It seems only fitting that I kick off 2018 with a review of the latest book from one of my most favourite authors, the extremely talented and lovely Emma Carroll. In her first book for Chicken House Emma has taken a prize-winning idea from Neal Jackson and sculpted it into a thing of beauty which is about to be launched on a flight of its very own. Orphan Maggie lives on her wits alone and one day her life is transformed when she glimpses a boy being swept off his feet by a mysterious object swirling and dancing off the ground. Rushing to help she finds herself suddenly flying high above the ground and despite the danger she craves this excitement like nothing she has ever felt before. For once she feels brave, strong, alive and most importantly no longer alone. By saving Pierre, Magpie becomes inextricably caught up in the life of the Montgolfier family and their quest to invent the first flying machine.
This is a thrilling, whirlwind of an adventure a real visual feast that will totally capture your imagination. Cleverly mixing real life events and fiction, we are allowed glimpses of an imagined untold story behind the creation of this remarkable hot-air balloon which caused great pride and admiration in France. I’m in awe of Magpie’s determination and bravery, her refusal to not be dismissed because she is a just a ‘simple girl’ is just marvellous. The camaraderie between Magpie and Pierre is wonderfully endearing as they try to help support their family to achieve their dreams in order to avoid the wrath of King Louis. At the heart of this story it’s their friendship and bravery and willingness to risk everything to protect their families which makes this story so compelling. When you add some dastardly villains into the mix alongside a seemingly impossible task in this race against time, you have all the elements of a truly spectacular, romp of a read.
Thank you to Chicken House for sending me a copy of this wonderful book, ‘Sky Chaser’s is released on January 4th but I have spotted copies in the wild already.