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Sky by Sarah Driver. Book review

August 31, 2017


Sky charts Mouse’s continuing quest to find the rest of the Storm-Opals in order to stop her world turning into a permanent winter.

In the Huntress trilogy, Sarah Driver has created a world rich with breath-taking landscapes, brilliant characterisations and relentless action. By seeing and experiencing this world through Mouse’s eyes the story, told in the present tense, really creates a sense of immediacy for the reader, as well as letting them feel the emotional rollercoaster all the characters are put through in their adventures. The use of a dialect only adds a further sense of immersion into this intelligently conceived world of ships creaking as their sails catch the wind and the ultimate adrenaline rush of riding on the back of a leathery terrodyl (a pterodactyl) or a furry draggle (a large type of bat).

Sarah Driver’s writing doesn’t let up on the action, but while this is all going on she builds in fully-formed characters who interact with the story, adding so much more than a way of merely world-building through meeting people. There is no sense of the author wondering who she’s going to add next to make the story more interesting, but more of assembling a hugely complex jigsaw puzzle so the pieces fit perfectly in a whole picture designed to take your breath away.

The new character of Kestrel, a member of a Sky-Tribe, becomes involved with the adventurers she adds another layer to the already complex story. She has Mouse’s passion and ability to keep going no matter what happens. But the magic of Kestrel’s character really kicks in when she talks about the need for the Sky-Tribes to pull together. It is moments like this when the author’s skill in conveying this world really comes to the fore as Mouse describes this as “There’s a pureness to her unite, like she’s struck a small bell.” This way of describing what is going on takes the situation and extends a reader’s perception of not only what is happening, but also the pureness of Kestrel’s character and her vision of the way she would like to shape the future.

This is a book full of the importance of friendship and trying to do the right thing with young people who have all been, one way or another, thrust violently into an adult world where they must first make their own way and rely on their own psychological strength and moral compass for sorting out who they can and can’t rely on.

Mouse has to be very mature to keep her brother safe and the group together while trying to solve her father’s message. She has lost everything. This should have changed her and yet there is still something of the delightful child with a constant wonder of the world around her, who began the trilogy in Sea. This is a quality which Sarah Driver puts over with her wonderfully crafted observations, “Kestrel claps her hands and grins until her cheeks squash her eyes.”

Mouse is very much a child of the sea and bonded to the concept of captaining her own ship one day. Her philosophy of the world comes from this centre which you can see when she wisely advises Kestrel not to give up by saying “Don’t take your sails down yet.” These are the small touches carefully dabbed here and there amidst a rattling adventure story, which should ensure this trilogy’s place as a children’s classic in years to come and Sarah Driver an author noted for children’s writing which stands out in a hectic children’s fantasy market. At the very least The Huntress Trilogy is crying out for a large-scope, cinematic treatment. Roll on the next book.

Sky was courtesy of Egmont Publishing.

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