Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge

Fly by Night
by Frances Hardinge [j Hardinge] 

My science fiction and fantasy reading group chose to read and discuss this one, as an example of a “juvenile” fantasy novel. Honestly, this was a far more complex fantasy novel than anything I read when I was a pre-teen, and I’ll have to admit that I enjoyed Fly by Night as a adult. Oddly, though this is set in a pre-technology society, ruled by competing “guilds”, with complicated political and religious backgrounds, there isn’t really any traditional magic-based “fantasy” element, like you’d expect in most fantasy fiction.

Mosca Mye is our young pre-teen heroine, who finds herself taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity to escape from her backwater community to travel in the company of a traveling storyteller — Eponymous Clent, i.e. teller of lies and tall tales. Having grown up the child of a father who allowed her to learn to read (although printed books are pretty much a “banned” commodity (hence the cover image to the book), Mosca wishes for a better stature in her life than simple serving girl. Her travels with Eponymous, and her wildly protective goose, Saracen, embroil Mosca in multiple adventures and intrigues…which could ultimately lead to upheaval in the political status quo of her medieval country. The writing is sharp and snappy, the characters are colorful, and the background of Hardinge’s world is well-developed. Casual readers may feel a bit lost, but if you’re willing to dedicate your time and attention to this one, it is well worth the effort, not only for juvenile readers, but for both youth and adults as well.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the follow-up volume, Twilight Robbery, also by Hardinge]

[ official Fly by Night page on the official Frances Hardinge web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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