Middle Grade on Monday: Skyborn – 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…

I have heard some great things about Sinéad’s Eye of the North, so when I saw her newest book on Netgalley of course I requested it. But it wasn’t for me.

First off, the writing… now it does need bearing in mind that I read an eArc of this so some of these issues may have been edited out. But… the accents of the characters were incredibly inconsistent. It would switch between two sentances and go from non-existent to extremely heavy for the same character. It made for some very jarring reading. I got also really annoyed with the fact that there were very arrupt changes in POV, without even so much as a pagebreak. It was so confusing!!!

Then on to the plot. The story we got wasn’t the one I wanted to read. I loved the prologue! A young girl climbs the wall of some mysterious city and accidently steals the bracelet of some creature. The book itself follows her son Bastjan and his life in the circus. Like fine… but I want to know what these creatures are and why they live in a walled city! Tell me about them, not about how Bastjan gets sold to a farmer (and yes I get how the farmer relates to who his father is, but this never gets explored in the story so in general it serves absolutely no purpose to the plot other than give us less time on the island with the creature). I just feel there was a much more interesting story in this book than the one we were told.

The characters were also just fine. I liked Bastjan, and ‘appriciated’ his panic attacks. And some of the people in the circus were decent characters as well. But Alice… she felt completely out of place in this. Her backstory was too little too late for us to care for her, and in general she just felt like a means to push the ‘learn to love your imperfections’ agenda. Just a way to get a good message in there, and someone who conveniently can read.

And then there are the many plot holes and illogicial decisions, which combined with all of the above just made this an incredibly frustrating read. And I’m sorry for it, because I really thought I would love this book (and looking at the other reviews many people did). This one really wasn’t for me.

5 thoughts on “Middle Grade on Monday: Skyborn – Sinéad O’Hart

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