Sky Song is an utter joy to read...but I'm gonna need to find a synopsis from somewhere else in order to do this plot justice.
From the Simon and Schuster website - In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find - because Erkenwald is ruled by an evil Ice Queen and the tribes must stay hidden or risk becoming her prisoners at Winterfang Palace.
I wanted to read this after I heard it'd been chosen as a Waterstones book of the month. Then I read the blurb and couldn't wait to start it. I got The Girl of Ink and Stars vibes (review here) and His Dark Materials with the setting. But the story was definitely one on its own.
We follow the story of two (mainly) young children. Both of them without their families, unsure of who they are and how to complete their quest. Eska can remember her past, all she knows is that she's the Ice Queen's prisoner and her voice supposedly has power. Flint is the second son of the Chief and Chieftainess of the Fur tribe. He still believes in the magic of Erkenwald much to the horror of his older brother and the delight of his younger sister Blu.
Both Flint and Eska were wonderful characters to read from. Eska was so strong and courageous but especially so in the face of danger. Which the other characters drew their own courage from, particularly Blu. Blu makes my heart happy. Though it's never explicitly said it's implied that Blu's mental age is a lot younger than her actual age. I thought it was fantastic that Blu was included on the quest and was praised by so many other characters for her wisdom. Flint was a character I found easy to relate to. He was torn between being true to himself and creating his inventions or being a warrior like the men of the fur tribe should be.
Although this novel was a middle grade fantasy it has so many fantastic messages. Most notably use your voice. It's more powerful than you realise which I think is so important to install into to children. But thinking about the care and consideration that went into creating the magic, the lore and the world behind Sky Song, I mean I want to see inside Abi's mind. A mind that creates Thunderghosts, Erkenbears and a wily fox pup named Pebble.
I was involved in some twitter chats over the past few weekends and one thing that was asked was what kind of friendships do you want to see in YA. Although this is a middle grade I still think my answers were applicable. I want to see more platonic male/female friendships which was exactly what we got with Flint and Eska. They didn't always get on but there was a respect between them and eventually loyalty. The other thing I wanted to see was relationships between different ages. Throughout their journey Eska, Flint and Blu are assisted by a chap called Whitefur (WHO IS FAB) and considerably older.
Finally, children's books are not just for children. When we grow up we have a choice, keep the wonder, the inquisitiveness, the love of adventures or forget it. Sky Song perfectly captures what it means to believe, to hope and to remain childlike in the best way possible. Read this. Give it to your child. Your mother. Your grandfather. Or the local friendly Narwhal.
Name: Sky Song
Author(s): Abi Elphinstone
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Have you read Sky Song?
What did you think?
Thank-you for reading,