Review - Skyborn by Sinéad O'Hart

Review - Skyborn by Sinéad O'Hart

The circus has seen better days, but for Bastjan it’s home. He will do anything he can to save it, even if it means participating in a death-defying new act. But when that fails to draw in the crowds, the ringmaster makes a deal with a mysterious man by the name of Dr Bauer.

In exchange for his help, Bauer wants a box that belonged to Bastjan’s mother and came from her birthplace – the faraway island of Melita. Bastjan is desperate to keep his only memento of his mother out of Bauer’s hands. And as he uncovers more about the strange objects contained within, he realizes it’s not only the circus that’s in terrible danger…

With the most daring young heroes, the most villainous villains, with circuses and airships, shapeshifters and lost cities, with all of the mystery and adventure, excitement and intrigue, Sinéad O'Hart's Skyborn is an utter triumph of a book!

Skyborn has been written as a prequal to The Eye of the North, Sinéad O'Hart's first published novel, though either book works perfectly well alone. It reveals the origins of one of the most fascinating, fun and intriguing characters in Eye, the orphaned boy called Thing. It turns out he wasn't always called Thing, and he wasn't always travelling the world alone. 
The Eye of the North is one of my absolute favourite books, so dipping back into that world was a real treat and Thing isn't the only familiar face to make an appearance. Knowing a little of how the story ends for some of the characters gave the whole thing a really interesting twist, and actually kept me guessing right up until the end. It took twists and turns I just never saw coming, like an aerialist spinning and shifting effortlessly on silks. And like an enraptured circus audience, I just sat back and enjoyed, open mouthed, at the skill on display.

In style, Skyborn is a Victorian-esque fantasy with strong steampunk elements, an aesthetic I absolutely adore. There are fantastical creatures in this book, but like in all of the best fiction the real monsters are all too human! The depiction of casual cruelty made the everyday seem monstrous and had me rooting for the young heroes from the start.


Skyborn by Sinéad O'Hart is out now, published by Little Tiger Group.
I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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