(summary from Goodreads)
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 . . .
I am so darn conflicted about this book. I absolutely loved it, and then the ending happened and I didn’t know whether to cry or throw my book at the wall. (I didn’t because it is so beautiful and that would be a crime against this book!).
I’ve been reading a lot of really good YA Dystopian at the moment and I each time I pick up a new book I worry that it is not going to be as good as the last. But this one was perfect. The worldbuilding (especially the map in the cover) with it’s mixed of old tradition and new technology and the skyships! I loved the descriptions when Cat was on the ship and the mechanics of it, plus the views just sounded incredible!
I really liked Cat. She was real, an upper class girl who decides to take a stand for herself and those less fortunate then herself. I do wish we had gotten a little more time with her living in her upper class home with her dad before she ran away. I felt like we didn’t get to know Catherine all that much as she was Cat right from the start of the book. I would have loved some more ‘pre-running-away’ Cat and then seen the difference in her when she was finally free, the distinction between the two personalities. She is definitely a character who can look after herself, she may be small but she is quick and super smart and being on the ship allows her to show of her skills a little and be praised for them rather then having to hide her love for all things ‘masculine’. But this helps her in the end, as she sneaks onto the Skyship under the new identity of a boy and I felt like I was on the edge of my seat the whole time just waiting for someone to discover she was actually a girl!View Spoiler »One thing I found a little annoying was the fact that Catherine ran away and become Cat so she didn’t have to marry someone high society out of a sense of duty. She goes through this whole mission to save the world, falls in love with someone and you see her finally living the life that she wants. But then after Fox dies she just seems to go back to her upper class life and ends up with James, who she doesn’t love, and it feels like she is just marrying him out of a sense of duty. I feel like she went through this whole journey and ended up right back where she started, but just with a broken heart. « Hide Spoiler
Fox was complex, with a whole history of pain behind him. His and Cat’s spark isn’t immediate (mostly because he thinks she is a girl) but when they do finally realise their feelings they very quickly form a strong bond. Luckily it doesn’t feel like insta love because they have known each other a while and that time together has helped them to already put down the foundations of a friendship, which they then build upon as they fall in love with each other. We find out bits and pieces of Fox’s past but never really get the full story. He’s not one to share and even his life now is at times a mystery. I would have loved more of Fox’s story to have been revealed, he is such an interesting character I just wanted to know more!
This book has to have one of my most favourite groups of secondary characters ever! The group on the ship are just perfect. Cat comments at one point about there only being a small crew and how hard it must be for them to keep the ship going with so few of them. And you can see at times how busy they are and how much they have to do but they are a family, a slightly dysfuntional one, but a family none the less and I feel like having loads more people on board would have ruined that. I really loved the roles that everyone took on with Harry and Alice being like mum and dad. I would have read multiple books on just the day to day of these characters on the skyship because their dynamic was just so great and fun to read.
Whilst in the process of reading this book I discovered that the second book is already out, but didn’t want to read the description for it before finishing this one (sometimes they can be spoilery). This ending to this book is … not what I wanted, but I was still interested in seeing where the story was going to be taken in the second book. But then looking up the second book I found out that it was a completely different character’s story not linked with Cat’s at all. That really disappointed me and right now I don’t know if I am going to continue with this series.
It’s a difficult one because it was so so good, but the ending was just too far from what I had hoped and the disappointment of the second book not following on from this one just makes me a little disheartened to continue this series. I would recommend this book, but that recommendation would also come with a warning that you might not like the ending.
Re-Readability: Yes, just not right away.
I would recommend this book to fans of: YA Dystopians, The Young Elites, An Ember in the Ashes, Across the Universe trilogy, stories with rebellions, stories set in the sky,