Sky Song Review (Guest Post: Charlotte, Somewhere)

This post is from Charlotte, Somewhere, a contributor to nosaferplace. Charlotte is a wife, mother, cocker spaniel owner and someday Queen of the Universe. She can almost always be found with her face in a book and a coffee in her hand. She likes writing, knitting, crafty things, baking, eating, walking, taking photos and nurturing a close relationship with her sofa and blankets.

I did not think that there was any book in the world that would ever come close to my all-time favourite Northern Lights, let alone one that would threaten to knock it from its top spot. And then came Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone.  Like most people I know, I was introduced to Sky Song by the lovely Aimee of Summer Reads and Moonlight Dreams and I am so very pleased she brought it into my life.

Can we just take a moment to look at that cover? Polar bears and the Northern Lights are two of my favourite things in the world, so to see them combined on a cover this pretty made my dark-heart sing a little. It also has sprayed green edges (I am a sucker for a sprayed edge) and the inner cover has maps. MAPS. I am so in love with this. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful looking book.

Not satisfied with being stunning on the outside, Sky Song is also stunning inside. It is one of those books that is so beautifully written that you don’t want to rush it, but you don’t want to put it down and you want it to never, ever end. Abi’s writing is stunning. It is so descriptive and lyrical that it gives the novel a truly magical touch and you really feel as though you’ve been completely drowned in her world. You know that feeling when you look up from a really good book and the world doesn’t feel like reality anymore because you are THAT involved in your book? Well, Sky Song will give you that.

Set in the fantasy world of Erkenwald, Eska has been kidnapped by an Ice Queen hell-bent on attaining immortality and taking Eska’s voice to harness its power. The Sky Gods have disappeared, and the tribes are in hiding from the Queen’s cruelty. Then Eska escapes and with the help of Flint, she discovers that she might have the power to save her world. But Eska has been cursed by the Queen and her voice is fading every day, will she be able to fulfil the prophecies in time to save the world?

Eska is a really special character. I love how Abi describes her at the start: “But some people are not very good at lying low. They have wandering limbs and fierce hearts and more often than not they have heads full of wild ideas”, giving us a sense of who she is and what she will become. Her friendship with Flint builds slowly. I loved seeing this develop and watching them grow on their adventure, as well as the total absence of any awkward romance. The emphasis is more on finding your people, and I loved the way this came across in the book.

Abi writes beautifully about the natural world. I loved the inclusion of the rituals around hunting, the reverence Flint and Eska show for the natural world and the old beliefs. It really draws out the bond between humans and the world around them. The tales of the bonds between Eska’s tribe and their animals is a fabulous touch.

The magic in the story can be harnessed for both good (like Eska and her friends) or bad (like the Queen), and the story is a race against time to see whose magic will win the day. It is a thrilling read, fast-paced and it keeps you on your toes. I honestly thought my swinging-brick heart would break at one point.

Eska’s fading voice seemed to be to be giving an important message to the reader that you don’t need to shout the loudest to save the world: a little person with a quiet voice used at the right time can be just as powerful.

Sky Song has echoes of many of my childhood favourites: The Snow Queen, Northern Lights, Snow White and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and yet it is totally unique. If you have enjoyed any of these books, you will enjoy Sky Song. In fact, I challenge everyone to read it and not love it. It is a book I will definitely re-read, and I think I will find something new in it to love every time I do.

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