Take Back the Skies is the first novel of a young British woman. The language is a little different for the American reader, but the British phrasing adds charm to the tale. “It’s probably safe for us to have a wander, Cat.” Countries and areas have names adapted from actual places, such as Siberene for Siberia, Anglya for Anglia or England, and Mericus for America.
The heroine, Cat or Catherine, is a wealthy government girl with a powerful father. Her mother is frail and bedridden. When her father tries to marry her off to a wealthy lout, she runs away from home. Disguising herself as a boy, she stows away on a small trade skyship. The skyships are hybid ships that can land in water but also fly. She is discovered by Fox who becomes a love interest. The kindly crew take her on, partly because of her skill with engineering and robotics. She used to take apart and fix her family’s robot servant. A few crew members suspect something is up with her/his story, so when they realize she is a girl, it is not too unexpected.
She discovers that her father and the government are involved in some horrible experiments on children and that the country has not been at war for years. The harvests of children, the rationing of food, are all part of an evil plot to eradicate the poor. Cat convinces the crew to aid her in bringing down the government and rescuing the children.
I have to keep in mind that this is a teen fantasy. The kids are given responsibilities of spying, handling explosives, rescuing people, fighting, that would not really happen (in America, at least). The book is somewhat like a less violent “Hunger Games.” I think it would appeal to a younger reader than the Hunger Games or Maze Runner series.
I found it an enjoyable read and the characters appealing, although fairly black and white.