she ditches her father to being a homeless boy and then becoming a full-fledged member of the Stormdancer crew it only took around ten pages. There needed to be more struggle. More moments where there was some uncertainty as to whether she would be able to overcome whatever was holding her down at the time. But throughout the novel, every thing comes so easily and there is no obstacle which isn’t overcome within the space of a few pages. Cat is also rather judgemental yet defensive. She is fairly demanding with an air of entitlement. Even when she is begging for forgiveness, she orders others around in the same breath. It just made her unlikable. Even when trying to understand the difficulties she must be going through she made it so hard to be on her side.
As for the romance? I wanted to like Cat and Fox as a couple. How adorable as their names together?! But despite knowing that these two were going to be each other’s main romantic interest, I felt zero chemistry between them. Ben and Matt had more tension between them than Cat and Fox. I’m not saying romance needed to be the focus but I wanted something more than Cat’s frequent blushing and constant arguing to show some kind of relationship between the two.
I wanted more from Take Back the Skies. More about the different world in which the characters live. More struggles for the characters and suspense over what will happen to them. More romance between the leads. I loved the idea of the storms defending borders but thought that idea could have been explored more. The characters were a little simplistic and shallow but had potential to be more interesting. I felt this book told me more than it showed me and by that I mean instead of getting to choose how I felt about things and people, I was told in black and white. I wanted to be able to form my own opinions from memories and actions rather than being explicitly told. For me this is a book which conceptually has it yet fell below my expectations with regards to execution.
The ending threw a bit of a curve ball and whilst I’m curious as to where this series is going to go next, I don’t think I’ll be continuing. This isn’t a bad book it just didn’t deliver the story I was hoping it would. As a young author, Lucy Saxon has a lot of promise and is one I’ll be on the look out for in the future.
Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for the review copy