This is a book aimed at a YA audience and is an excellent read for adults of a younger mindset too.
The story concerns Catherine Hunter, heir to her family’s fortune, who’s due to be married to a nasty brute at her father’s behest. Catherine, naturally, doesn’t want this and is seeking a way out. While she has her mother’s support, her mother is bed ridden and close to death. When she can, Catherine dons a disguise and sneaks out of the house into the government compound and looks round, before returning home. Her father has caught her on a few occasions and beaten her. Then, one day, realising that her marriage date is too close for comfort, she leaves home and sneaks aboard a skyship, disguised as a boy.
This is where we find out more about the world Saxon has created, and she’s given enough detail to allow the reader to understand it, but not so much that she overwhelms you with facts and details. She tells of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Royal family but doesn’t give you intimate details of the conspiracies that surround them. Only allude to them. Then there are the tortured relationships between the nations, which are revealed as the story unfolds. It is, in short, very well written and was a joy to read, far better than I thought it would be.
One sign of worry was when they showed a picture of Saxon in her Captain America costume and described her as the new Christopher Paolini and ‘a highly promotable 19 year old’. Being the cynic that I am, I assumed that they were going to use her looks to promote the book rather than her writing. Sadly they have, which a visit to her website shows. That said, a large number of authors are, and have, used their looks to sell books, so she’s not alone. (Take a look at some male authors and see how their photos radiate charm) Thankfully, her writing is far better than that and I have no doubt she has a long career as a writer ahead of her.
The only downside, to my mind was the epilogue. I’m sure every reader knew it was coming, but it spoiled the ending. Had Saxon left it where it was it would have been better, but that is just the personal opinion of a middle aged man. For others it may have been the perfect ending, for me it was just a little too Disney and perfect. That aside, it is well written, a great read and a book that keeps you wanting to carry on right till the end. I look forward to the next one.