A steampunk adventure forces its young protagonist to choose which side she’s on.
Molly Stout seems to defy gravity as she deftly swings her way across the deck of the family’s airship, the Legerdemain. At 14, Molly is a young engineer, serving alongside her 16 year-old twin brothers with their alcoholic father as captain. The family serves as crew to one of many airships used to harvest the spirits that populate the skies of British colony Terra Nova and that serve as the power source for the airships. While on a harvest, the white teen catches her first spirit, which her captain father allows her to keep, solidly locked away. Like a ghost from the past, literally, Molly’s spirit warns her of a plot by those most high that may destroy both the human and the spirit worlds. From the spirit, Molly comes to understand the atrocity her ancestors committed when they began to enslave the spirits and decides to betray her family by aligning herself with the spirits to free all those kept in machine bondage. Aptly titled, Arbuthnott’s debut novel is the first part of an original, fascinating tale that offers an unusual, magical spin on how far human beings will go to gain dominion over the world. This series opener focuses primarily on Molly’s family conflict in the skies, leaving unmentioned any indigenous population of Terra Nova; should subsequent adventures take her into the “dangerous Inner Continent,” here’s hoping issues of colonialism are addressed as deftly.
Though some of the physics may leave some readers dizzy, feisty young Molly will keep them grounded in this page-turning mystical adventure. (Steampunk. 10-14)