The cover of The Sky Village is wonderfully mysterious and drew my eye immediately. The forthcoming paperback edition makes even more of this brilliant image. My imagination seems to catch fire every time I’m offered a peek or romp through a new world. Not only does the cover offer this, but the story delivers on that promise.
Written for the 9 to 12-year old crowd, the book offers a lot of adventure for consenting adults as well. With the deluge of great books offered for kids these days, I find my reading time torn between adult and juvenile fiction. The Sky Village will capture the attention of new science fiction readers as well as more experienced ones.
The authors, Monk and Nigel Ashland, have written a wonderful adventure filled with lean prose and characters just deep enough to think about. The illustrations by Jeff Nentrup bring the world to life and provide more visuals. That, apparently, was done by design. Judging from the book and authors’ website, they intend to take the property to a cartoon or movie franchise. I would be happy to see them do either or both. I think this could be a successful transition.
I had to invest a little bit of time and effort into the book before it fully came to life for me. The beginning is interesting because Mei is being given to the sky village people by her father so he can go in search of her mother, who is missing and presumed dead or captured by the meks. Mei’s situation is easily empathetic and will draw young readers in instantly to find out what happens to her next. The sky people live over what used to be China.
I was more curious about the sky village because the idea of people living suspended from hot air balloons and never touching the ground intrigued me. I can’t wait for my 11-year old to read this book. As soon as he does, I’m sure he will have plans underway to build our own balloon in the backyard. Good books do that to people.
The fish out of water plot involving Mei is an old standby in fiction, and it works well in this book. But the authors keep up a frantic pace to move their readers along and lay out the groundwork of this new world. I wanted to know more about how the sky village worked, how they went through their day to day life. I didn’t find out everything I wanted to know, so that alone will pull me back into the next book.