Monday, March 26, 2018

Sky Song

Sky Song
Abi Elphinstone

Can we just take a moment to bask in how gorgeous this book is? And it's even prettier in person with stained edges and everything. 

Alright, but seriously, I picked this book up because of how lovely it was. I had no idea what it was about and I didn't really care. I think it was also discounted by one get one half off so I picked up another beautiful middle grade at the same time. Regardless, this was a spur of the moment purchasing decision and I don't regret it in the least.

Sky Song is a really wonderful book for young readers. It's about a girl, Eska, whose voice is what makes her powerful and a boy, Flint, whose mind makes him powerful. Neither really fits in when the story begins, but in a fresh take on this they also don't necessarily get along with each other right away. They have to learn and develop as characters and people before they're able to open up to others. It also features a secondary character (I hesitate to call her a main character because she has no POV chapters even though she's in the majority of the book and the action of the story), Blu, who, I believe, is on the Autism spectrum. And she's not just the simplified younger sister character, either! She's a fully developed person in the story.

The journey the characters in the book take is pretty standard for a quest story, but the aesthetic of the world and the world building was lovely. It at once reminded me of all the things I love about His Dark Materials and The Chronicles of Narnia while still being unique to itself. Winter and Northern inspired (and this isn't a white-washed fantasy may I point out) fantasy books are something I want to read more of because that's an area of the world that just absolutely captures my imagination.

What keeps me from awarding this book five stars is that it just couldn't keep me engaged the entire time. Part of that, I think, has to do with not being in the mind set at the time to read a Middle Grade book. Sometimes books for younger readers just don't hold the spark for me that books for older readers have. Not to say there weren't stakes in this book: in fact I was seriously worried all our characters wouldn't make it out of this one. But some of the connections between characters fell flat and I wish there were more to them.
TL;DR If you're looking for a brilliant middle grade, this one has good representation and has a beautiful world-aesthetic to it. Plus, it will look gorgeous on your shelf.

In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find. Because Erkenwald is ruled by a cruel Ice Queen and you must stay hidden or risk becoming another of her prisoners.
Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey together in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.
This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .
Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher.

THE DREAMSNATCHER is her debut novel for 8-12 years (published by Simon & Schuster in 2015). THE SHADOW KEEPER is her second children's book (published by Simon & Schuster in 2016).

When she's not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

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