Review of Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

Take Back the SkiesTake Back the Skies
By: Lucy Saxon
Release Date: June 3rd 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: ARC

A copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bloomsbury!

My Rating:

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:
I was incredibility drawn to the cover, title and summary of Take Back the Skies. Everything about it seemed right up my alley and the fact that a teen writer was behind it made me very excited to dive into this science fiction book. I was pleased with how Saxon started her story. She introduced us to a strong-willed young teen (14-which was a younger mc than I’m used to). I found her to be engaging and enjoyed reading about the world she was in. I had some confusion on when and where this story took place and never felt that Saxon was able to really draw a clear picture of her world. A lot of her descriptions felt muddled and it was very difficult to visualize any of the setting.

As this story progressed the writing became sloppy in my opinion. The tightly woven storyline started to detour and the characters became a lot more annoying. The love interest, Fox, was the worst of the bunch. He was hard at times to tolerate because of his neck breaking shifts in personality. I never could grasp why people put up with it to be honest. Him and Cat’s interactions were annoying at best. I wanted to love Fox because he was surly and a red head but it was not meant to be.

As for the story in Take Back the Skies there were some really stellar aspects. I loved the idea behind the Stormdancer and I wanted to know a LOT more about these forceful storms. Why were they there? What caused them? None of those details were really addressed though they did provide a cool backdrop to some of the scenes. I enjoyed Cat’s time on the ship the most and wished I had a clearer visual of how it looked. The crew was also a great addition because I felt that for secondary characters they were well addressed. I also enjoyed some of the more disturbing aspects of the story that I can’t reveal because of spoilers. The overall atmosphere and story had a lot of potential.

Parts to the story that didn’t work for me were how easily the crew of adults were so willing to give not only a majority of the planning but also the actual duties to the youngest members on the ship. Cat and Fox were responsible for the most vital and dangerous aspects of their mission. It seemed a tad unbelievable to me. Also, the ease in which they were able to break into a government building was laughable. Nothing seemed overly difficult or challenging. Also, just because Cat is dressed as a boy with short hair would that make her virtually unrecognizable?

Eavesdropping on important conversations plays a huge role in this story. Cat was able to shadow various people and hear their entire conversations in exact detail.  I don’t know if it was because the setting wasn’t clearly provided or if it was just written to where she could easily walk behind people and them not hear or see her. All of this added up to a less than thrilling build-up.

Another problem I had with TBtS was the unimagined dialog. Not only was their language inconsistent (sometimes speaking more present day but throwing in older terms and phrases) the villain was one of the worst I’ve encountered in a long while. I was sad that Saxon created an antagonist that was completely one sided and had no depth what so ever.

Final Thoughts:
Though Take Back the Skies was full of aspects I couldn’t get over as a reader I could see that Saxon has potential and I think her story idea was really great though not executed in a way I was able to really connect with. I will be interested to see where this young writer heads and what her future books will be like.


  1. says

    2 stars from me as well :\ I agree with what you said about the progression of the story and the sloppiness. In all honesty, I was disappointed – the way the pub is pushing this one, I expected to be blown away! Especially by such a young debut author. But that’s okay. I might not continue with this series (if it is a series), but I will be looking out for other books by this author.

    Anyway. Fabulous review, Kristen!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • says

      Yep, I think it started off a lot stronger than it ended. I felt it suffered with every chapter 🙁 I love that it is from such a young author and I imagine her work will improve as she writes more. I might check out the sequel. I believe there are a few planned.

  2. says

    Yeah, so I DNF’d this one D: I just couldn’t take it after that scene in the market where she magically learns how to pickpocket and then is able to defeat two grown men and run away from them after the first 90 pages were spent with her trying to keep up with Fox because she is so short. Oh and she apparently had a concussion from blindly running into the first guard? I really wanted more detail on those storms, but I had no idea what the stormwall even looked like or what purpose it actually served D: Basically, yes, all of these things and I’m glad that I decided not to spend more time on it!

    • says

      Yep, it wasn’t very good 🙁 I rolled my eyes at that scene too. there was so much that didn’t make sense or was too easy. So sad it wasn’t better.

  3. says

    Well, damn. I’m so sorry that you didn’t like this book Kristen 🙁 And yess. That cover is so pretty. Ugh. Hate when that happens; pretty cover, crappy book. lol 🙂 But you are awesome for reading it, anyway. <3 Thank you for being honest and sharing 🙂

  4. says

    Hmmm…I’m feeling pretty good about not requesting this one now. Sorry it didn’t impress you, that the dialogue left something to be desired and that the antagonist was so uninspired. At least the cover is pretty interesting, though. 😛

  5. says

    I’ve read other very similar reviews, Kristen. Too sad the book didn’t really deliver… Hopefully the next books from the author will be better!

  6. says

    Hmm this sounds like it had a great promise and just fell through after a bit. I wonder what happened there. shame though the cover def is a buy-for-cover prettyness. Lol I may not be making sense atm im a bit high off flu meds 😀 too bad this didnt turn out to be as good as it started though. I do have a copy of it but I’m still undecided about if I’ll be reading it or not. Great review, hun!

    • says

      The cover is buy-for-prettiness for sure! I’m so sorry you don’t feel well! We’ve been fighting off sickness over here too. And your comment totally makes sense 🙂 If you read it I’ll be curious to hear what you think.

  7. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) says

    Yes, I was drawn to the cover as well! I agree with you, Kristen. I was hoping for much better and the world building and conveniences in this novel were just a no go for me.

    Lovely review, lady! <33

    • says

      It’s sad Melanie…I wanted to love it. The cover and summary are superb. I think the author might improve in the next novel. Her world didn’t’ come through to the reader.

  8. says

    I think that’s cool that she got her book published at such a young age, that’s kind of awesome. I’m sorry the book didn’t turn out as well as you had hoped, though. Maybe the rest of the series will turn out better.

    • says

      I think it’s amazing and so awesome that she got published so early. I imagine she’ll have a great career and her next book will improve a lot on this one.

  9. says

    I haven’t read this yet, but I’ve been excited, like you, to read something from a teen author. Too bad that this falls short.

    You picked out two pet peeves I’ve noticed in other books: 1) “Also, just because Cat is dressed as a boy with short hair would that make her virtually unrecognizable?” 2) “Eavesdropping on important conversations plays a huge role in this story.”

    For the short hair thing, MAYBE I could buy that a 14-year-old could pull that off better than, say, a 17 year old could. Maybe. As for eavesdropping, that’s just pure laziness. “The Testing” series by Joelle Charbonneau was rife with that, and it bugged me to no end.

    • says

      ugh, the eavesdropping thing has been used a lot lately. I know it’s convenient to give the reader plot points but it’s really hard to make it believable! And yea, since the MC is 14 I guess it is plausible. I really think this might have been better as a middle grade novel. I’ll probably try the next book? I think she does have potential.

  10. says

    I really do love connecting with the book so that’s made me really iffy about picking this up. I have a review copy though so I don’t want to just let it sit there. I’m tempted to just wait a few more years and then pick up a different Lucy Saxon book. Most people agree that she has a lot of potential. Lovely review! 😀

  11. says

    Bummer! This one looks really good. I agree with you, though — I can’t stand it when all the adults just stand back and let kids make all the decisions. Totally unrealistic, even in sci fi. Thanks for the heads up — I’ll most likely skip this one.

    • says

      Yeah, I was so excited about this book–especially since the author is so young. As some other reviewers have said, perhaps a younger audience (like tweens) would like it more.

  12. says

    Well, that’s disappointing. Another good concept with lacking execution. And I think I heard this is the first in a 6-7 book series. 🙁 Thanks for the honest review!

    • says

      I’m thinking I’ll try the second book perhaps to see if her writing has improved. If not the follow-ups of this series then her next.

  13. says

    Argh see I never understand when adults do things that just AREN”T realistic. I can’t see it happening then it makes it completely unreal to me and then I can’t invest in the story as much because …yeah no it wouldn’t work, wouldn’t happen not even in the future or a fake fantasy world. So sorry to hear you didn’t dig this one. I know my coblogger Tina is reading it currently so that makes me curious to hear what she’ll think.

Leave a Reply to Kristen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *