Desperate to escape an arranged marriage and the life her high-ranking government official father planned for her, Cat Hunter does the unthinkable. She runs away from her homeland Tellus, disguises herself as a boy, and stows away on an air ship. She's ready for life in a new land where the general population isn't poverty stricken and at the mercy of the cruel officials. What she isn't quite ready for is meeting Fox, a crew member aboard the Stormdancer-which turns out to be a smugglers' ship. So begins an epic adventure that spans both land and sea.
This explosive debut starts a unique six-book series. Each novel will be set in a different land within the Tellus world, with repeating characters and related, nonlinear storylines that combine to create a one-of-a-kind, addictive reading experience.
The narrative voice in Saxon's YA debut hovers in an in-between stage. On one hand, 14-year-old Catherine Hunter is blushingly caught up in "silly things like hormones and attraction." On the other, she's the kind of middle-grade heroine who can pass as a boy by putting on a baggy shirt, as well as turn her hand to engineering or pickpocketing with equal ease. The slide in register between wide-eyed ignorance and knowing innuendo can be awkward, but for younger teens, the breathlessly paced adventure aspect of the novel will carry the story of a privileged heroine who stows away on a smugglers' skyship and persuades the not-so-motley crew to help her save her country. Sprinkled with popular elements of dystopia, steampunk, and noble love, the plot sparkles. The characters spunky Cat, brooding Fox, the bromance pair of Ben and Matt are types straight out of teen-friendly TV series like Firefly and Gilmore Girls. More books in this universe are promised, and Saxon has set up the world of Tellus well to support many rollicking tales. Ages 12 up.