January 11, 2007

Fly By Night

By Frances Hardinge
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Mosca Mye is the daughter of Quillam Mye, a famed radical writer, but she doesn't know it. All Mosca knows is her father is dead and she is escaping the small, wet town of Chough with a very protective goose named Saracen and a small-time villain who could charm the skin off a snake named Eponymous Clent. In Mosca's world, all writings not approved by the guild of Stationers are banned. Many years ago, a group called the Birdcatchers had come to power and caused riots and war, book burnings and arrests. Now the different guilds maintain rule, watching each other warily, and keeping their leader, the Duke, under a close eye. With Clent, Mosca travels to the city of Mandelion and is instantly pulled into intrigue when she finds Clent is a spy for the Stationers and the Duke's sister, Lady Tamarind, recruits Mosca to spy for her. Someone in the city has an illegal printing press and is printing radical leaflets. The different guilds are all ready to blame each other, and Mandelion teeters on the brink of war. Mosca is soon surrounded by lies, betrayal, and murder, and must work out for herself who is really behind the troubled times in Mandelion. Is it Clent? The Stationers? The Locksmiths? Mr. Kohlrabi? Mr. Pertellis? Readers will get dizzy from the number of characters, gods, and plotlines to follow. While the density of the book and the number of new vocabulary words may put off quite a few readers, those who persevere will find a complex tale of adventure and intrigue. For the serious reader only!

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