Written by 19 year old Lucy Saxon, Take Back the Skies is one of the most entrancing fantasy worlds I've read since Shadow and Bone. Between the sky ships, the storm bands, and the mechas, I don't think there could be a more interesting setting. You know a book has won you over when you wish you could live in that world just to see all of its wonders. A little bit steampunk, a lot a bit fantasy, I couldn't get enough.
Even though Cat is only fourteen at the start of Take Back the Skies, the beginning of the book is written in a way that feels mature, despite the young character. Cat still feels fourteen, though, which is what really dragged me in. She's innocent, but intelligent, and likable. The same goes for Fox, the love interest. He's impossible not to like, even though he can be a little moody from time to time. Mostly he's just a grouchy sixteen year old boy with a sad story and not a whole lot of friends his age. I loved how you could see his excitement when Cat came along, not because he was interested in her romantically, but because he had a new friend to share things with. Basically, he was completely adorable.
There were a few things about Take Back the Skies that took away from my overall enjoyment of the story so I have to mention them. The story started off fast paced, getting right into the plot and the action, but around midway the pacing dropped off and never really steadied itself. I think most of this had to do with one of the big mystery reveals coming far too early in the story, not to mention the drawn out way of getting to said reveal. And once I figured out the mystery, there was still about 30% left in the book. It felt like most of the additional storyline could have done well as the plot leading into a sequel, and it would have saved the story from dragging on for so long.
Then there were the characters. Now, I've said I did like these characters, especially at the start of the book, but they do start to act pretty silly around midway through. The romance goes from adorable to "I'll never love anyone the way I love you!" in like two chapters. And once James' character is added there's this whole childish "I knew her first!" jealousy plot that pops up at literally the worst times. I get that they're fifteen, but even fifteen year olds have common sense. And then there was the ending. I'd like to give Saxon a standing ovation for having the guts to do what she did in the end, but I'm not pleased with the way the story wrapped up for Cat. Or, actually, I'm not happy with the way Cat let her story be wrapped up. I respected that fire and independence in her, but she just let it all go in the end.
The only other complaint I had was when the big baddie reveals came, it was a little cliche. Bad Guy reveals all of his plans before even attempting to actually kill the people threatening his evil plans. And also, Cat just, like, goes ahead and puts everything on the table right away. I've never been in a situation like that, but I'd imagine it's best to play your cards close to the vest when you're dealing with madmen. It all just seemed to happen too easily, everything coming together a little too smoothly and safely. Then there's another baddie reveal later on, but that one felt even more cliche to me. Again, it was wrapped up so easily and the only real danger in the whole scene could have also been handled easily if the characters had bothered to pay attention for half a second.
But, all together, the story was intriguing and the characters were lovable enough that I wanted to know more about them. Plus the setting was amazing and I want more stories set there! I don't know if there will be new characters or if Saxon will revisit Cat and the gang in any future novels, but either way I'm in! If you're a fan of fantasy you'll want to give Take Back the Skies a try to see what you think. I know I'll be waiting anxiously for Saxon's next novel, set in this world or not. She's definitely a young author to keep your eyes on!show more
by Pretty In Fiction