Emilie and the Sky World
by Martha Wells
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Juvenile, YA
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: NetGalley
A Girl’s Own Adventure in the spirit of Jules Verne
When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she’s observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky, a disruption in an upper air aether current. But as the Marlendes investigate further, they realize it’s a ship from another aetheric plane. It may be just a friendly explorer, or something far more sinister, but they will have to take an airship into the dangerous air currents to find out.
Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements, with an angry uncle, an interfering brother, and an estranged mother to worry about as well as a lost family of explorers, the strange landscapes of the upper air, and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world.
Emilie sets sail for adventure once again, with a voyage the offers discoveries and danger and nonstop exploration. The perfect steampunk voyage for juveniles and young tweens, even those new to the series will be swept away.
After some quick, subtle reorientation to her world, Wells sends Emilie off on a new voyage. With the truest dash of realism, our adventurers find that their accepted theory of a “hollow world” may be inadequate to describe the phenomena they find. Not two worlds but many, and no promise that their home is the surface world after all. Like a classic Star Trek episode wrapped in Victorian trappings, Emilie and crew go boldly to discover what new worlds and peoples have appeared. The adventure and exploration portion of the story makes up the bulk of SKY WORLD, and it was engrossing and spot on. Portions of the conflict between Emilie and a chauvinistic crew mate, however, felt like an adult theme dropped into a children’s book. Not that seeing an intrepid girl hold her own isn’t something little girls would love, but the explicit discussions about gender roles and expectations didn’t read true to the age group.
Once again Wells provides a pure adventure story that is sure to sweep children away. Despite the pockets of grown up soap boxing, I did enjoy EMILIE AND THE SKY WORLD more than it’s predecessor. As this series has already taken us below and above Emilie’s home world, I can’t wait to see where her ship sets sail next.
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