Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

The Back The Skies (Take Back The Skies: Book One)
Written by Lucy Saxon
Published in Australia June 5th 2014
378 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
Add to Goodreads
Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged, she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all.

Fourteen year old Catherine Hunter has never known freedom, until now. Running away from the oppression of her stifling household, where she is destined to marry a high born man and produce an heir to carry on her illustrious family name. Had she not been born into wealth, she would have been Collected and taken to fight a war that has been raging since she before she was born. Those born outside of the Government areas of the city, live below the poverty line, scraping to get by and only to have every child bar their eldest, taken to fight on the warfront. But with her mother barely clinging to life, Catherine refuses to be betrothed and to live under her father's rule no more. The only way she'll ever escape, is to assume the role of a young boy so with her short haircut and dirty breeches, her new alter ego Cat, is finally on her... His way.

Cat heads to the Shipyard, a place she felt herself watching from her bedroom window. The Skyships offer a sense of freedom and escape, an opportunity that Cat may never see again. So she stows away on the aptly named Stormdancer, tucking herself away in a wardrobe. But her stealth has not gone unnoticed, when she is found by the crew and seventeen year old Fox. Already airborne, the group of Smugglers could use the extra pair of hands, and take Cat in, believing that she is in fact a boy.

The Stormdancer is a cargo ship, but under the guise of delivering and selling fur to the lands beyond, they bring supplies and food for those who need it most. Cat is accepted as part of the crew, and begins to learn maintenance and repair. But when a supply run goes horribly awry, her identity is discovered. Not only is she a girl, but Catherine Hunter, but she's Nathaniel Hunter's daughter, leader of the Government since the Royal family had disappeared.

But it seems the world Cat knew is about to be swept out from under her feet. The public broadcasts of war, children on the frontline and countries broken and debilitated isn't what it seems. But can a now fifteen year old girl change the world?

My Thoughts

After seeing the early reviews, I was skeptical whether I would enjoy Take Back the Skies, but I really enjoyed it. It was a fusion of dystopian, science fiction and romance, and apart from the appearance of of the Skyships, I was wondering where the steam punk aspect was. The storyline is seen through the eyes of Catherine, who takes on the new persona of Cat when she leaves home for a life on the run. Born in an era where women are obedient and the government feed propaganda into the homes of it's citizens, Cat is a renegade. Although she begins as a miniature freedom fighter, sadly she morphs into a girl who had the potential to battle her father, but seemingly backed away. She occasionally allows her thoughts to wander to that of her terminally ill mother, but Cat seems to have little or no attachment to the life she has only just escaped, but rather cares more for the robotic servant that became her carer and only friend.

I found the storyline entertaining, but it's not without it's flaws. I found Cat's age hard to connect with, as she felt like a much older character than fourteen years old. Cat's character would have benefited from being depicted as a sixteen year old girl or Take Back the Skies marketed as a mature Middle Grade release. Being almost fifteen just wasn't believable. The other issue I had was the cast of main characters being underdeveloped. Having left her own mother, Alice being the only other female in Cat's life, there was little information provided about her, other than the fact that she is the designated carer and spends all her time in the kitchen. Cat, who begun as feisty, sassy and seemingly ready to push the role that females played within their world, became soft and sulky far too often and gone was the girl ready to rebel. 

Fox played the role of the chauvinist and occasionally arrogant teen. He was Cat's love interest, which didn't match up with here mere fourteen years of age, with him being seventeen. But when the dreaded love triangle comes to light, that's when the romantic aspect just became awkward. A third party enters the picture, and instantly wants Cat for himself. She's fourteen, not Sofia Vergara. Awkward.

But the author was only sixteen when penning Take Back the Skies. Despite it's flaws, which almost every book has, it was superbly entertaining. I rate books on how much I enjoyed them, and this was a four star read for me in terms of entertainment value. But the epilogue fell completely flat. This book has the potential to be a phenomenal read, the world created was brilliant, but needs a bit more depth. I loved the simplistic style of writing though, it was easy to read and put down to come back to later, but didn't fully draw me in. Young teens will adore this though.


  1. Hhhmm... I haven't seen many inbetween reviews so I'm really happy I saw yours! Most people have given this book 3 and below so I've gotten disheartened. Amazing review though Kelly! Hopefully I can read this one soon. :D

    1. For entertainment value, it really is an awesome read Laura, it was for me anyway. But there's a few issues with it, nothing that really can't be overlooked. I'm amazed at how young the author was when she wrote this, incredible. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

  2. Oh gosh, that gif? THAT GIF IS PRICELESS. Hehe. Weeell...I can't say I loved anything about this book, though absolute kudos for the author for writing it at 16, because writing is dang hard work. x)

    1. Oh gosh, isn't it. Totally awkward.

      I can't even remember what I was doing at sixteen, never mind writing a book. I wasn't even reading my required reading books for school back then. It's incredible.

  3. I'm glad that you still enjoyed this one the flaws it had. I just couldn't get past the juvenile writing, I guess.

    Lovely review as always! <33

  4. Thanks for the review Kelly, sounds like you really enjoyed it but I can't wait to read the book because she's 16 and we should support young authors.

  5. For someone so young to put out a novel out there is downright brave! I am still unsure if I will pick this up, though. Maybe when I am off my slump! And I like the names Cat and Fox :P

  6. Ahh, you enjoyed this way more than I did, and I'm glad! I agree thought that the romance between her and Fox was super awkward, regarding the age gap... I mean, if I were 17, and a girl was 14, I can't but feel like she's still a kid :S And I would see 17 year olds as kinda adults already if I were 14. Maybe that's just me! I'm proud that she was able to get herself published with a work she wrote at 16 years of age, even if I didn't enjoy the novel as much.

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews


© Diva Booknerd. Design by Fearne.