Origami magic system? Say no more, I am reading!
Rebel Skies was such an action-packed adventure. It feels like one of those perfect middle-grade to young-adult crossovers with a focus on adventure and friendship and a younger teen main character, plus all the face-paced scenes you could ask for.
The story follows Kurara who works as a drudge maid in a spectacular flying city, only to receive a visit from a gruff and mysterious young man who knows she has powers. She’s a Crafter and can use magic to wield paper and create sentient paper creatures. Kurara ends up swept up into an adventure aboard a flying skyship with a goal to save best friend’s life.
I’ve heard it pitched as having Ghibli vibes, but it also was a throwback to Disney’s Treasure Planet for me too. Those epic flying ships and the gruff mentor to young whipsmart determined protagonist with Himura and Kurara. I also loved the friendship bond between Kurara and Haru, they were definitely easy to root for. The magic system and the world-building do take the forefront in the book overall, but it does have a big fast and a motley crew onboard the ship. It also has a lot of themes about autonomy and respect of non-human creatures, which I quite enjoyed the exploration there.
It’s also a great time to pick this up as the sequel, Rebel Fire, comes out later this year!
Would recommend if you like…
- East-Asian inspired fantasy, with plenty of Japaense folklore
- Action and face-paced plot centric stories
- Sentient paper creatures who hearts of gold
- Twists and some betrayals as well as surprising new friends
- skyships! cumulous whales! flying cities!
- sweet MG-to-YA crossover vibes
Thanks to Walker Books for the ARC!
Date Published: 4.5.2022
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Walker Books
Purchase: Book Depository, Dymocks
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A beautifully written and pacy teen fantasy adventure, set in a world of flying ships, sky cities and powerful paper spirits. Inspired by Asian cultures and exploring themes of empire, slavery and freedom.
Kurara has never known any other life than being a servant on board the Midori, but when her party trick of making paper come to life turns out to be a power treasured across the empire, she joins a skyship and its motley crew to become a Crafter. Taught by the gruff but wise Himura, Kurara learns to hunt shikigami – wild paper spirits who are sought after by the Princess.
But are these creatures just powerful slaves, or are they beings with their own souls? And can a teenage girl be the one to help them find their voice – and change the course of an empire?