Book Review: Sky Born

By Sinead O’Hart

This week, TOTP and Knitted TOTP take a look as SkyBorn by Sinead O’Hart.

From the blurb: 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…

TOTP: This is a really exciting adventure, with a super dog called Wares who is the real star of the story, IMDO*. It opens with a prologue which I loved, about a girl climbing huge walls trying to find a way into the Silent City, to find the shapeshifters called Slipskins, and accidentally takes something from the city which leads to the exciting adventure in the circus…

Knitted TOTP: I loved the prologue too but I gotta tell ya, I thought the whole book would be about Ester using the power of the relic and Dawara chasing her to get it back, not a leap to twenty years later with some kid called Bastjan in a circus.

TOTP: Bastjan is a character in Sinead’s book Eye of the North. SkyBorn is his backstory. The prologue gives the back story to why the relic ended up in the circus…

Knitted TOTP: A kind of backstory to the backstory?

TOTP: Right, and I hope Sinead writes Ester’s story some day but SkyBorn is Bastjan’s book (and Alice and Wares too), and it’s a gripping adventure with airships and circuses and shapeshifters and a mysterious box and strange bracelet. I really enjoyed it. My first book about a circus. Those circus folk were a mixed bunch. Crake was great but that ringmaster! And how about Nanette?

Knitted TOTP: What did you think of Wares’ character arc?

TOTP: Perfect! He starts off as a small dog that hides a lot but (tidbit alert!) really finds his bite by the end. Saves the day IMDO!

Knitted TOTP: Hmm. I didn’t quite buy into a dog that could be draped around a kid’s shoulder or stand on a platform or walk across a beam or be carried so easily and then successfully go into attack mode. I couldn’t do it.

TOTP: No, but Wares could and did. Bastjan and Alice were great characters as well as Wares, the kids were brave and loyal and never forgot about Wares.

Knitted TOTP: Yeah, Bastjan was always up for the underdog! Meeting Mrs P was scary though.

TOTP: Next to Wares, the setting was my favourite thing. The world was so interesting, with its mix of steampunk and half-drowned land. It added mystery and atmosphere to the story.

Knitted TOTP: I didn’t like the references to Hibernia being under water (that’s where we live, right?)

TOTP: I want to read Eye of The North to see what happens next. If you’re looking for a well-written fantasy with lots of original elements, and great canine rep, check out SkyBorn by the wonderful Irish writer Sinead O’Hart.

Knitted TOTP: Next up a reminder from TOTP’s sister, Az, that The Lucky Diamond middle grade fantasy series (books 1 and 2 out now) would make a wonderful gift for any reader, no matter the species!

*In My Doggie Opinion

14 responses to “Book Review: Sky Born”

  1. This book sounds wonderful, and it’s so fun getting to see TOTP and his knitted counterpart (who is so cute!!) discussing the story! (“IMDO” is a wonderful acronym, IMHO [in my humble/ human opinion]!) Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Valinora!

    Liked by 1 person

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