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A thrilling debut novel from an author whose career promises to go full-steam ahead. Lucy Saxon’s Take Back The Skies offers a solid world of political intrigue, twists, turns and dash of young love.
Catherine Hunter, a character with touches of Pullman’s Lyra, escapes from the restrictive life prescribed by her controlling father. Running out on an arranged marriage and a life of relative privilege, Cat disguises herself as a boy. Her aim is to leave the island of Anglya before she can fall foul of the child-snatching Collections, but cutting all ties is never that easy. Hiding out on a sky ship to leave the close-knit political community, Cat soon discovers that the history she has been taught relies very little on actual fact. With the disappearance of so many children weighing on her conscience, can the government’s daughter discover the truth and return her country to its rightful place in the skies.
Saxon’s world of mecha-men and monstrous humans is rich in imagery and imagination; a perfect entry novel for YA readers wanting to dip their feet into the established world of Steampunk fantasy. Whether it’s the crowded terraced slums hidden behind the once-proud government architecture, or the breathtaking views from atop the desk of a skyship, this is a world you don’t read but live. Saxon has plenty of room for growth within this series, with plans for books focussing on each of the continents on Tallus. Each storm-swallowed island promises to be a fresh new world of adventure. If each main character has the youthful energy of Cat, full of the self-aware intelligence and curiosity of the internet-age whilst stranded in the land of steam-power, constraint and corruption the series is certain to be popular.
Like many authors offering their first novel to the world at the moment, Saxon wrote Take Back The Skies as part of National Novel Writing Month. The book’s journey to publication over the last three years prove that, just like Cat, 16-years-olds have the power to take control of their dreams and stake a claim over their imaginations.
Take Back The Skies is published on Thursday, 5th June, by Bloomsbury.