Book Tour – The Secret King Lethao

Title: The Secret King: Lethao26220955
Author: Dawn Chaoman
Pages: 392
Published by: TSK Productions, LTD
Publication Date: September 30, 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with who to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.

Buy it from: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk


Exclusive Excerpt!

From Chapter One: 

Blue banners waved the royal colour, filling Kendro with more hope than he’d ever imagined possible under the circumstances. Smiles adorned his subjects’ faces. A cheer rang out. Pointing their cameras and microphones towards him, with a nod the news troop gave him the go ahead.

Taking a deep breath, Kendro spoke loud and clear into the microphone. “I acknowledge every citizen, not just those assigned to a House. Our evacuation is steady. Each of you will be assigned a ship number. The evacuation procedure will be as follows.” He peered from the sheet he carried to his people. Many more shoulders here were covered. Only the Military and Government caste wore an arm or leg bare to show house birthmarks. “It does not correspond with any House or any class. You will board the ship you are assigned. I implore you to stay calm.” At that, the hum began. “These orders take effect immediately.”

As Kendro completed his closing statement, Madrall, leader of House Flikait, caught his eye.

Madrall bowed his very dark head once, his striking birthmark flickered his colour of yellow against his much darker Flikait skin, and at this point, a deep gesture of loyalty. Kendro watched as several hands shot into the air. He appealed to them, “This is a testing time for all of us. We must survive until we find a new home.” Deception kept at bay—they need not know we have not a plan.

From Chapter Two:

“I can’t help but worry.” Chace’s hands shook as he locked eyes with Octav. “You know we don’t have a destination.”

“You’re privy to that information.” Octav shot him a glare. “Do not speak of it.”

Chace stepped backed, “I’m sorry, Sir.”

Octav stared at Chace’s shimmering forearm where his birthmark betrayed his fear. Wearing their traditional uniforms had been Kendro’s idea. He’d hoped to bring calm to everyone, as their open birthmarks reflected their emotions. Winter wasn’t the time of year to be showing bare skin though, the chill Octav felt inside was almost un-bearable, not all of it from the weather.

Chace’s emotions were there for everyone to see, from the flicker across his striking facial mark, to the swirling pattern of his arm. He was terrified and more.

“Listen to me,” against his better judgment Octav reached for Chace. Pulling his own croex to the surface, Octav allowed it to trickle through into Chace’s skin. “Trust me. We might not know where we’re going, but we will find a new home.”

From Chapter Four:

“I trust the four of you. I hope you trust me.” Looking to each of them, Kendro spoke. “The Zefron will follow us—”

“The Zefron, still!” Madrall’s outburst reverberated through the others.

“Yes, and my last recon came back with nothing.” Octav said. “We still know nothing else about them. They’re bent on our annihilation, with no valid reasons.” He waited for their acknowledgment. “Staying away from the Zefron won’t be an option I believe we will have to fight.”

With a hand slammed on the table, Kendro brought up a holosnap. “Octav smuggled this off the Zefron home world.” A holographic image rotated over the centre of their table. “Like us, at first we thought they were fleeing the solar system.” Pointing to several areas as the ship rotated, Kendro added, “Initial scans from Octav’s team were conclusive. It’s a battle ship. I can presume they will be coming for us.”

“Puswer,” cursed Captain Hadi. “We escape a dying planet, to be chased across the galaxy.”


About the Author

Dawn Chapman has been creating sci fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13 episode Sci Fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.

In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon who’s encouraged her away from fast paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Lethao as an epic prose space journey.

She’s had success with a web-series, co-written with ‘Melvin Johnson’, produced by Nandar Entertainment and a short film Irobe, also co-written. This year her experience of working with producers/directors from the  US and AUS has expanded. From drama, sci fi to action, Dawn’s built a portfolio of writing, consulting and publishing.

Contact: Author Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | TSK Productions

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Air Awakens Affinity Tour: Firebearer

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Whether or not you’re new to the world of Elise Kova’s Air Awakens, elemental powers are fairly straightforward: air, water, fire, and earth–sorcerers can each control one. But what makes the magic in Air Awakens so interesting is the unique abilities Elise has given to each of her affinities. Whether someone is a grounderbreaker, a waterrunner, a windwalker, or a firebearer, each type of elemental magic has a few unexpected abilities–like the firebearers and their ability to see into the future. Name another book where fire-magic does that!

So yes, maybe that’s partially the reason why I chose firebearer as my Air Awakens affinity. But that’s not the only reason! I also think they sound kick-ass. I mean, who wouldn’t have fun punching something with a fiery fist?


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Your emotions run hot and people know you have fire in your veins. You can be a warm heat to those who get close to you. But, when crossed, that warmth can easily turn into an inferno. In a scrap you prefer to fight with your fists, alight with fire, over weapons.

You think deeply about the future because you can hone your ability to see along the red lines of fate that connects everyone in the world. Perhaps you keep this gift of future-seeing to yourself. Or, perhaps you sell it in a Curiosity Shop.

You are just like: Crown Prince Aldrik and Larel Neiress


If you’d like to discover your own Air Awakens affinity, there’s a fun quiz you can take! [Here’s the link!]

Alternatively: are you a Gryffindor, a Ravenclaw, a Hufflepuff, or a Slytherin? Maybe it would help if you knew which Air Awakens affinity I thought best fit each Hogwarts house?


G_finalAre you brave and fierce like a Gryffindor? Then your affinity might just be with the windwalkers! You value freedom and your levitation powers have endless potential. And since you’re hardly scared of heights, the world is at your fingertips.

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Are you clever and ambitious like a Slytherin? Then your affinity might just be with the firebearers! With the ability to look into the future, you’d constantly stay one step ahead of your peers–or perhaps you’d use your new talent to help others find their way (I would!).

R_final

Are you intelligent and book-smart like a Ravenclaw? Then your affinity might just be with the groundbreakers! You can read people’s secrets right off their skin–imagine what you could do with that knowledge!

H_final

Are you hardworking and resourceful like a Hufflepuff? Then your affinity might just be with the waterrunners! You can make anything out of ice, and you can always find the truth hidden behind illusions due to your ability to refract water in the air!


So, if your interest is peaked, check out the Air Awakens Fan Club on Goodreads or the Air Awakens Read-Along, happening soon!

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Book Blitz + GIVEAWAY: Gabriel (The Styclar Saga #2)

unnamed (1)


Title: Gabrielunnamed
Series: The Styclar Saga (#2)
Author: Nikki Kelly
Published by: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels. Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He’s also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a romantic, action-packed reading adventure.

Check out the Styclar Wattpad page for preview chapters of Gabriel.


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

What did you do on your research trip to France?
Mainly, I visited all the locations used in the book! I also spent some time writing while I was there of course! I think the nicest thing about my research trip was that I ended up using my Auntie and Uncle’s barn conversion as a base for the property our gang find themselves staying in! Everything in the story form the barn, the village itself and various locations (including the snowy mountains) are completely real – you could even go and visit them all yourself!

Was the writing process for Gabriel a lot different than Lailah?
The writing process for GABRIEL was shorter, because this time around I was writing full time! But the actual ‘writing’ part was much the same. I start with a premise, have an idea in my head of the beginning/ the ending/ a specific character etc etc. and start writing! I only ever do rough outlines, it’s all pretty much in my head, which is another reason why I have often said I feel like this story was implanted in my brain sometimes and I am the mere mortal who gets to put pen on paper to bring it to life!

What can we expect from Gabriel (the novel)? 

Gosh, A LOT! The story picks up right where it left off, and continues to be told form Lailah’s POV – The main cast are back, but we get to meet some lush new ones too! I am still a great fan of the twist – suffice to say, just when you think you know, really you have no idea! 😉 Oh, and also, did I mention… #NoMercy 😉

Would you say that you’re similar to Lailah in any way?
Naturally, Lailah and I have a few of the same traits, I think every character in my stories have a little something piece of me, whether intention or not! But I think we can all relate to Lailah’s plight, I think most of us go through a time in our lives where we are working out who we are and making choices that carve out who we ultimately end up becoming.

What are you currently reading?
I have a new baby, so my hands are a little tied at the moment! But I can tell you what I will be reading next *grabby hands* Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!!!

Any advice for aspiring authors?
If you have a story to tell, don’t stop until it’s told…and Never.Ever.Give.Up

How much of your personal experience is tied into this series?
A very large percent! A good example — In GABRIEL Ruadhan tells Lailah ‘You only fail, if you never try.’ That is the very advice my Mom gave me, and one of the reasons I am living my dream today… I think it all goes back to that great advice you hear again and again about writing – about writing what you know. So in this case, for example, I know very well the true meaning and the importance of that message… Even down to the mythology in the story — it’s all based loosely on my own belief system (you’ll see plenty more of that in Book 2 and especially in Book 3).

And if you haven’t read Lailah yet. . . .


Title: Lailahunnamed (2)
Series: The Styclar Saga (#1)
Author: Nikki Kelly
Published by: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Find it on Goodreads!

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NIKKI KELLY was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. Lailah was first launched to Wattpad, an online readers and writers community. Within six months, the novel had over one million reads. Lailah is Nikki’s debut novel, and the first book in The Styclar Saga. She lives in London with her husband and their dogs, Alfie (a pug) and Goose (a Chihuahua).

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | Wattpad | Youtube

GIVEAWAY: Your Choice of 2 ebooks!

This week, I’m giving away 2 ebooks! The prize is any 2 of the following (your choice!):


Title: Monument 1412753231
Series: Monument 14 (#1)
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Pages: 294
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Find it on Goodreads!

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not-you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world-as they know it-apart.


Title: The Winner’s Curse16069030
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy (#1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Pages: 355
Published by: Farrar Straus Giroux
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Find it on Goodreads!

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love… 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.


Title: A Little Something Different20801166
Author: Sandy Hall
Pages: 272
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Find it on Goodreads!

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….


Title: The Novice22718814
Series: Summoner (#1)
Author: Taran Matharu
Pages: 368
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

“When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.”


JUST CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER! ENDS OCT 22, 2015 AT 12:00AM. GOOD LUCK!

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Crown’s Game

Title: The Crown’s Game26156203
Author: Evelyn Skye
Pages: 400
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Find it on Goodreads!

Vika Andreyev can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

ARC Review – Auralict (The Divided Realms #3)

Title: Auralict13301603
Series:
 The Divided Realms (#3)
Author: Maggie L. Wood
Pages: 346
Release Date: September 30, 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

MY RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS. WORTH THE WAIT! 100% RECOMMENDED

Following the nightmares of the Goblin’s Gauntlet, Willow faces life with a broken spirit and a broken heart. She is easy prey for the seductive faerie prince, Theon Thornheart, who tempts her with a powerful, addictive elixir that warps her magic. Meanwhile, dark forces in Clarion set the stage for a new Game that will place humans, faeries, and goblins in a magical battle of wits. Does Willow have the strength to resist Theon’s temptation and the ability to restore the Balance of the realms?

~My Thoughts~

I was expecting a great number of things from Auralict, but it surprised me–not once, but repeatedly. For a series I began back in middle school, it’s moved in an impressively mature direction, balancing the beautiful, magical world of Mistolear with the unparalleled self-destructiveness of mental illness and addiction. The writing is still as crisp as I remember, and the plot is spectacularly paced, with tension, romance, heroism and magic blended well into the lives of characters I have always loved. I only wish the ending had been…a little more.

Nevertheless, I must commend Wood for sticking with her series through all the tribulations it’s faced. Willow is a heroine whose voice deserves to be heard, and I didn’t expect to connect with her on the level that I did. She’s headstrong and emotional, yes, but she lives with her heart on her sleeve, and her struggles with depression and addiction are both moving and empowering. Her message is a powerful one, and I absolutely adore the way her elixir addiction was handled–personally, I can’t imagine how it could have been better executed. It’s a fantastic portrayal of a very real world problem, and Willow deals with both the mental and emotional repercussions of her addiction in a very real way.

With a main cast of four, Auralict finds a surprising amount of time to develop, not only Willow’s character, but Brand’s and Theon’s as well. Brand has his weaker moments closer to the beginning of the book, but once his love for Willow rekindles, he truly becomes the knight in shining armour he has always hoped he would be. His love for Willow is powerful and genuine, but his feelings regarding her addiction are what truly brings his character to life: he’s conflicted, he’s afraid, and he makes a number of mistakes, but at the end of the day, it’s his unflinching resolution to remain with Willow that truly defines his character. As for Theon, he is very much the faerie prince Willow needed as she struggled with her depression. He plays an incredibly important role in her life, and even after betraying her, he spends almost the entirety of the book trying to make amends. I’ll be honest: I loved Theon. I loved his sense of humour, his cunning remarks, his intelligence, and his unflagging determination to make things right with Willow. He had a hard upbringing, and despite that, he’s remained a good man at heart, fighting for freedom and the freedom of his people even when it’s killing him to do so. As characters, Brand and Theon are definitely among the best in the series.

In regards to plot, I won’t lie: I stopped and shouted into empty rooms more often than not. There’s a death about halfway through the book that I wasn’t expecting at all, and the emotional whiplash was something I could not have prepared myself for. Dacia’s subplot also added yet another layer of suspense to the novel, and as a villain, she filled her role well: she had clear, believable motives, and her wickedly powerful magic made her feel like a real threat, much like the merciless goblin horde. Even minor characters in the novel, such as Willow’s mother and grandmother, or Brand’s father and step-mother, had their moments in the spotlight, adding depth to the story in a surprisingly well-executed way.

My sole complaint about the book was the ending. There’s a second major death in the last tenth of the book or so, and I hated how it was handled. This was a character that played an important role throughout the story, and the off-handed way their death was treated deeply saddened me. I can’t give too many details without spoiling who’s death I’m talking about, but suffice it to say that I was crushed to see only one character truly mourn them (and even that for only two paragraphs). Additionally, the epilogue left me with a lot of unanswered questions, and it really wasn’t what I expected at all. The sentiment was wonderful, but it’s difficult for me to accept that my last image of this series is of a horse being born (that’s not really a spoiler, I swear).

Even with that, Auralict is and remains a strong four-star read that I really, really enjoyed. There’s a lot of powerful elements to the novel that I’d hate to see overlooked, and for a conclusion to a trilogy that took nearly a decade to finally be published, I’m happy to say it was well worth the wait.

Buy it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters/Indigo | Kobo

Waiting on Wednesday – Into the Dim

Title: Into the Dim23212980
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Pages: 436
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Released Date: March 1, 2016
FInd it on Goodreads!

“Her future is a thousand years in the past.”

Being “the home-schooled girl” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t endear her to her dad’s perfectly blond, very Southern family. When her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world implodes. After being shipped off to an aunt she’s never met, Hope learns there’s more to her mother’s “death” than she ever dreamed. At her aunt’s manor, high in the Scottish Highlands, Hope begins to unravel the shocking truth about her family. Her mom isn’t just a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is currently trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. To stage a rescue, the sheltered teen must join the Indiana Jones-wannabe team of time-jumpers, before her mother is lost for good. In a brutal, medieval world, Hope will discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free…or the very key to Hope’s undoing.

Addictive and rich with historical detail, INTO THE DIM is an unlikely heroine’s story of adventure, sacrifice, and first love, in a high stakes race against time itself.

Pre-order it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | B&N | Chapters/Indigo

Book Review (DNF) – Take Back the Skies (Take Back the Skies #1)

Title: Take Back the Skies18594501
Series: Take Back the Skies/Tellus Series (#1)
Author: Lucy Saxon
Pages: 384
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Find it on Goodreads!

MY RATING: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS. RECOMMENDED FOR AN MG AUDIENCE; AS A YA, IT’S A PAPERWEIGHT

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 . . .

~My Thoughts~

While I always try to advocate for young writers as much as I can (Saxon was 16 when she wrote Take Back the Skies), this novel just never sat well with me. So I ended up giving up about halfway in, for these five reasons:

  1. I found the writing style a little juvenile and overly simplistic. As a result, the tone of the novel had neither the sense of immediacy nor the sense of tension I’ve become accustomed to when reading YA, which in turn made the plot feel both lackluster and impersonal. On the other hand, I honestly think the book would have better met my expectations if I’d walked into it expecting to read a middle grade adventure story, as opposed to a young adult sci-fi/romance.
  2. I never took a liking to Cat. I personally found her attitude towards her life and her arranged marriage incredibly irritating and unrealistic. I understand why she didn’t want to marry the boy she’d been betrothed to, but the way she went on and on about how she hated her life and everything in it–I found that completely unbelievable. Having been raised knowing nothing else, it just didn’t make sense to me that she wanted nothing to do with the comforts of her life. I could understand a little discontent, even a little guilt over her highborn status. But wanting to angrily reject everything she knows because of that? It honestly just felt like the most contrived way the author could think of to get Cat to run away from home.
  3. The romance in the novel between the fourteen year old Cat and the eighteen year old Fox is both awkward and sorely out of place. Personally, I feel like Saxon added the romance in the hopes of making the content of her novel more “mature”, but that ultimately backfires. I admit, I could be the only one who feels this way, but Cat and Fox’s romance struck me as almost inappropriate. And it’s not just because of their age gap and vastly different maturity levels; it’s also because of the way Cat seemed to lust after Fox in such a physical way. I can understand being fourteen and having a crush, but the way Cat fixated on the strip of skin that peeked out under Fox’s shirt when he raised his arms, or the way his back muscles pulled under his clothes when he bent over, or the shape of his butt through his pants…I just found it a little ridiculous.
  4. The signals between the two potentially gay characters were really mixed. To be fair, it’s also possible they aren’t gay, but I’m really hoping Saxon isn’t queer-baiting her readers with the hints she keeps hiding in plain sight. I did get the sense that she simply hadn’t made up her mind about their relationship yet, but that really doesn’t justify her wishy-washy handling of the pair. Hopefully this became clearer one way or the other by the end of the book?
  5. Cat ‘convinces’ her little ragtag team of smugglers to essentially ‘save the world’, which they agree to do without much real convincing. This actually ended up being the final straw for me, not only because this big moment in the plot had absolutely no sense of tension whatsoever, but because this entire scene felt so fake and contrived. I just didn’t find it believable at all that everyone in the crew could be so easily swayed to risk their lives based on the enthusiasm of one fourteen year old girl they hardly knew.

So, my thoughts overall? It’s not a great book, but it’s not an entirely poor one either. I can’t see where the rest of this six book series will go, but I still give it three stars because I can see Saxon’s potential, especially in her descriptions of the skyship Cat travels on and the love she clearly shows for her secondary cast. In my opinion, with a little work, this series could easily be a gem for younger readers.

Buy it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | B&N | Chapters/Indigo