eBook - 2017
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In this fantasy novel for middle-grade readers, Molly works with her family, collecting spirits on an airship. When she captures a spirit that can speak, she begins to think that everything she has been taught may be a lie.
Publisher: Victoria, British Columbia :, Orca Book Publishers,, 2017
ISBN: 9781459811195
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Apr 22, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: a character is chased and attacked many times by nonhuman things intent on killing said character

Apr 22, 2018

Violence: a character is hit by another character in the face with a book

Apr 22, 2018

Coarse Language: the D-word is used fairly often


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Apr 22, 2018

I really loved this book. Like, a lot.

Shane Arbuthnott is a very good writer, I daresay. The atmosphere and the setting felt consistently tangible and real. The dialogue was distinct for each character, which really brought them all to life. I really loved the visual descriptions and sensory details, as they allowed me to really immerse myself into the story. I wish, though, that there had been more clothing descriptions, because it was difficult to imagine what kind of attire everyday people wore.

The plot was really very slow, though, for the first half, and while I found the world and characters interesting enough, I wasn't keen to pick this up all that often. Once the plot picked up, though, it didn't slow for long, and I was ultimately extremely pleased with the progression of plot and character arc.

I found some elements in this story to be a bit darker/more mature than I would have been comfortable reading when I was 10, which is the starting age suggested on the back of the book. Namely, the frequent use of the D-word by many of the characters, the 14-year-old MC included, and alcohol abuse and domestic abuse on the part of Molly's father. Since I am a young adult, I was not bothered by these things, but I can imagine a younger reader being shocked or even frightened.

This world was so unique! I've never read anything quite like it! Basically it's a science fiction fantasy alternate history. How cool is that?! The American continent is uninhabited save for the technologically advanced city of Terra Nova, while all of the Eastern hemisphere seems to be as it is today, with countries like France and England. In this world, machines are primarily powered by spirits that are caught by people like Molly, our brave MC, from portals in the sky called fonts. These spirits, which have elemental abilities, were reminiscent of traditional Asian spirits, and I got a strong Spirited Away vibe.

Molly is the perfect protagonist. I do not mean, of course, that she is perfect, or that she thinks she is, but that she is exactly what a good MC ought to be. She is selfless and kind, brave and persistent, and she sticks to her principles and uses her many skills to do what's right. I really related to her. She was a treat to read, and I especially liked that there was no love interest for her, as that would have been unrelated to the plot and would have brought down the whole book.

Ariel is the one who changes everything for Molly. She (though spirits are non-gendered—Ariel is alright with being referred to as female) is just as stubborn as Molly is, and watching them clash and team up was great.

My sweet baby Cog! Get you a Cog, guys. We all need a Cog. He's seriously the Dobby of this book, but cuter and sweeter. I love him with all my heart!

I loved Rory! He was a riot! His extroversion and wit were not only needed comic relief in this rather melancholy book, but also useful, and made him into a great character I really enjoyed reading.

Kiernan, despite being Rory's twin, was the quintessential overburdened older brother, carrying the family name on his back. He is loyal and honest, and as someone who doesn't have an older brother, even I felt brotherly love from him.

This book was excellent! If it weren't for the slow beginning, I would have definitely given it 5 stars! I haven't read a book so unique, or an ending so satisfying and epic, in a very long time, and it was so appreciated. This is definitely an underrated gem.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I’m the type of person who enjoys steampunk and fantasy, which this book certainly was. This book follows Molly Stout, a descendant of the great Haviland Stout, who discovered dangerous spirits who inhabit her world. Her family has been capturing spirits for years, but when Molly captures a spirit who can speak and who knew her ancestor, all her previous ideas about spirits were proven wrong. Something in Molly’s world is causing destruction in the spirit world, and it’s up to Molly to stop it. I liked how this book took a different spin on spirits and managed to add steampunk into the mix, which was an intriguing combination. I didn’t like some unrealistic reactions of the characters and some events, but hey it’s fantasy. This book is pretty standard quality, some of the characters seemed a bit flat or could use some development. The main character, Molly, is quiet but likeable and some of her backstory and actions could be further explained. The setting is well thought-out and interesting since it’s set in an alternate world. I would recommend this book to a fantasy-lover or someone looking for something similar to steampunk, ages 11-15.

- C.W.


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Apr 22, 2018

faithmurri99 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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